Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has thanked pro-establishment lawmakers for their efforts to promote Beijing’s universal suffrage proposal.
At the same time, Zhang told the lawmakers to learn a lesson from their mistimed walkout during the June 18 Legco vote, which led to only 8 votes cast in favor of the electoral reform bill, according to Ming Pao Daily News.
Zhang made the remarks Thursday during a banquet held at the Liaison Office building for representatives of the pro-establishment camp.
The banquet started at 9:30 pm and lasted for around two hours. The Liaison Office later issued a press statement, saying the atmosphere at the meeting was candid and friendly.
Zhang made a short speech at the beginning of the banquet, lauding the efforts of the pro-establishment camp in supporting Beijing’s plan on the electoral framework.
He noted that the lawmakers had to endure a lot of stress and pressure.
In other comments, he said the pro-establishment camp should work as one unit.
Now that the political reform debate is over, Hong Kong should set its sights on improving the livelihood of its people, Zhang said.
Political commentator Ivan Choy of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said it is not surprising that the Liaison Office has shown a tolerant attitude toward the pro-establishment lawmakers despite their goof-up during the June 18 vote.
Beijing doesn’t want to engage in a blame game given the sensitive political environment in Hong Kong after the Legco vote and the leakage of WhatsApp conversations between pro-establishment lawmakers, he said.
Michael Tien, a lawmaker from New People’s Party, was quoted as saying that Zhang called on the pro-establishment camp lawmakers to look ahead, rather than ponder about what has already happened.
Lau Wong-fat of the Business and Professionals Alliance and James Tien of the Liberal Party did not attend the Thursday banquet.
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