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Carrie Lam: To be patriotic is not a high standard

“Asking for somebody to be in a governing position to be patriotic is really not a high standard. It is really the basic of anybody who wants to have a role in the governance of a place,” said Chief Executive Carrie Lam of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) during an interview with CGTN Host Tian Wei.

On March 12, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) adopted a decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system. It was passed by an overwhelming majority vote. The main parts of the adjustments include an expansion of the Election Committee to 1,500 members and establish a new sector under the committee to incorporate Hong Kong NPC deputies and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members.

The decision is believed to be another major step to improve HKSAR’s legal and political systems to ensure the city is administered by patriots.

But such a move was met with a mixed response. While many analysts have said that this improvement would benefit Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity, some have accused Beijing of silencing political debate in Hong Kong. U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken condemned the decision will “deny Hong Kongers a voice in their own governance.” But is that really the case?

As the chief executive of HKSAR, Carrie Lam expressed her gratitude for the results of the voting and strong support for the new changes. “The only objective of this exercise is to ensure that governance is firmly in the hands of those who love the country.”

Lam pointed out that this will ensure the full implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, which has been proven the best formula to ensure Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity.

As for voices saying that this decision would limit political participation, Lam responded that the move would do quite the reverse. By expanding the Election Committee, there will be more opportunities for people to participate in the political debate in Hong Kong.

“If we have the same number of the so-called pro-democratic persons in Hong Kong, as long as all these people are able to meet the standards of a patriot, then they now have more opportunities to take part in the election and to win the election,” Lam added.

Faced with criticism from some Western countries, Lam highlighted that those voices represent only a fraction of the foreign countries. She also commented that those countries were pretty “biased and prejudiced.” They used different standards to apply to Hong Kong and their own.

“If the current U.S. administration could seriously condemn the siege of the capitol in Washington, D.C., how could they turn the blind eye to the blatant violence that has taken place in Hong Kong for almost a year? They were only suffering for a day, but we have been victimized for over a year. Our Legislative Council has been destroyed far more extensively than what we have seen in Washington, D.C.,” said Lam.

Going forward, Lam believes the changes in the electoral system would mean more stability in Hong Kong, thus attracting more capital and investment to the renowned international financial center.

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan has mentioned, for the first time, to develop Hong Kong into an international innovation and technology hub. The new changes will certainly be a boost to Hong Kong’s development in the long run.

World Insight with Tian Wei is an international platform for debate and intelligent discussion. It is the meeting point of both the highly influential and rising voices, facilitated by host Tian Wei. It provides nutrition to form your own thoughts and ideas through 45-minute live debate and interviews.

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