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  • Oct 31, 2014
  • Updated: 6:07pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Hong Kong must stick with the Basic Law

Regina Ip says the Occupy Central movement is falsely promising a vision for Hong Kong that in fact contravenes both the letter and spirit of the constitution that has served us so well

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 2:15am

Almost 30 years after the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong, and more than 15 years after the implementation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's development appears to have reached a crossroads. As 2017, the promised date for electing Hong Kong's chief executive by universal suffrage, draws near, calls to "occupy Central" as a means of putting pressure on Beijing to embrace a democratic selection method threaten to derail the implementation of the Basic Law.

On the face of it, who can decry the siren calls of seemingly righteous intellectuals dedicated to fighting for Hong Kong people's right to choose their chief? On deeper analysis, however, the Occupy Central movement is fraught with danger.

First and foremost, the movement amounts to a rejection of the Basic Law and the political reality underlying Hong Kong's status as a special administrative region of China. For more than 100 years under British rule, Hong Kong was governed using the classic colonial model, with executive and legislative powers concentrated in the hands of the governor and appointed officials. Hong Kong people never had any say in the choice of their leader.

The advent of 1997 forced the British to introduce democratic reform, albeit belatedly in the 1980s, as a check on Beijing's power. In the course of the Sino-British negotiations on the future of Hong Kong, Beijing agreed that the chief executive shall be "selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government".

Later on, after listening to the representations of Hong Kong people, Beijing further agreed to cast in stone, in the fine print of article 45 of the Basic Law, its commitment that the "ultimate aim is the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures".

Granted, in the eyes of the British negotiators, the provisions for selecting the chief executive fell short of the British wish to turn Hong Kong's political structure into a parliamentary government, as in other former colonies. Yet, given Hong Kong's constitutional and historical status as an inalienable part of China, the arrangements in the Basic Law, if successfully implemented in an orderly manner, would give Hong Kong people the greatest say in choosing their chief and the most democratic system they have ever enjoyed.

Turning now to the Occupy Central movement, under the mantra of "Let Love and Peace Occupy Central", the organisers plan to formulate proposals for electing the chief executive in accordance with international standards and on the basis of popular deliberations, without regard to the letter and spirit of the Basic Law. In so doing, they are effectively jettisoning the political arrangements that have been enshrined in the de facto constitution.

The Basic Law has in the past 15 years ensured the continuation of the Hong Kong way of life under "one country": Hong Kong people have become more critical of their government and more ready to exercise their rights and freedoms than ever; Hong Kong's media, including many independent online forums, more irreverent and influential; and Hong Kong's political system, despite the government's best efforts to remain "executive-led" as in the colonial era, more decentralised than ever. The introduction of universal suffrage is no doubt the last missing piece of the jigsaw fulfilling the democratic method.

In essence, thanks to the implementation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong has in the past 15 years evolved into a highly democratic society with strong rule of law, a feisty civil society and a highly competitive political culture, all being hallmark ingredients of democratic rule. Throw away the Basic Law and Hong Kong could end up losing the constitutional basis for its continuous, robust development under "one country".

The reference to international standards is gratuitous in that the international covenant guaranteeing Hong Kong people's civil and political rights is already anchored in article 39 of the Basic Law. The call for a "deliberation day" to discuss and formulate electoral proposals, purportedly originating from the "deliberative polling" model pioneered by Stanford University professor James Fishkin, is misleading in that there will be no random selection of participants in the Hong Kong exercise, nor will "balanced reference materials" - prominently the Basic Law and related documents - be made available. The selection bias of the organisers would skew the discussions.

As always, "Power to the People" has a seductive appeal to those who allow their emotions to take control, and such numbers could be legion. Yet reality and history tell us that anarchy could be let loose if the centre cannot hold.

