Prominent pro-Beijing figure Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai has ruled out any changes to Beijing’s limited framework for Hong Kong democracy during the coming five years.
She said on Wednesday that pan-democrats should stop demanding modification to the political reform proposal.
The framework, handed down on August 31, 2014, requires a nomination committee largely controlled by Beijing to select up to three election candidates, before the public can vote for them. It triggered the pro-democracy occupy protests and a reform proposal formed under the framework failed to receive support from lawmakers.
Fan, Hong Kong’s only delegate on the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said the initiative to restart political reform was in the hands of democrats.
“I hope they consider what they are able to obtain, [and] what they can demand, but will not obtain,” she said.
“Any political negotiation is a kind of compromise – from what I heard and people I have contact with, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will not change the August 31 framework, not in the next five years.”
She said there were many possibilities under the framework, and it would be a waste of time to stop moving forward: “If the pan-democrats insist on discussing the August 31 decision only after the framework is modified, it shows that they don’t really want to have a discussion.”
Her remarks came after Wang Zhenmin, a top legal official at Beijing’s official organ in Hong Kong, said the city’s democratic reform should not be of top priority over the next five to ten years.
But Civic Party leader and lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said Hong Kong people’s opposition towards the framework has forced them to continue demanding revisions through the city’s next leader, Carrie Lam.
“The initiative is not in our hands, but the central government’s,” he said.
Pan-democratic parties are set to meet with Lam soon. But Lam has not made any promises over rebooting the reform process, saying that it was a controversial issue.
Rao Geping, a member of Beijing’s Basic Law Committee, previously said the central government may intervene if there is an emergency incident in Hong Kong that endangers national security, and the local government is unable to deal with it.
Rita Fan said she believed the remarks were made because the government has not taken action against Hong Kong independence movement, so it was not surprising that some officials and scholars, who have close connections to Beijing, “state what others do not want to state, to make the bottomline clear.”