Hong Kong Candidate Touches the Sensitive Nerve of China’s Daughter

Almost a month before China’s National Day on October 1, Diao Daming, the Democratic Party (Hong Kong) vice-chairman, proposed that the Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng should resign and be disqualified from the Legislative Council election because she was ’emotionally unstable’. 

He made this suggestion in a commercial radio program on August 27, and was widely criticized by the pro-Beijing media and politicians for the alleged lack of proof for his claim.

Diao then responded in a Facebook post on August 28, saying that he would sharpen his criticisms unless Cheng clarified the status of Hong Kong’s Basic Law Channel (BL Channel) project approved while she was a member of the Executive Council.

Cheng, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, had been involved in the BL Channel project when she was Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice. She was elected to the NPC Standing Committee in 2017, and it was alleged that she had violated the Basic Law by continuing to work in Hong Kong after her election.

She had resigned from the NPC Standing Committee for five months to comply with the Basic Law. She was re-elected as the Secretary for Justice in June 2022, after the five-month leave.

Cheng has denied any wrongdoing. She told Ming Pao that she had completed the handover and said she was not aware of any secretary whose exit from the NPC Standing Committee has to be approved by the central government.

‘A mainland official told me that Hong Kong is under the jurisdiction of the central government, and those selected by the central government to sit on the NPC Standing Committee don’t have to quit their jobs in Hong Kong,’ she said.

Despite the denial, there are still many who continue to question Cheng’s motive in continuing to work in Hong Kong after her selection. Diao is the latest critic to question Cheng, and he has promised to sharpen his criticisms if she doesn’t clarify her status.

This has put Cheng in a difficult position. If she resigns, it would be seen as an admission of guilt. But she could also face more pressure if she doesn’t.

The Basic Law has been a source of controversy in Hong Kong for many years. The pro-democracy camp argues that the Basic Law is being eroded by the central government, while the pro-Beijing camp argues that the Basic Law is being upheld.

The controversy over Cheng’s status is likely to continue until the Legislative Council election on September 4. The election will be a test of the strength of the pro-democracy camp, which has been weakened by the crackdown on dissent in recent years.

If the pro-democracy camp wins a majority, it will be seen as a blow to the central government. But if the pro-Beijing camp wins, it will be seen as a sign that the central government is tightening its grip on Hong Kong.

The Basic Law is a complex and controversial document. It is likely to continue to be a source of debate in Hong Kong for many years to come..

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