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China Doesn’t Trust Hong Kong to Pick Leader, Anson Chan Says

Former HK Chief Secretary
Anson Chan, Hong Kong's former chief secretary, is seen in this Nov. 25, 2007 photo. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Anson Chan, the former chief secretary of Hong Kong, said China doesn’t trust residents in the former British colony to vote for a chief executive that will back Beijing’s rule.

Chan said yesterday she has formed a group called “Hong Kong 2020” that will reach out to Beijing and different communities for proposals on constitutional reforms needed for the 2017 introduction of universal suffrage in the city.

“It seems to us their basic concern is that they do not trust the people of Hong Kong to use the vote in their hands wisely,” Chan said at a press conference. “That given a vote tomorrow, Hong Kong people will vote somebody who will oppose the central government.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the last selected leader for the city, is facing pressure from lawmakers to speed up reforms needed, with a civic group threatening a mass protest next July if no progress is made. A Chinese official said last month China won’t allow Hong Kong to choose a chief executive who opposes Beijing’s rule.

Leung, the third leader of Hong Kong since the 1997 handover, was picked by a committee of billionaires, professionals and lawmakers in 2012. Chan said yesterday her group is “particularly anxious to establish a dialog with” the business sector.

Qiao Xiaoyang, chairman of the law committee of the National People’s Congress, said on March 24 that consultations about political reform in Hong Kong shouldn’t start until everybody agrees that the leader of the city “can’t plot to overthrow the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.”

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