Xia Baolong, head of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said “true patriots” should head the SAR's administrative, legislative and judicial institutions.

Important positions cannot fall to people who oppose China and stir up trouble in Hong Kong. Those who made use of “scorched earth” tactics and demand foreign sanctions against mainland and Hong Kong are not patriots, he said in a summit held online by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies.

His keynote speech set the stage for Beijing to introduce changes to Hong Kong's elections in the two sessions next month.

Xia said there are five principles to uphold for such reforms to the city’s electoral system.

He said the reforms must be done “according to the National Constitution and under the framework of the Basic Law”, draw lessons from Hong Kong’s implementation of the “One Country, Two System” and plug legal loopholes.

Second, he said Hong Kong must “respect the Central Authorities’ leadership”, which the reforms must be carried out under the Central Authorities’ lead.

Xia also pointed out that the reforms must reflect Hong Kong’s actual circumstances instead of simply copying from other places. He said the best electoral system for Hong Kong should be able to safeguard national security and maintain the city’s prosperity and stability.

The fourth principle is that Hong Kong must continue its implementation of an executive-led system headed by the Chief Executive. Xia said it is essential to improve the relationship between the executive authorities and the legislature to elevate the effectiveness of governance.

Lastly, Xia stressed that fundamental electoral and administrative reforms for the city will require “patriots” to hold key positions in all three branches of its government – the executive, legislature and judiciary, as well as statutory bodies.

He made it clear that “patriots governing Hong Kong” should be made top priority, “Key posts under all circumstances must not be taken up by anyone ‘who goes against China and disrupts Hong Kong’,” he said.