Hong Kong integration with China is a 'great thing', Carrie Lam aide says

The comments came after China enabled the Hong Kong government to expel lawmakers deemed insufficiently loyal. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - A top adviser to Hong Kong's leader said integration with mainland China was a "great thing" for many people in the city, days after Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke of a future tied to Beijing in her annual policy address.

"As a whole, Hong Kong needs China to retain our current status and Hong Kong can't survive on our own," said Mr Bernard Chan, the convener of Mrs Lam's advisory Executive Council, told Bloomberg TV on Friday (Nov 27). "We need China."

"Economically, Hong Kong is very much a part of China now," he said. "We need China to help us under this very difficult time."

His comments came after China earlier this month enabled the Hong Kong government to expel lawmakers deemed insufficiently loyal.

That allowed Mrs Lam to immediately eject four pro-democracy politicians, a move that triggered the mass resignation of the entire opposition and led to criticism from foreign governments including the United States.

Mrs Lam on Wednesday delivered a two-hour address to a legislative chamber in which she defended the central government's moves to exert greater political control over the Asian financial hub in the wake of mass protests last year, including Beijing's imposition of sweeping national security legislation that has all but stamped out what remained of the demonstrations.

"China has been repeatedly focused on those couple of red lines, so long as Hong Kong doesn't pass these red lines, they are more than happy and they are willing to leave Hong Kong alone," Mr Chan said.

"And those red lines are clear - you don't ask for Hong Kong independence and you don't try to destabilise China, these are the red lines."

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