• Wed
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 11:05pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2013, 3:00am

Hysteria will not hasten democracy

So a Beijing-friendly figure had an off-the-record lunch with a bunch of hacks from Hong Kong in which he or she mentioned having "a screening mechanism", like a nominating committee, to pick candidates for the chief executive post in the 2017 election.

One hack - from Ming Pao - decided to spill the beans and report it. That was some scoop. I've lost count of the number of scoops I could have had if I reported on off-the-record meetings. Anyway, the Ming Pao story caused a storm, not over the paper's breach, but over Beijing. The pan-democrats, their media allies like Apple Daily and half of our local commentariat went into hysteria and screamed bloody murder.

I am sorry to tell you, but it's a non-story, a hurricane in a takeaway Starbucks coffee cup.

That Beijing wants a screening process to exclude people from the pan-democratic camp is no more shocking news than the pan-dems demanding one person, one vote in a direct election. Those are their opposite but maximum demands. That's why they are poles apart, perhaps even irreconcilable.

For Hong Kong to have any kind of meaningful universal suffrage, the two sides will have to move the poles closer. That will probably mean a nominating group broadly representative enough for the pan-dems to have a fighting chance to slip in one or more candidates. Likewise, the pan-dems will have to accept some "screening mechanism" for candidates. At the moment, that's not happening. Rather, the two sides are becoming more intransigent.

I hate to be quoting the Basic Law all the time - surely one of the most uninspiring constitutional documents in history. But it does stipulate "a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures" in Article 45. We have no more clarity today about how this committee would work than before the story broke, though everyone has his own interpretation. The story was more heat than light: the pro-Beijing person was saying no more than what our mini-constitution says.

Hong Kong people are surely ready for full democracy but you have to wonder about the political sense of those who claim to represent their democratic aspirations if their hysterical performance is anything to go by.


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Hysteria may not hasten democracy,yet deliberately delay the consultation of a political reform that a geniune universal suffrage to be held in 2017 to choose our Chief Executive can only be harmful to our pursuit of a democratic political system which can make the leader of this city to be responsible/accoutable to his/her voters---all those qualified voters in town.How nice it will be ! Once he/she fails to carry out his tasks, he/she will be voted out---receiving a no-confidence note and step down before another more capable and decent one takes his/her place ! Bravo ! Democracy !
hard times !
The best way to make the poles: pro-Beijing elements and pan-democrats in town to draw closer is to start the consultation procedure as soon as possible so as to let the general public and our political parties ample time to discuss the best acceptable way to choose our chief executive who will be produced through a universal suffrage (as promised by Beijing to Hongkongers) in 2017.As former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said in his interview in Beijing, it is time to seriously consider launching the consultation , preferrably in coming October or not later than next spring since it has to be completed in 2015.What DAB's Yip Kwok-him ( a miserable and incompetent lawmaker,I'm afraid to say) said the consultation can be deferred to next year is just an excuse to mislead/ignore the importance of the consultation only ! Right ?
One really must think this paper is joking when you print: " For Hong Kong to have any kind of meaningful universal suffrage, the two sides will have to move the poles closer. " Adding "meaningful" is so outrageous. Why not go all the way and say SCMP's meaningful equates "small circle non-universal suffrage"!
Thank you for commenting Alex. I can't stand the sound of no-one caring enough to have a lively debate!
The United States Legislative arm- Congress and Senate; debate all the time but one would hesitate to say that their governance and decision-making is superior
Chinese culture lacks many aspects what is common in western culture. Politic and debate are two examples. When Chinese are confronted with them, they would view politic as dirty business and debate as waste of time. Such views even hold true for the Chinese in Hong Kong. A democratic society must rely on politic and debate. Hong Kong public mostly is educated by a colonial structure, the lack of exposure to a democratic way of life will require time to mature into politic and debate. At the moment it is all intrigue and quarrel: exciting and worrisome but sophomoric in the eyes of western culture.
maybe the first debate ought to be on the meaning of "Universal Suffrage", and maybe the Court of Final Appeal should make a decision asap!


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