Hong Kong protesters shouted angrily at a top mainland official yesterday. Li Fei, deputy general secretary of the National People's Congress, tried to defend Beijing's landmark decision to control which candidates can stand in the city's next leadership election.
Li was forced to speak over the cries of pro-democracy lawmakers and protesters during a meeting with local officials.
His visit comes a day after the standing committee of the NPC announced that although Hong Kong's next chief executive will be elected by popular vote in 2017, candidates must be backed by more than half the members of a "broadly representative nominating committee".
Democracy activists have said that these restrictive guidelines show that Beijing is breaking its promise to give Hong Kong universal suffrage and have vowed an "era of civil disobedience" including mass sit-ins.
They say the majority-backed nominating committee means that pro-Beijing candidates would be looked upon more favourably and candidates opposed to Beijing would have no chance of winning the vote.
As Li approached the lectern to speak at the Asia World Expo convention centre, veteran protester and lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung started shouting him down, his fist raised in the air.
He was then joined by a dozen pro-democracy lawmakers and some younger demonstrators who held a banner in front of the lectern where Li was speaking from and chanted: "The central government broke its promise, shameless."
The meeting was briefly paused while security officers removed the hecklers.
Li flew into Hong Kong from Beijing late on Sunday and was forced to drive past a crowd, made up largely of student protesters who had gathered outside his hotel in the kind of scenes that would be unthinkable on the mainland.