Pro-Beijing side seeks to ‘move the goalposts’ in district councils: democrat

Published (HKT): 2021.04.05 20:51

Beijing loyalists are trying to move the goalposts when suggesting that directly elected district councilors be replaced by members appointed by the government, a pro-democracy councilor has said.

Hong Kong’s only delegate to the standing committee of the National People’s Congress – effectively, the permanent body of China’s rubber-stamp legislature, Tam Yiu-chung, had earlier called for the city to introduce the appointment system in the local affairs councils to uphold the spirit of “balanced participation.”

Pro-democracy groups have controlled 17 of 18 district councils following their landslide victory in a 2019 election.

Yau Tsim Mong District Councilor Ben Lam on Monday described the pro-Beijing camp’s call as an attempt to move the goalposts following their defeat.

While still dominating the councils before 2019, Beijing loyalists had never advocated so-called balanced participation, Lam said during a radio talk-show on Monday. But now they were seeking to change the system, he said.

Claims by the government and Beijing-loyalists that pro-democracy district councilors had spent too much of their time on political issues rather than district-level matters were also untrue, Lam said. About 90% of items discussed in councils dominated by pro-democracy groups were livelihood issues, he said.

By contrast, Beijing-loyalists had put politically controversial matters on their agenda, such as statements supporting the enactment of an anti-subversion law under Article 23 of the Basic Law and a contentious political reform package, Lam said.

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