18 March 2019
NPC Standing Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang (right) meets with Robert Chow of Silent Majority in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: CNSA
NPC Standing Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang (right) meets with Robert Chow of Silent Majority in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: CNSA

Zhang warns against localists, praises Silent Majority

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, told a Hong Kong delegation that those pushing for the city’s independence can bring nothing but calamity to China and her people.

In an open meeting with members of the pro-Beijing Silent Majority for Hong Kong in the capital on Tuesday, Zhang said it is unavoidable to encounter many problems during the process of implementing the “one country, two systems” principle but they are all solvable, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Beijing will continue to implement “one country, two systems” and object to Hong Kong independence with unwavering resolution, he said.

Such a stance will no doubt be supported by all Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong people, he added.

Zhang, who is the top central government official responsible for Hong Kong, said Beijing believes that the majority of Hong Kong people are patriotic.

As such, it is hoped that they can see through the nature of the ideology behind Hong Kong independence.

Turning a blind eye to it is like nurturing a snake in one’s bosom, he said.

If the pro-independence activists launch a revolt one day, Hong Kong people will be the first to suffer, Zhang warned.

He praised the visiting group for doing a good job in voicing out the sentiments of most Hong Kong people who tend to be silent about political issues.

Zhang also expressed confidence in Hong Kong’s future as a growing China will undoubtedly benefit the city.

Later, in a closed-door session with the delegation, Zhang criticized Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, the two disqualified lawmakers from the localist group Youngspiration, calling them “pathetic” for choosing to turn their backs on the motherland, a source quoted the official as saying.

Robert Chow Yung, who led the delegation, said after the two-hour closed-door meeting that Zhang expected Hongkongers to firmly support the “one country, two systems” principle and never try to challenge the bottom line or there will definitely be legal consequences.

Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said it was unprecedented that a top Beijing official met with a non-traditional pro-Beijing civil group.

But Lau doubted if such a move by Beijing would hurt the unity of the pro-establishment camp.

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun said Beijing, in meeting with the Silent Majority delegation, was trying to use the “carrot and stick” approach.

The delegation is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Hong Kong and Macau Office director Wang Guangya, who is expected to talk about “re-issuing home return permits with conditions” to some sitting and former pan-democratic lawmakers who had failed to renew their documents.

As one of them, To said he should not have been deprived of the right to get the permit since he is a Chinese citizen, adding that there should be no strings attached to the renewal.

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