The legal chief of the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong has said it was normal for the central government in Beijing to care about Hong Kong’s elections, when asked about accusations that the official Chinese organ was meddling in the recent elections.

“The official media of many countries, even official spokespersons, have commented on Hong Kong’s elections, or even interfered in them,” Wang Zhenmin said at a luncheon on Thursday. “Therefore if the central government does not care about Hong Kong’s elections, it would be unusual.”

Wang said everything the China Liaison Office does in Hong Kong was strictly according to the Basic Law and Hong Kong’s laws. “On handling the relationship between the central government and Hong Kong, if the China Liaison Office does not do its job, that is negligence.”

Wang Zhenmin
Wang Zhenmin. Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

Liberal Party honorary president James Tien Pei-chun previously claimed that China Liaison Office officials had asked him to dissuade the party’s candidate Ken Chow Wing-kan from running in the Legislative Council election before he suddenly pulled out, citing threats.

The Liaison Office was also accused of being behind vote coordinating efforts to get newcomer pro-Beijing candidates elected, namely Eunice Yung Hoi-yan and Junius Ho Kwan-yiu.

When asked if people should talk about self-determination or independence, Wang said “mission impossible – no way”.

“[It’s] not a real question. We should spend our time to discuss what are real questions. Don’t waste time to discuss something impossible, even for a thousand years,” he said.

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Photo: Todd Darling.

Wang said he was “heartbroken” to see some people blaming Hong Kong’s fall on the rise of the mainland and trying to isolate Hong Kong from the country, even by extreme means.

If Hong Kong people do not take the rule of law seriously, he said, “how can people expect the mainland to be audacious in developing democracy and learning from Hong Kong’s rule of law?”

Wang said if Hong Kong descended into chaos, it will not have a big impact on China – only Hong Kong itself.

“If Hong Kong is sick, not only will Hong Kong need to take medicine, the whole country has to take medicine with Hong Kong,” he said. “If Hong Kong is in chaos, it will be a big loss to the country, but the impact on the country could be one in 10,000 parts – but for Hong Kong people it would be a 100 per cent.”

“It could be a disaster,” he added.

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Voters line up to cast their ballots. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

On the issue of the year 2047 – when China’s promise to allow Hong Kong to maintain its way of life under the One Country, Two Systems principle expires – Wang said it was a “problem that was solved a long time ago.”

“In fact Deng Xiaoping said the 50 years would remain unchanged, and it will be even more unnecessary to change after 50 years,” he said.

Wang said the fate of Hong Kong and the mainland will still be tied together after 2047.

“In the future, we still hope Hong Kong can be a pioneer in democracy and rule of law,” he said.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.