Singapore leader sees sustainable stability

Top News | Michael Shum 18 Nov 2020

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says there is no going back as the Chinese government makes legislation to be carried out by the Hong Kong administration.

At the Bloomberg New Economy Forum conducted online yesterday, Lee was asked about his thoughts on Hong Kong after 15 pro-democracy lawmakers resigned last week following Beijing's ouster of four of their colleagues.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee decided last week that lawmakers who are disqualified by election officers when standing for reelection should lose their seats.

Soon after the decision, the Hong Kong government announced the disqualification of the Civic Party's Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Dennis Kwok Wing-hang and Kwok Ka-ki, as well as the Professionals Guild's Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong.

Earlier this year, Beijing's top legislative body passed the national security law, which came into effect in Hong Kong by promulgation.

Lee said Beijing has settled on the formula of making laws to be carried out by Hong Kong and he hopes this can be done in a way that does not shake confidence and keeps the city's systems intact.

"We watch carefully and with some concern what's happening in Hong Kong," Lee said. "That something was going to happen was very much on the cards and could not have been avoided because the demonstrations and the expressions of defiance could not have carried on indefinitely, certainly not to the end of one country, two systems in 2047.

"It will not go back to where it was, but something which is sustainable, which will enable the Hong Kong people to live stably and have the economy working and have a greater degree of the freedoms and access to information and expression than pertains on the other side of one country, two systems," he said.

Meanwhile, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is deeply concerned about the disqualifications.

"These steps, which are in breach of China's international obligations to Hong Kong, constitute a further blow to its autonomy, political pluralism and the freedoms guaranteed by the one country, two systems principle," it stated.

But the Chinese embassy in the Czech Republic hit back, expressing Beijing's opposition to other countries intervening in its internal affairs.

In Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she would not tolerate foreign governments smearing the move to disqualify the four lawmakers.

"The SAR sought help from Beijing over the postponement of the Legislative Council elections and the eligibility of four lawmakers, as we cannot handle the matters on our own," she said at a Basic Law legal forum.

"I have to stress that both deliberations by the NPCSC are constitutional and in line with the Basic Law and should not be smeared by foreign countries."

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