‘Patriots have now taken complete control of Legco’

A vice-president of Beijing’s top think tank on Hong Kong says the new Legislative Council will “function effectively as the guardian of national security and unity”, as it is now under the complete control of patriots.

In an article published in China Daily the day after the elections, Lau Siu-kai said the revamped Legco means it will no longer “degenerate into a den of anti-China, anti-communist and secessionist politicians”, and “agents or proxies” of “adversarial external forces” will be shut out.

He said the fact that political order and stability had been restored in the city, in addition to Beijing’s encouragement, had led to intense competition among candidates, some of whom he said were professionals and elites who were in the past “abhorred by politics”.

Lau said lawmakers and senior officials will now belong to the same patriotic camp, and the makeup of the new Legco will enable it to focus mainly on practical matters instead of political infighting.

“In the new Legislative Council, while a high degree of cooperation and amicability between the executive and the legislature is not anticipated, nor is it desirable, by and large however we can reasonably expect more stable, continuous and reliable majority support for the executive branch from the legislature in the days ahead, thus making ‘executive-led’ governance a reality,” he said.

The think tank chief said the goal of “one country, two systems” had not been fulfilled since Hong Kong’s handover, but it is now possible, as the new Legco is certainly the one envisioned by Basic Law drafters back in the 1980s, and will hopefully help “clear the way” for the continuation of “one country two systems” beyond 2047.

Meanwhile, John Burns, Emeritus Professor and Honorary Professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong, warned that the government should not ignore the low voter turnout.

“Although the government had said various things at various times about turnout, it is, without a doubt, a very important indicator of the extent to which people are interested in this election. And, I think we can see that basically 70 percent of voters turned their back on it,” he told RTHK’s Backchat programme on Monday.

“The very fact that the government criminalised inciting people for not voting is an indication of the government also paying very close attention to turnout in spite of what it says now. It does show alienation and I think if the government ignores this, then they are ignoring a source of instability in Hong Kong, and this is bad for the future of Hong Kong,” said Burns.