Beijing trip in works for lawmakers amid new indy row

Local | Amy Nip and Cindy Wan 3 Jan 2019

Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen is aiming to take lawmakers to Beijing in October in the hope of meeting leaders of the central government.

Leung revealed the plan while being interviewed on radio by his predecessor, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

The visit should be organized in line with the National Day celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, he said.

"The anniversary is a festival of joy and celebration, and it will be good if either all Legco members or a delegation can go to Beijing. Some legislators even said it's best to see some state leaders," Leung said.

Another visit he had in mind would be in April, where lawmakers will head to Yangtze River Delta, the economic zone with Shanghai as the center and surrounded by cities like Nanjing and Hangzhou.

The trip aims to help legislators understand how the river delta is going to complement and compete with the Greater Bay Area.

Leung also said the central government liaison office hopes to invite lawmakers to a banquet on February 19.

Meanwhile, the government released a statement reiterating its zero tolerance on Hong Kong independence and expressed "deep regret" at what occurred on Tuesday night.

This came after protesters clashed with security guards and broke into Civic Square holding banners and slogans that called for independence in the New Year march led by the Civil Human Rights Front.

The statement said the Administration Wing reminded the protest organizer to urge marchers not to conduct any activities that contravene the laws, including the Basic Law.

But the protesters still made remarks advocating independence with the consent of the organizer, it wrote.

It also accused them of causing confusion and being responsible for two security guards falling on the ground.

In response, the front said it was the government that violated the Basic Law.

It said the Administration Wing has no legal basis to censor protesters' political stance as the freedom of speech and freedom of protest are protected by the Basic Law.

Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, convener of the front, said it is considering filing a judicial review against the government's decision to ban people from use of independence slogans on government property.

He said the front does not support Hong Kong independence, but it welcomes people with different opinions.

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