Lam said given the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction over the SAR, it is natural for mainland officials to make the visits, with the office being Beijing’s representative in Hong Kong.
“Of course we practise a high degree of autonomy, but being the overall jurisdiction authority, it is of course in [the central government’s] interest to have first-hand information about the Hong Kong situation,” Lam told reporters before the weekly Executive Council meeting.
“They could get it from me as the chief executive, and since there is a liaison office, they also want to hear it from the liaison office.”
The chief executive said she looked forward to receiving “a large number of views and suggestions” from the office, adding that they would most likely cover problems that the SAR government is already aware of, such as housing, social mobility of young people and the wealth gap.
She said she also wants to learn the views towards matters that are handled by Beijing and outside the ambit of the Hong Kong government, such as lifting Covid-19 travel restrictions and facilitating young people going to the mainland.
“I would be very interested to learn what those suggestions are so that I, as the chief executive, could also approach the mainland authorities, reaffirming that those suggestions are what our people want.”
Lam added that the liaison office visits could remove a sense of “alienation” between the local people and mainland officials.
“In times to come, our people will have a greater sense of national identity, they feel close to mainland officials and that would be conducive to effective operations of One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong,” she said.
Democratic Party chairman Lo Kin-hei said it’s been generally understood that the SAR government itself should be processing Hong Kong people’s views under One Country, Two Systems, not the liaison office.
“The office’s role has been – and should be – about helping the central government to communicate with different sectors in Hong Kong,” he said.
Last updated: 2021-10-12 HKT 15:43