• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:27pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 2:33am

Focus fight on who picks the candidates for chief executive


Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.

"I have simply grasped the one thread which links up all the rest."

Hu Shih, the father of Chinese democratic liberalism, began his classic, The Development of the Logical Method in Ancient China, with this quote from Confucius.

In dealing with complex issues, the sage advises, look for that underlying issue to illuminate and move things forward. The escalating war of words between the pan-democrats and mainland officials has generated more heat than light. The poisoned rhetoric from both sides has not changed the political realities; it has merely confused the key issues.

Now, a few individuals on both sides have started to make more sensible noises.

Law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting who came up with the Occupy Central protest plan said over the weekend that we should focus on the composition of the nominating committee that will select candidates for the 2017 chief executive race. That's exactly right. The committee's composition is where the real battleground for universal suffrage will be.

Tai is not the first to point this out. It was, in fact, Alan Hoo, SC, head of the Basic Law Institute, who first called on the pan-democrats to focus on that after various mainland officials said any CE candidates must love Hong Kong and the motherland and never challenge the central government. But Hoo is friendly to Beijing. Hopefully, Tai will be more persuasive with his pan-democratic colleagues.

All the charges and counter-charges about patriotism and the screening of candidates just confuse the issue. They boil down to one question: who will sit on the nominating committee?

Beijing will want it to resemble the current 1,200-member election committee, which is selected by less than 250,000 voters and mostly drawn from sectors that replicate the rotten boroughs of the functional constituencies.

Pan-dems like Tai will want the new committee membership to be returned by a popular vote.

The future committee will have to be much more representative electorally than the election committee. But it's just a non-starter to demand giving everyone a vote on its membership.

Let's just hope cooler heads will prevail on both sides and start putting viable proposals on the negotiating table.


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This article is now closed to comments

This is pflim040 posting yet again under a new name. Why not just post your opinions all under one username? How is this not any different than vote rigging or astro-turfing? You're trying to create the appearance of massive Occupy Central support on the forums by rotating your username.

Also I very much doubt that you were able to vote in members of the election committee. You sound like an extremely delusional and misguided young person.
hard times !
This bluechinagroup (actually should be written as 'redchinagroup') is not a single guy in town but a team member of a group sent here to monitor we Hongkongers' words on the internet only. Am I right ? ha ! ha !
hard times !
bluechinagroup is not a single person but a group sent from the North here to monitor we Hongkongese's postings in the forums of local media-----just like what is described in the novel, '1984'------big brother is watching you ! Now our freedom of expression is being threatened by these guys who keep an eye on us and our words expressed which used to be free and without fear ! As Professor Tai once said, what is important is the formation of the Nominating Committee and never the screening scheme or a primary poll ! To represent most Hongkongers (the qualified voters), the Committee members should better be elected through a direct election just like our election of the district councillors or Legco members from the geographical constituency.
Maybe he should use his regular username rather than hiding behind aliases? Why does he need to obfuscate every single post he makes? It creates this false appearance that there's massive support for Occupy Central.

Sure he's free to do it. But I am also free to call him out on this rubbish. Freedom of speech works both ways after all. He doesn't hold a monopoly on it.
I think both the Central Government and the Democratic Parties are getting it wrong.
The best thing that the Government and ordinary people can do is let the Occupy Central plan go ahead. This will further erode the popularity of the Hong Kong 'Democrats' are they will be seen to be going against the wishes of the majority and just create mayhem and mess for our city.
The Central Government should not approve candidates prior to the election. Hong Kong people will not elect a candidate that they do not think capable of running Hong Kong or one who would likely be unacceptable to the Central Government. The British system (although largely just symbolic in the UK) is preferable. The winning candidate should visit the President or his appointed representative and ask for permission to form a government.
Hong Kong, let us not forget, is a city in China, but one that has been afforded much greater autonomy than others. But it is still a part of the PRC and has a certain obligation and duty to contribute to the stability, prosperity and happiness of the nation.
We likely enjoy a more frank discussion because of the anonymity. Hiding behind a username perhaps gives us a better picture of the actual thinking of people, rather than being forced to conform to the politically correct norm. It's not always pretty, but it probably has more validity and relevance to the real situation than putting on a fake facade to protect one's self.
Another factor is of course that real names can often induce prejudice in the reader. A Western name vs a Chinese name for example or a Male name vs Female name.
The current system is more fair and interesting. It encourages wider debate. Your proposal will likely lead to less exchange of views and more shoe shining.
I agree. particularly the shoe shining culture in Hong Kong. Not to mention also the fear factor of one's employability in a mostly congrlomerate controled economy.
Democracy to pflim040 means:

1. Telling all ethnic minorities such as Michael Chugani to shut up if they do not agree with Occupy Central.
2. Anyone who does not support Occupy Central must be a stooge of Beijing. He already accused me of being from "up north" even though he knows nothing about me.
3. Flooding SCMP and other forums with Pro Occupy Central messages under different usersnames to create the illusion of mass support from many users.

Yes in Hong Kong you are free to post on as many usernames as possible. But I am also free to express my opinion and expose your hypocrisy and double standards. Your vision of democracy is just another dictatorship where everyone must agree with your view or shut up! You are a total hypocrite and intellectually bankrupt!
prisoner of zenda is another sock puppet of pflim040. It's very annoying he does this. Pflim040 is a racist who thinks non Chinese like Michael Chugani should keep their mouth shut about democracy reform if they do not agree with Occupy Central. This is pflim040's hypocritical view on democracy: Tell anyone who dissents with his opinion on democracy to shut up!
hard times !
if pflim040 has hypocritcal view on democracy (which is a universal value all over the free world except in those autocartic countries like N.Korea,Cuba and our great China !), then how about your view on democracy ? You are against a democratic political system here in Hong Kong ! Right ? 'Occupy Central' is just a civil-disobedience movement only, why do you object it and yell time and again against it ! You are the slave-servant of your autocratic master !




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