Pan-dems slam Beijing's 'carrot-and-stick' policy

Local | Phoenix Un 5 Dec 2016

Pan-democrats will not allow Beijing to split the camp with its move to allow a number of opposition figures who were previously banned from reapplying for home-return permits to do so now, lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung said.

The SAR government said last week Beijing is lifting the ban, in place for more than two decades.

Demosisto legislator Law, who had his permit canceled after helping lead the Occupy movement, said he, for one, would not be making any trips.

In yesterday's City Forum, Law - who faces a government-initiated judicial review aimed at stripping him of his seat over the oath-taking saga - slammed Beijing for its carrot-and-stick policy.

"It is like beating us up with sticks 10 times, then giving us a Band-Aid," he said. "Beijing targeted some legislators and violated democratic values by invalidating decisions made by almost 180,000 voters, and depriving six legislators of their seats."

One can't see the forest for the trees if one believes Beijing can make peace with pan-democrats with the home- return permit move, Law said.

Meanwhile, Albert Ho Chun-yan, chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, promised the stance of the alliance and Democratic Party - in seeking, for instance, a Beijing reversal of its position on the June 4 incident - wouldn't change, even if they get their home-return permits back.

Ho said it would be useless to allow him and other pan-democrats to enter the mainland if their freedom there wasn't guaranteed.

"I don't believe I will be allowed to visit whoever I want, and observe whichever local elections or court trials I want, without being stopped and expelled," he said.

But Ma Fung-kwok, National People's Congress Hong Kong deputy, said he saw no problem if Ho wanted to visit human rights lawyers.

Choi Yuk-lin, a member of the Commission on Youth, said only people recognizing China as home can apply for the permit.

But Law said the permit's name is "mainland travel permit for Hong Kong and Macau residents" and, as such, has nothing to do with home returns.

Meanwhile, legislator Wu Chi-wai was elected yesterday as the Democratic Party's new chairman, succeeding stalwart Emily Lau Wai- hing.

Since Wu was the sole candidate, he only needed to get more than half of the ballots in the vote. He ended up with 92 percent, or 282, of the votes. Twelve votes went against Wu, with 10 abstentions.

Southern District councilor Lo Kin- hei and Sha Tin District councilor Wilson Li Wing-shing were elected vice chairmen, with 222 and 209 votes.

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