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Expectations high for Hong Kong SAR's new legislators

By CHEN SHUMAN in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-07 07:51

China's national flag (five-star red flag) and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are seen in Hong Kong, Oct 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hong Kong political leaders said on Thursday that the special administrative region's new lawmakers have been given the important task of showing to the public that patriots elected under the improved electoral system are constructive, rational and pragmatic in improving the well-being of the residents.

This will boost the public's trust and confidence in the new legislature and the system that chose them, they said.

They made the remarks after Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, laid out his expectations for the new-term legislators-including being firm patriots, supporting the executive-led system and speaking for the people-during a meeting with some of the lawmakers in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday.

The meeting came two days after 90 lawmakers of Hong Kong's seventh-term Legislative Council took the oath of office.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said Xia's remarks reflect central authorities' strong support for the new Legislative Council and their expectation that it will refresh the city's political culture by building a more rational and pragmatic relationship with the executive branch.

Lau urged the new Legislative Council to cooperate with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to improve the well-being of all residents while maintaining a balanced position in overseeing the government's work.

"I hope the new lawmakers will be people-oriented, put forward more constructive suggestions, and consolidate the public's confidence in the new Legislative Council and the new electoral system in a timely manner," said Lau.

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, a solicitor and lawmaker from the import and export functional constituency, said Xia's remarks show that the central government is committed to implementing "one country, two systems"-a fact that Wong said has often been distorted in the past 20 years.

Xia's remarks not only reflect the expectations and requirements for the lawmakers, but also are a message to the public that the power of the city's executive branch, legislature and judiciary system is conferred by the central government, Wong added.

Wong said his work will mainly focus on enhancing the public's correct understanding of laws and of local legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law. He pledged to increase efforts in the new Legislative Council to work with the SAR government to improve governance and solve social problems, such as the housing shortage and the wealth gap, to win public support and confidence.

Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan, a lawmaker from the Election Committee constituency, noted the high public expectations for the new-term legislature, saying that she felt a great sense of responsibility.

The veteran lawmakers and new faces alike urgently need to adapt to the new council culture, as the public has different expectations for them under the revamped electoral system, said Quat. She added that veteran lawmakers like her need to come up with concrete policy proposals to meet the public's expectations.

Noting that it was the first time that central officials have met with the new-term legislators after being sworn in to office, Martin Liao Cheung-kong, a lawmaker representing the business sector, said the meeting showed the central authorities' expectations for the lawmakers elected under the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong".

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