It is for good reason that, as early as in the 17th century, Thomas Hobbes saw the Leviathan state as the solution to anarchy, allowing people to secure private property and build a community. States and societies are built on constitutions, and our constitution provides the basis for a bright future for Hong Kong to materialise. Let us treasure that and not throw it away.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is a legislator and chair of the New People's Party

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hard times !
Okay,our constitution (the Basic Law) provides us the basis of a bright future for Hong Kong to materialise.We have to treasure it and not throw it away.Yet in our Basic Law, there are no articles that stipulate that our chief executive should be one 'loving the country (the Party ?) and Hong Kong (how come ?)' and 'not confrontational towards the Central authoritis' (demanding an end to the one-party rule on Mainland China and practises a democratic political system,allowing multi-party to exist). The bottom-line or principles or perception raised by Old Guy Qiao Xiao-yang definitely breach our sacred Basic Law though he is supposedly to be a self-taught legal expert and is now serving as the director of the Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the NPC--the highest legislature in the PRC. What is wrong of 'power to the people ' ? May I ask this former student of Professor Diamond of Standford University ? A geniune universal suffrage/direct election is truly and definitely the best political system in our present world, that explains why most countries now practises democracy(though the extent of them might be different) Was Ip Lau a poor student of well-famous Professor Tai ? I wonder.
hard times !
I am amazed that Regina Ip Lau can be so ungrateful towards her former mentor and thesis tutor,Professor Diamond,a world-famous authority on democratic political systems.According to an earlier interview through e-mails by local Ming Pao's reporter with Professor Diamond,the latter said clearly that the planned /already-disclosed blueprint of the coming universal suffrage of pro-Beijing loyalists which requires a screening mechanism /so-called a primary poll is a faked universal suffrage which does not conform to international standard---the UN's Interantional convenant on civil & political rights which stipulates that in a periodic election, people should have the right to vote and to be voted in a universal suffrage.So,this Broomhead, Regina Ip (once sneered at democracy by saying that even Adolf Hitler was elected by'one man,one vote' !) has never changed her real nature----anti-democracy so as to please her supreme master in the North----Being authorities.She even forgets that she herself was directely elected by qualified voters in the Legco election !
hard times !
This Regina Ip (the Broomhead) can be depicted as the most dangerous element in town since she appears to be an open-minded pro-establishment figure who dares to not so co-operative with the SAR administration on some issues while sometimes courageous enough to express her views /dissatisfaction against Beijing (her top boss) e.g.one year, she was invited as a guest-of-honour to Beijing to watch the parade along the Chang An Avenue.One of the floats in the parade was from Hong Kong which we paid HK$ 3 millions for the making of it on Mainland.She told the reporters that the float made her think of some paper offerings at Ching Ming----cheap enough(implying corruption was involved in the making of our float ).Yet she is, instead, the most dangerous person to deal with--------disguising herself as a trustworthy and not-so-loyal guy,yet in fact,she is a staunch supporter of the Beijing authorities and a pro-establishment person indeed ! Her words (uttered verbally or written) just can't be trusted or believed.Beware of her, dear Hongkongese !
hard times !
that guy named bluechinagroup (redchinagroup to be sure) understands what democracy is ? Of course not ! Being a follower or believer in autocratic rule and their loyal servants or slave-servants,how can he/she understand what true democracy is ? This bluechinagroup better go home (to the North) and studies more on western democracy from old ancient Greek period: the state of Athens' democratic political system to modern western democracy and up to the democracy in Taiwan and Burma (now called Myanmar) !
hard times !
We have to treasure our mini-constitution---the Basic Law which never states that our future chief executive should be one who 'loving the country (or the Party instead ?) and Hong Kong (of course !) and 'not confrontational against the Central authorities which implies that he/she should never be one who asks/demands the end of one-party rule on Mainland---end up the rule of the Chinese Communist Party which is supposed to rule China (like Emperor Zihuang Qin ) forever and ever until the end of the world ! I wonder whether the ruling regime on Mainland has ever respected the Constitution of the PRC which guarantees the citizens there can enjoy freedoms of speech and publications, marches,gatherings and power to monitor the government and freedoms of media and religion as well.But can our compartiots enjoy the above-mentioned freedoms ? of course not !
