LegCo embraces collaborative approach to governance

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has proposed a change to the Legislative Council’s question-and-answer sessions that could have significant implications for the city’s political discourse. Under the current arrangement, legislators can only put questions to the chief executive; but the proposed change will allow for two-way communication between the executive and legislative branches.

This shift in the arrangement is seen as a positive development in promoting good governance, and realizing the spirit of “patriots administering Hong Kong” with greater vigor, as Lee put it. During his visit to the Legislative Council last month, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, expressed his expectation for a closer relationship between the legislative and executive branches, saying that legislative councilors should support the government’s administration and refrain from attention-seeking filibustering. His words suggest that he recognizes the need for change in the current legislative system.

The new approach seeks to promote a more collaborative work relationship, in which legislators provide constructive suggestions and feedback to the chief executive rather than nitpicking. Such a change could help improve the quality of political discourse and strengthen the relationship between the executive and legislative branches, ultimately benefiting Hong Kong’s overall socioeconomic development.

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The proposed shift toward more productive and constructive communication is part of a broader effort to strengthen the “patriots administering Hong Kong” principle, which aims to ensure that only those who love the country and Hong Kong SAR can hold positions of power. By promoting a more inclusive approach to governance, it is hoped that more Hong Kong residents will be willing to participate in the political process, and that the city can continue to thrive as a major global financial hub.

Critics have raised concerns that the new arrangement could undermine the independence of the legislature or allow the chief executive to avoid difficult questions. However, proponents of the change argue that increased communication and collaboration between the two branches will ultimately lead to better outcomes.

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It remains to be seen whether this new approach will succeed in strengthening Hong Kong’s political institutions and promoting greater cooperation between the government and residents. However, the chief executive’s decision to embrace a more collaborative approach to governance is a positive development that should be welcomed by all people who care about the future of Hong Kong.

The author is co-convener of China Retold, a Legislative Council member, and a member of the Central Committee of the New People’s Party.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.