China’s point man on HK to visit territory

HONG KONG, Reuters

China’s top point man for Hong Kong is to visit the city next month, the latest in a series of moves by Beijing to build support for its rule before legislative elections in September, a newspaper said on Monday.

Vice President Zeng Qinghong — top protege of military chief and ex-Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin — is to arrive on August 25 and stay for several days when he will “extensively meet people from different quarters in Hong Kong”, the Sing Pao Daily News said.

It was not clear if Zeng would hold talks with pro-democracy activists during what would be his first visit to Hong Kong in his current post, the newspaper said. China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office declined to comment.

Reports of Zeng’s visit come as a new public opinion survey showed support for Hong Kong Kong’s biggest pro-democracy party is rising before the Sept. 12 elections.

About 42.7 percent of respondents to the Ming Pao Daily News poll said they would vote for Democratic Party candidates in September, up from 39.4 percent in the last poll in May. The poll surveyed 980 people between July 15 and 17.

Fifteen percent said they planned to vote for the biggest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, and 9.6 percent for the main pro-business party, the Liberal Party. Both figures were unchanged from May.

The newspaper did not specify if the boost in support for the pro-democracy party came at the expense of smaller parties or was from previously undecided voters who had decided to cast their ballots after a huge demonstration this month to demand votes for all.

“The political theme has risen in temperature, adding considerable support for the Democratic Party,” Ming Pao quoted sociologist Chan Kin-man as saying.