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Behind the curtain︰Beijing got rejected when cozying up to moderate democrats

The passage of the solution to “improving” Hong Kong’s electoral arrangement at the meeting held by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee yesterday and today has already been written on the wall. Notwithstanding Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, having held quite a number of forums in Hong Kong earlier on, those showing up were pro-establishment figures, going short of representativeness. A source from the political circle revealed that feeling that it wouldn’t look good to have the pro-democracy camp totally absent from the forums, Beijing had go-betweens lobby some moderate “real democrats” to take part in the forums. “But in the end no one from that batch of people promised to show up, and only ‘pro-democracy figures’ like Tik Chi-yuen turned up to show support.”

It doesn’t look to have only pro-establishment figures in the LegCo

The source from the political circle pointed out that Beijing said earlier on it is not desirable to have only “one voice” in the LegCo, hoping to have “mixed voices” in the organ. “What they hope most is to ratify some democrats that are determined to ‘start afresh’ winning a few seats in elections for it wouldn’t look good if there is only ‘one voice’ — pro-establishment camp — in the LegCo.” That’s why Beijing hasn’t yet barred all pro-democracy figures from participating in elections till now, but has even been cozying up to some moderate pro-democracy figures in the hope that “they would be able to return to the proper path after going astray”. He heard that Beijing wanted to invite the moderate pro-democracy camp to attend the forums for discussing Hong Kong’s electoral arrangement, “but on one promised to show up for most of them were probably convinced that Beijing had already made the decision, so they could do nothing about it, and refused to be a political vase”.

A pro-democracy figure spoke bluntly that though he wasn’t invited, he expected no one from the pro-democracy camp would be willing to turn up at the forums. “As so many pro-democracy figures were arrested, how are they going to give an account for what they have done to the comrades imprisoned if they take part in the forums?” He stated outright that it is still premature now to say if any members from pro-democracy camp would race in the election for the Election Committee and the LegCo, but he didn’t stop short of telling what he discussed earlier on with some young pro-democracy figures: “these people aspired to run in the elections earlier, but since the solution to ‘improving’ Hong Kong’s electoral arrangement was rolled out, a lot of people have been disheartened”. He indicated that in the days ahead, elections will not only be about “whether one is allowed to take part, or whether one can win”, but the fact that once an aspirant is disqualified, “which means he/she is not a patriot, it is probable for him/her to get implicated in litigation”. “Then what’s the point asking for trouble?”

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