Path of Democracy founder Ronny Tong Ka-wah has said that Beijing officials have adopted a more moderate tone towards Hong Kong affairs over recent months. He also said it was unlikely that the central government to introduce great changes to Hong Kong.

“Wang Zhenmin recently also said that he hoped the Lee Bo incident would not happen again,” Tong told RTHK on Monday. “I believe this shows that they have been receptive to our views. You can’t compare [Beijing] with the governments of other democratic countries – if you want them to ‘turn around’, they do it slowly.”

Ronny Tong Ka-wah
Ronny Tong Ka-wah. File Photo: Stand News.

Tong said that it was unlikely that the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang would announce big policy changes regarding Hong Kong during his visit to the city next month. From past experience, if Beijing were to introduce such changes, he said they would do it slowly in a bottom-up manner, RTHK reported.

‘Very concerned’ 

Tong also said that, when he visited Beijing last week, he talked about the independence debate with Beijing officials and scholars. “The officials are very concerned, but I don’t think they would suppress it greatly… In general, I think they believe that Hong Kong’s problems should be dealt with by Hong Kong itself.”

hong kong china independence protest
File Photo: HKFP.

Tong said that, on the other hand, the scholars had stronger opinions, and that from an academic and constitutional standpoint they found it absurd that Hong Kong did not have any laws governing independence, which violated the constitution and the Basic Law.

They also believed that pro-independence discussion should fall under the offences of incitement and treason under the Crimes Ordinance. However, Tong disagreed with the view that those who are pro-independence could be prosecuted under criminal offences.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.