Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that Chinese President Xi Jinping “fully endorses” his work, and the work of the Hong Kong government, including the handling of the recent oath-taking controversy. Xi also “forcefully” declared that there was no room for Hong Kong independence under the One Country, Two Systems arrangement, Leung said. But the city’s chief said the two did not talk about his re-election.
Leung met with Xi for 45 minutes in Lima, Peru during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He thanked Xi for meeting him during a tight schedule.
“The president understands Hong Kong’s situation very well, he full endorses my work and the government’s work, he cares about Hong Kong very much and supports Hong Kong, supports the government’s work,” Leung said. He added that Xi mentioned they could talk about details in the yearly report Leung is to give next month.
He was asked asked by reporters if they talked about the recent oath-taking controversy. Two elected localist lawmakers were disqualified by a court, after an interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law – the de facto constitution – by Beijing’s top legislature. The judge, however, said the interpretation did not affect his ruling.
“He fully endorses our work, including the recent handling of the series of problems triggered by the Legislative Council oath-taking,” Leung said.
When asked if he reflected any opposition to the Basic Law interpretation, Leung said once again that Xi understood clearly the differing opinions in Hong Kong over different policy issues. Leung said Xi affirmed that the legal interpretation was “necessary.”
Hong Kong independence
Leung said Xi also talked about his views on Hong Kong independence “very simply put and very forcefully.”
“The President said there is no room whatsoever for ‘Hong Kong independence’ under the One Country, Two Systems arrangement.’”
Leung added that Xi said: “Hong Kong needs to enforce its laws, including the Basic Law.” Asked by reporters if he told Xi the actual amount of people who supported Hong Kong independence in the city, Leung said they did not discuss such issue.
Leung also said he reported Hong Kong’s economic situation to Xi but did not speak about his possible re-election bid or the potential return of Article 23 of the Basic Law, the city’s controversial anti-sedition law.
“Let’s talk about re-election later,” Leung said, adding that he was not disappointed that Xi did not speak of his re-election.
“I had no plan to raise any of my personal matters with the president in this meeting today, and I did not expect the president to say something about me standing for re-election or not,” he said.
State news agency Xinhua reported that after Xi listened to Leung’s reports, the central government “fully endorsed” the work of the Chief Executive and the Hong Kong government.
“[Xi] hopes [Leung] will lead the governing team of the SAR government to continue integration policies, to widely gather consensus, to push for economic development and improve livelihoods, resolutely uphold the unity of the country, maintain social and political stability,” the report read.
Before the pair’s meeting, the media was allowed to film in Xi’s hotel for under two minutes. Xi chatted with Leung, saying that the flight to Peru took 27 hours for him. Leung responded by saying that the flight from Beijing to Lima was shorter, as it took him more than 30 hours.
Security guards then slowly led journalists out of the room, according to media footage.
Accompanying Xi were Wang Huning, head of the Central Policy Research Office, Li Zhanshu, director of the communist party’s general office and Yang Jiechi, state councillor. Edward Yau Tang-wah, director of the Chief Executive’s Office were also present.