Activists vow to get tough over electoral proposals for 2012

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2008, 12:00am

Activists in the Democratic Development Network have said they will reject government electoral proposals for 2012 if they do not lead to genuine universal suffrage.

Upset by Beijing's ruling last month that rejected full democracy for Hong Kong in 2012, members of the network will review their strategies at a meeting today.

The network - comprising academics, religious figures and opinion leaders - has been an ally of the pan-democratic camp since it was formed in 2002.

Meanwhile, the group wants the government to present proposals for 2012 that will pave the way to a genuine 'one-person, one-vote system' for the chief executive election in 2017 and the Legislative Council poll in 2020.

Network chairman Reverend Chu Yiu-ming said he saw no reason why pan-democrat legislators should give up the fight for 2012. 'We are often asked if we would accept what Beijing has delivered. But the point is that there is nothing there to accept.'

Mr Chu, the principal pastor at Chai Wan Baptist Church, challenged a recent Chinese University survey that found Beijing's timetable for 2017 and 2020 was acceptable to more than 70 per cent of those polled.

'People accept because they feel helpless,' he said. 'The community will become apathetic if their aspirations are suppressed repeatedly. That's not conducive to governance.'

To address possible concerns in Beijing, the network had earlier proposed tougher nomination hurdles as a transitional measure towards universal suffrage.

But Mr Chu said the network would not compromise now. 'We won't propose any transitional proposals this time,' he said. 'We will stand firm on what we want ultimately. The 2012 proposals must show advancement and how we will move to the ultimate goal in 2017 and 2020.'

But he said he believed the Hong Kong government would withhold detailed proposals to avoid turning them into an issue in the run-up to the Legco elections in September.

There have been suggestions the functional constituencies may be open to all employees so voters in geographical constituencies will also have a vote in the trade-based polls.

But Mr Chu stressed that the 'one-person, two-votes' system should only be a 'halfway house'. 'The functional constituencies must be scrapped altogether eventually.'