Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Beijing’s office in Hong Kong is not involved in the city’s internal affairs unless there is a “mainland angle.”

Wang Zhimin, director of the Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has said it was in the interests of Hong Kong that the the government in Central and the Liaison Office in Sai Wan work on issues closely together.

She said she would invite Liaison Office officials for discussion whenever there is a mainland angle: “I have to stress this time again, it is not involving the CPG Liaison Office in internal affairs of Hong Kong where we practice high degree of autonomy, it is in the issue which has a very strong mainland angle and perspective – and this sort of liaison will help Hong Kong.”

Carrie Lam. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

“There is no case of ‘Sai Wan ruling Hong Kong’ – I believe some people over interpreted Director Wang’s words,” Lam said ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.

“If you look at each and every of the five duties and responsibilities, they are all there to help us to enhance liaison with the relevant ministries and organisations in the mainland to promote the interest of Hong Kong, to reflect the interest of Hong Kong people, and to liaise with the state enterprises in hong Kong,” she said.

“They are all working towards the objective of ensuring the success of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and they would fully abide by the Basic Law.”

Lam said her government took a “slightly more pragmatic approach” with the Liaison Office.

Wang Zhimin (far right). Photo: Liaison Office.

“No matter how controversial or complex the bill under review by the Legislative Council is, any persuasion of – and explanation to – lawmakers, is conducted by me and my team,” she said.

“If we are to fully better integrate with national development as laid down by President Xi Jinping in his 19th report to the Congress of the Communist Party of China, this is all for Hong Kong’s better prospects,” she said. “So in order to better integrate into the national development, we do need a lot more liaison, a lot more understanding of the national strategies.”

March by-election

Meanwhile, Lam refused to answer questions over whether disqualified lawmaker Edward Yiu will be barred from running in the by-election in March.

Pro-Beijing Sing Tao Daily cited an unnamed “reliable source” as saying on Tuesday that Yiu will likely be barred.

Edward Yiu. Photo: In-Media.

Lam said: “The candidacy of anyone who wants to run is decided by returning officers in accordance with the Legislative Council Ordinance and the relevant rules of the Electoral Affairs Commission, after reviewing facts and legal advice if necessary.”

“The chief executive cannot give you a stance here as to whether some people can run or not. Some people asked me to promise not to strip some people’s right to run – this is telling me to break the law.”

Kris Cheng

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.