17 February 2019
A group of pan-democratic lawmakers plan to submit three petition letters to Xi Jinping, calling on the Chinese leader to address the concerns of Hong Kong people. Photo: Now TV
A group of pan-democratic lawmakers plan to submit three petition letters to Xi Jinping, calling on the Chinese leader to address the concerns of Hong Kong people. Photo: Now TV

Pan-democrats plan to submit petition letters to Xi at banquet

Some pan-democratic lawmakers who have been invited to attend a Friday banquet in honor of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to use the opportunity to submit petition letters, calling on the top leader to address the concerns of Hong Kong people on issues such as the city’s autonomy.

The lawmakers will submit three petitions, urging Beijing to uphold the “one country, two systems” principle, allow political reforms in Hong Kong and help the city realize true universal suffrage, among other things.

The legislators who are planning the initiative are Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok; Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai; Lam Cheuk-ting and Roy Kwong, both also from the Democratic Party; and Kenneth Leung, Ip Kin-yuen, Charles Mok, Shiu Ka-chun and Joseph Lee, each of whom represents a functional constituency.

The pan-democrats will urge the Chinese president to deal with the issues raised in the petition letters in a positive manner, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

As opposition groups are unlikely to be allowed a private meeting with Xi during the latter’s trip to Hong Kong, the lawmakers decided to use the banquet as a good opportunity to let Xi know about the wishes of the pan-democratic camp.

According to Kenneth Leung, the government became aware last Saturday that pan-democrats were planning to submit letters to Xi at the banquet.

On learning about the plans, authorities demanded two things-the letters cannot be submitted in front of cameras or media glare, and the lawmakers should hand over the petitions to an intermediary, and not directly to Xi, Leung said.

According to the report, the lawmakers intend to submit three separate petitions. 

One of them, which will carry signatures of 20 pan-democratic lawmakers, who urge Beijing to preserve the “one country, two systems” that guarantees Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy.

In the letter, the pan-democrats will also ask for re-launch of political reforms and facilitation of genuine universal suffrage, which would allow Hong Kong people to choose their chief executive and all lawmakers via direct election.

Another petition, which has been prepared by the Civic Party, will ask Xi to address concerns related to Chinese civil rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who is fighting for his life in a hospital in the mainland after he was released from jail on medical parole for liver-cancer treatment.

A third letter, which will be from the Democratic Party, will focus on issues surrounding payments received by Hong Kong’s outgoing chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, from Australian engineering firm UGL in the past.

Leung Chun-ying has been slammed for receiving HK$50 million from UGL after he became chief executive and failing to make proper disclosures.

Xi and his wife will land at the Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday. The president will meet with Leung as well as his incoming successor Carrie Lam and other top officials later in the day.

Xi will leave Hong Kong on July 1 after a flag-raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, and a swearing-in ceremony for Lam and her ministerial team.

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