The director of the Chinese central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, has said that China is “sincere on achieving universal suffrage in Hong Kong“.
Zhang, who also warned Hong Kong lawmakers against “taking a wrong path”, stressed that universal suffrage in the territory should match the special administrative region’s “actual situation”:
Hong Kong is not a country. It’s an administrative region of PRC with high autonomy. Therefore, when we are designing the universal suffrage system of Hong Kong, we must comply it with the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and make sure the country’s sovereignty safety and the central government’s legal rights are well protected.
Zhang attacked the ‘Occupy Central‘ protest planned for July 2014, which is intended to shutdown Hong Kong’s business district if promises for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election are not met, saying it would be a disaster with “lasting consequences” for the city.
Despite his avowed respect for universal suffrage, Zhang dropped hints that the Chinese government will seek to screen candidates for chief executive, something that goes against the spirit, if not the letter, of the agreement contained within the Basic Law.
“The most effective sieve would be one that let millions of voters sift the candidates that they do not prefer,” said Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit.