‘Xia Baolong’s speech was targeting the US’

A vice-president of Beijing’s top think tank on Hong Kong, Lau Siu-kai, says the central government’s call for Hong Kong people to vote in the coming Legco election is part of China’s rebuff against the “hypocrisy of the US and Western democracy”.

Lau was commenting on a speech made by Xia Baolong, the director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, who said on Monday that Hong Kong had wasted time in seeking “Western-style democracy” but was left only with chaos and divisions, and the new electoral system allows the SAR to achieve good governance and a democracy that fits the city’s actual situation.

Lau said he believes the timing of Xia’s speech has to do with a US summit on democracy.

“China is striking back by criticising the hypocrisy of US and Western-style democracy and all sorts of its shortcomings. At the same time, it underlines the achievements and confidence China acquired after several decades of implementation of its democracy,” he said.

“All in all, the most important objective was to voice China’s criticism against US and Western democracy and emphasise the merits of China and Hong Kong’s democracy. That’s what I think is [Xia’s] main message,” said Lau.

The think tank chief said he believes Beijing has a realistic expectation on the voter turnout, and Xia was calling on government supporters to vote.

“Most of the candidates are people who love the country and love Hong Kong. Their supporters may not know them well, and they don’t mind who will win. In that case, they may not be very eager to vote,” said Lau.