One big step for HK’s democracy
2014-04-11, Joseph Li

As a veteran politician, Legislative Council (LegCo) President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing says the upcoming Shanghai visit he has helped organize for legislators is just the first step in establishing a direct dialogue with mainland officials that’s widely deemed to be crucial to reaching a consensus on universal suffrage.

Pushing through such a “first” step has greatly taxed the enormous political asset he had accumulated in the past years as leader of the majority party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), and, later, LegCo president.

Many political analysts say Tsang’s personal appeal has been instrumental in persuading doubtful lawmakers to join the trip.

Some opposition party members have said they will be going because they trust Tsang. Of course, they are holding Tsang to his words. But nobody seems to doubt his sincerity.

In an interview with China Daily, Tsang said it would be “naïve” to think that all differences could be resolved at one single meeting.

“I hope the Shanghai visit will be the beginning of a series of regular dialogues, in whatever form, with central government officials, especially those in charge of constitutional reform.

“The central government is happy to communicate with various political parties. It’s good to have a chance for different political parties, including the opposition parties, to have direct communication with mainland officials because pro-establishment lawmakers have also asked to have dialogues with central government officials,” he said.

Tsang also said the more lawmakers are going, the better. So far,  57 of them have signed up and will board two flights heading for Shanghai this evening.

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