Date
17 October 2017
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the central government will maintain its policy towards Hong Kong. Photo: CNSA
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the central government will maintain its policy towards Hong Kong. Photo: CNSA

Carrie Lam dismisses fears of tighter Beijing control

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the central government will maintain its policy towards Hong Kong, dismissing speculation that Beijing is set to tighten its control over the city following the appointment of new heads to the Liaison Office and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.

Speaking to media at the airport before flying to Changsha on Sunday, Lam said Beijing has never changed its stance of upholding the “one country, two systems” principle and the Basic Law in Hong Kong, while asking the Special Administrative Region government to perform its duties according to the law, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The chief executive is attending the 2017 Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation Chief Executive Joint Conference in the Hunan capital.

Asked if the appointment of Zhang Xiaoming as director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office suggests Beijing is taking a hard line with Hong Kong, Lam said she does not understand why there is such a speculation and why the public is so sensitive.

Whether an official is a “hawk” or a “dove” is nothing but a tag put on by the local community, Lam added.

The State Council on Friday announced that Wang Zhimin will replace Zhang as head of the Hong Kong Liaison Office, while Zhang will succeed Wang Guangya as the new Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office director.

Wang, who was Macau Liaison Office director before his latest appointment, had been deputy director of Hong Kong Liaison Office and head of the Hong Kong liaison office’s youth work department.

Lam said she had worked with Wang on issues about young people for a period of time. She said she was then permanent secretary for home affairs while Wang was in charge of the liaison office’s youth work department.

She said she will continue to exchange ideas with Wang on Hong Kong’s youth.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah described Wang as an official who knows the young people of Hong Kong very well and expected him to continue offering help to the government’s youth development program.

Calling himself very happy to return to Hong Kong, which he considers his second hometown, Wang said his appointment shows Beijing attaches great importance to the office’s work.

He said the central authorities will continue to support the chief executive and the SAR government in performing its duties according to law.

Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, said there should be no concerns over the change of officials, saying that each official has his or her own style and cannot be divided into “hawks” and “doves”.

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said she does not think the reshuffle suggests Beijing is changing its policy towards Hong Kong, as some has speculated, Apple Daily reported.

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TL/JC/CG

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