Hong Kong’s legislature will not recommence meetings until the new session starts in October after the complex was invaded and damaged by protesters on Monday.
The Legislative Council Commission, a body formed by lawmakers to discuss administrative issues, had a special meeting on Thursday at the Queensway Government Offices, following the break-in by protesters.
After the meeting, legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok said the Commission unanimously agreed that Legislative Council cannot resume before the summer.
Kwok said, on principle, democrats were unable to agree that meetings could be held outside the Legislative Council building. He said that, to hold a meeting, more than 1,000 staff members were needed for backend support.
“Which building in Hong Kong can be completely rented out to us for meetings, and which can ensure meetings will not be disturbed?” he said.
Kwok said the focus of the LegCo secretariat should be on repairing the building.
There are some livelihood matters pending discussion at the Finance Committee.
IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok said certain uncontroversial issues may be voted by way of circulars, meaning voting via written replies.
Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong said items such as hospital expansions, a civil servants’ salary rise, and funding to NGOs required urgent attention, and the government should discuss the matter with lawmakers as soon as possible.
‘How long do you want to hide?’
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung refused to meet democrats on Wednesday to discuss plans, Kwok said.
“[Cheung] called us on Tuesday to say that there was no urgency for the meeting and that there would be no meeting. I want to ask the government, the chief executive, the chief secretary: how long do you want to hide?” he said. “Who are you listening to if you refuse to meet?”
Kwok said the problem cannot be solved by increasing security at the Legislative Council building, such as building more guards, walls and installing bulletproof glass.
“To prevent such incidents from happening again, [the pro-Beijing camp] needs to reflect on how they tried to forcefully push the extradition bill through by skipping all procedures,” he said.
Pro-democracy camp convener Claudia Mo said she was concerned that if some items were voted on by way of circular, the method could be abused by the pro-Beijing camp in the future.
“Over my dead body,” Mo said.
The pro-Beijing camp members of the commission did not speak to reporters when they left, saying that they will speak later.