hard times !
if Revenend Chu Yiu-ming is called a 'subversive'----by this slave-servant of the autocratic ruler on Mainland China, a so-called ' whymak '(or just a team member of a group sent here only), then how about this good-for-nothing with lousy English, whymak (who learnt English only in Middle One on Mainland ) and can never catch up with pflim040 whose English is much better than his/hers/theirs ! As most people in the world well know, the miltiary crackdown in June 1989 around Tiananmen Square was a brutal and bloody act against unarmed citizens and protesting students who were gunned down by assault rifles or even rolled over by tanks in the alleys near the Square (a latest document released by the U.S.can prove it) ! Short Deng had to do it since he thought otherwise his political power would no longer exist and so did the Chinese Communist government at that time ! It was definitely a cruel and brutal act to defend self-interests---those of the elderly so-called revolutionists (including Deng of course) and their families who were deeply involved in corruption ! They feared that once the protesting students gained support from most people,then even their lives would be threatened. It was never a so-called anti-revolution riot/ turmoil or even just an incident as it was referred to as June 4th Incident but actually it should be called,'June 4th Massacre' !
hard times !
Instead of Apple Daily's Lai Chi-ying or Catholic Church's Cardinal Zen, this Old Hong Kong thinks it is you who have to watch your mouth -----which maybe too clean to be washed up ! Money laundering often concerns those traid society elements only ! Is either Mr.Lai or Cardinal Zena triad society member or contributors ? If so, any proof ? Don't accuse others for no concrete proof ! It is smearing and defamation ! Most Hongkongers well know that the founder of the pro-Beijing, pro-establishment local newspaper,'the Oritental' and 'The Sun''s boss's dad is still hiding in Taiwan for charges related to drugs ! They asked former chief executive Sir Donald to let him come back here but was refused.So The Oritental attacked/attacks Sir Donald vigorously day and night ! This' whymak' is either too naive or sometiems simple as former president Jiang described our reporters to be ! Right ?
hard times !
This whymak can never express himself/herself in simple and clear English which is never his/her mother tongue ! Our fellow writer here, pflim040 has once told him/her to brush up his/her English before coming back to express himself/herself here.Yet his advice has fallen on deaf ears ! What a pity ! This nasty guy should live in the Ming or Qing dynasties where the autocratic emperors punished their adversaries/ opponents or rebels by putting them into a so-called 'paddy wagon'---a transport vehicle invented/imagined by whymak maybe---and had him paraded in the streets before executing him ! Right ? whymak, brush up your English by studying hard for at least ten years or more and come back to bark at our beloved democracy fighters such as Professor Tai and his alike. Okay ? ha ! ha !
hard times !
Bravo, this Revenend Chu Yiu-ming, a respectable old priest in town who once helped the democracy campaign activists who fled Hong Kong to move overseas is now one of the three organisers of the 'Occupy Central' movement-----a peaceful gathering which might block some roads in Central next year in July ----a civil disobedience indeed just like those staged by India's Gandhi who was jailed for his unco-operative movements against the British colonists in 20 century.Our three democracy fighters:Chu,Tai and Chan might be arrested for blocking the roads and illegal gatherings as well by the hawkish Andy Tsang wai-hung who warned to use force once violence breaks out due to some radical participants who might be involved in it. And the stationed PLAs who used to appear friendly towards Hongkongers might aim their machine guns at Central once a riot breaks out ----fearing a colour revolution takes place in the territory---and help in arresting the organisers and major/vital participants such as those so-called radical lawmakers like Long-hair and Maddog Wong, Chan Wai-yip and even mild-mannered ones such as Audrey Yu and Leong Kah-kit, Tong Ka-wah as well so as to deter any oppositionists from demanding a geniune universal suffrage which will /can never take place under the autocratic rule of Chinese communist government which emphasizes on one-party rule forever and ever.
hard times !
Hong Kong must stick to Basic Law while launching our promised universal suffrage in 2017 of our election of chief executive. In our Basic Law, there are no such words as, chief executive elected should be,'loving the country (the Party to be exact) and Hong Kong (how can't it be ?) and 'not confrontational towards the Central authorities'----never demand or support 'end one-party rule on Mainland China and practises democracy with a multi-party political system as elsewhere in the world ! According to the Basic Law, the nominating committee should be broadly representative---the best way is to have the members chosen through 'one man, one vote'---the most democratic way to represent most Hongkongese's interests and rights as well. Right ?

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