• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 11:28pm
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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If the purpose of having a functional constituency is to get ALL the sectors represented in whatever changes that will affect people – law and election of the CE, then the reality tells us it is utterly false. Hong Kong was once had sectors more ran by independent individuals. Each was more likely spoke the true interest of a sector that adding all up to represent a true Hong Kong. The reality in Hong Kong nowadays the individual and independent sectors only exist in appearance.
Conglomerates in Hong Kong have reduced the functional constituency to voting as a block. In fact, political power in Hong Kong resides disproportionally in the influential hands of very few conglomerate heads. Hong Kong is a company town where a boss dictates and employment controls everything from schooling, housing and eating.
There must be a new way to run Hong Kong; not because of envy, it is more about the built-in safety in diversification in entrepreneur opportunities. Then, Hong Kong will come to a full circle to its beginning where each sector is independent without a voice from the top. But, the conglomerates will make sure they will pick the next CE and stay put in the legislature forever. Entrepreneur opportunity for you? What a nuisance.
Sometimes comments from readers are more interesting than news or column. Most of the comments supposedly come from ordinary folks of whom their comments can provide us view from what expired or set. Without sincerity in what one wrote is like treating the comment space as one’s playground – useless to others though. Perhaps using real name as a requirement like in the NYTimes can make SCMP’s more interesting and challenging. Not very probable from commercial point of view for SCMP? So a playground it is.
hard times !
Cooler heads will prevail and start putting viable proposals on the negotiating table between the pan-democarcy camp (now led by Professor,Tai Yiu-ting and supported by all 27 pan-democrat lawmakers) and Beijing loyalists ( represented by their heavyweights Ng Hon-man,Leung Oi-see,Tam Wai-chu and ...) may sound like a daydream as the dispute has escalated into heated arguments and finger-pointings at opponents at public forums or accusations of Han /Hong Kong traitors against political rivals emerged.How can a peaceful negotiation be held in the coming years before 2017 ? I wonder.
hard times !
of course Beijing will want our future Nomination Committee to be more or less the same as the past Election Committes which formation was made up of pro-establishment and pro-Beijng elements.In this way,the chief executive picked will be 100 % loyal to the Beijing authorites though he/she might not please most commoners in town.But who cares ? In a non-democratic country, allowing a certain small area to practise a so-called democratic election is a rare exception already ! How can we Hongkongers be totally different from our compatriots across the border at Lowu. Right ? Democracy is a taboo on Mainland China, just like 'June 4th' or even,'Hu Yiu-bon' or 'Chiu Tze-yang' !
hard times !
now it is learnt that the bottom-line of the Central government of our candidates for the chief executive is: not related to the democracy movement in June 1989 or a key member of the Federation of Supporting Beijing students' democracy movement founded by late Uncle Szeto Wah.It means even Civic Party's Audrey Yu is okay since she did not involve in that movement and not a member of that Federation.But Democratic Party's Albert Ho or Workers' Party's Lee Cheuk-yan or Reverend Chu Yiu-ming are not allowed to compete for the top post in town.Beijing's main worry or concern is the future chief executive should never be one who is considered against Beijing though he/she loves his/her country and Hong Kong as well. That is: not an enemy of the Chinese Communist Party and its governance---never advocating or supporting the end of one-party rule on Mainland China.Never ! Just let them and their descendants and descendants enjoy both power and wealth plus beauties forever and ever and never challenge their power of rule then you are welcomed and close friends of the CCP and the cadres as well.
hard times !
bluechinagroup well knows that every new name appears in this Comment column is written by pflim040, maybe he/she is a prophet.Oh, dear ! No one can disallow any writers posting his/her views here with different names or usernames as Hong Kong is a free socitey which allows freedom of speech and there is no censor on the internet as our Great Mother Country.Why bother to attack/blame another writer here ? I wonder.You express yours,while pflim040 expresses his/hers.Let us all enjoy freedom of expression here !
hard times !
bluechinagroup or redchinagroup is not writing anything related to the topic/news above but just keep on attacking another writer so-called pflim040 though the latter may have used different usernames to present his/her views here, what is wrong with that ? i just don't understand.If this bluechinagroup (redchinagroup) is fed up with what this pflim040 (who carries numerous pen-names) and his postings,please stop reading his/her postings then he/she/they can have a sound sleep or they have to endure many sleepless nights ahead, it is for sure !
hard times !
pflim040 is a racist just because he has once criticized the Indian wrter (a local journalist and host of TV programs),Mr.Michael Chugami's words on our upcoming universal suffrage in 2017 for our election of our chief executive ? How biased your opinions against this nice guy named pflim040 is ! Shame on you and your lousy English ! Go home and study hard (in English of course) before coming back here to bark at our beloved writer; so-called pflim040 or all his usernames(pen-names).Okay ?
hard times !
agree with Alex Lo this time that all questions /issues boil down to one question only: who will sit on the Nominating Committee which is to choose our chief executive in 2017 ? If the Committee members are chosen by 'one man,one vote' then any screening mechanism or so-called 'a primary poll' is absolutely unnecessary since the members can fully represent all qualified voters in town to choose the leader for them----so-called broadly representative !
hard times !
of course,Beijing would like the upcoming so-called Nominating Committee to resemble the current 1,200-member election committee,(of which some members were chosen by this Old Hong Kong as well) which is selected by less than 250,000 voters in town and most of them drawn from sectors that replicate the rotten boroughs of the functional constituencies now exist but have long been gruntled upon. Pan-dems like professor Tai will want the new Nominationg Committee membership to be returned by a popular vote----all qualified voters can have the chance to choose their favourite Nominating Committee members to reflect their wishes/choices. Anyway,we were told by C.Y.Leung that the new Nominating Committee will be more progressive than the past Election Committee.Just wait and see how broadly representative it will turn out to be !
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 !
hard times !
another sock puppet of pflim040 ? How about you yourself ? Another sock puppet of your team which is sent here to monitor our postings on the internet ? Shame on you and your colleagues who are paid to do such nasty jobs !
hard times !
if pflim040 is a hypocrite as you this disguised Hongkonger said, then how can he/she continues to write his/her views here again and again supporting a geniune universal suffrage and the civil-disobedience movement,' Occupy Central'. 'bluechinagroup' is actually 'redchinagroup'.---a guy of a team sent here to monitor our postings on the internet and social websites and attack those pro-democracy people such as pflim040 who stauchly support a true democracy day and night here in this Comment column.Go and see Marx,bluechinagroup ! He is waiting for you !
"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"

I'm just stating my opinion on the fact that you keep posting under so many usernames. Why not post your opinions on your regular username? Posting under so many usernames means you lack transparency which is not at all democratic. You know nothing about democracy and even showed racism towards Michael Chugani. You said Michael shouldn't state his opinions about democracy because he is not an ethnic Chinese. You are nothing more than a hypocrite.

Also I'm not from the north. It sounds like everything is a conspiracy with you isn't it?
I wonder what username pflim040 will use this time to post his political rhetoric.
Who cares? Isn't he/she free to do so in HK and most of the outside world, still?


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