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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 1:12pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 4:42am

Let's keep calm about suffrage debate

It's not every day that a community has an opportunity to remake a constitutional order. Hong Kong people now have a once-in-a-lifetime chance of doing so, with minimal risk of violence or chaos. We don't know how lucky we are. Most people have had to face war and revolution in similar situations. So instead of distrust, hysteria and acrimony, perhaps we should approach our constitutional task with some intellectual excitement and curiosity.

At the moment, each time one side lays down some half-baked idea on the method of electing the chief executive by universal suffrage, the other side cries foul and accuses it of bad faith. When democracy icon Martin Lee Chu-ming recently presented his own ideas, he was practically lynched by his own people. This week, it's the pan-democrats' turn to be denounced. Under the proposal by the Alliance for True Democracy, anyone with the support of one-eighth of the future nominating committee may run for chief executive, but the committee members will be chosen by all 3.2 million voters. Sure, it's a tad unrealistic to involve 3.2 million voters to pick the committee's members, but it's a start and a basis for discussion.

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, deputy director of the Basic Law Committee, and the pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao, wasted no time in trashing it. It's a replay of Qiao Xiaoyang's remarks about patriotic qualifications being used to screen chief executive candidates; only back then, it was pan-democrats who went into paroxysm.

Let's keep in mind that it's all just talk at this stage. Beijing or the Hong Kong government cannot unilaterally impose its voting agenda on Hong Kong any more than the pan-democratic camp can. We have a crucial safety switch. It is that under the Basic Law, you need a two-thirds majority of lawmakers to pass any political reform package. The pan-democrats have 27 votes in Legco, which is more than enough to veto any universal voting plan they object to.

So what are the rest of us - the real people of Hong Kong - to do? I say, study each proposal on its merits as it comes along and let the marketplace of ideas debate and decide. As the Brits say, keep calm and carry on.


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Alex Lo is now keeping calm himself and I sincerely wish he can carry on being reasonable and logical plus balanced in his views of our upcoming universal suffrage.No doubt, our pan-democratic camp holds 27 seats in the Legco which can easily veto any improper /unwelcomed proposal regarding the Universal Voting Plan put forward by the Leung administration or proposals of pro-Beijing elements in town.Besides,once we have a worse-than-the-past chief executive election scheme forced on us----the Nominating Committee is derived from the old Election Committee and the 2-3 candidates are pro-establishment ones, all pro-democracy qualified voters can absent themselves from polling stations or cast blank ballots or ineffective ballots if they have to approach the polling stations as a duty ! Right ? All democracy-lovers, we will never lost in this battle of which the 'Occupy Central' is only the last resort we might take !
Keep a cool head and carry on applies to all concern parties. The best cooling agent is speaking truth of one’s belief or position which then leads to a compromise or no compromise until a solution is found to all. The reality of course is far from such naivety. However, what Hong Kong must bear in mind is the burden that it is part of China but possesses something not part of China. Hong Kong has the obligation owed to its ‘Chineseness’ to sort out its experiences and offer the best to the eventual unity with the rest of China. Here, really, it is also truly the value of the handover of Hong Kong to China. The benefits shouldn’t be just a one way street but holistic to all. Please.
It appears that Mr. Lo has gained a new perspective from his short leave of absence, now offering opinions on HK politics with a moderate and reasoned tone. Carry on!


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