Pro-Beijing camp on war footing over Legco rule change

December 12, 2017 11:57
Several pro-democracy lawmakers stage a protest during a Legco meeting. Meanwhile, the pro-Beijing camp is preparing to ramp up the battle over amendments to the Legco rules of procedure. Photo: HKEJ

As the battle rages over the pro-establishment camp’s bid to change the Legislative Council’s rules of procedure, members of the pro-Beijing camp have gone on attack mode in the face of a backlash from pan-democrats.

It is said that Beijing’s Liaison Office is taking the matter very seriously, and is doing whatever it takes to secure the passage of the amendments according to the schedule.

In order to make sure the upcoming Legco meetings won’t adjourn again due to a lack of quorum like last month's meeting, the Liaison Office has told all pro-establishment lawmakers to be present at the Legco meetings and stand by in the Legco building at all times in case the pan-democrats again ask for roll calls repeatedly during the meeting.

Some pro-Beijing lawmakers are alleged to have cancelled their Christmas vacation plans.

They said that after the accidental adjournment last month, some of their colleagues who were absent from that meeting drew a reprimand from the Liaison Office for failing to do their duty, which explains why they are so mindful of the order this time.

On the other hand, it is also said that to make sure nothing will go wrong this time, the Liaison Office has not only turned up the heat on pro-Beijing lawmakers, but also on its own liaison officers as well.

According to sources, the Liaison Office is enforcing its own internal “accountability system”, under which liaison officers who fail to keep an eye on the pro-establishment lawmakers they are responsible for, which then leads to another adjournment of the Legco meeting, are going to face demerit-point penalty.

However, some in the pro-establishment camp have privately conceded that amending the rules of procedure can only ban filibusters in the short run. Sooner or later, the pan-democrats will figure out another way to stall government bills and motions.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 8

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.