My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 December, 2013, 5:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 December, 2013, 5:21am

Try petitioning for universal suffrage


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.

Oh boy, there goes any hope of my getting that deputy propaganda chief's job from Beijing. They will probably now put me in the pan-democratic camp, not exactly my cup of tea either.

But I just read this intriguing idea that I thought I should share. It's posted by reader michaeldegolyer.

The idea is to get hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people to petition Beijing to allow the nomination and election of a particular candidate for the chief executive.

If someone can get that many supporters, he/she really deserves to be our leader. But it might be rather odd to have to do this every five years for the chief executive election. So I assume it's a one-off petition and NOT a protest, a humble kowtow in the original meaning of the gesture by ordinary people before mandarins and emperors.

Michaeldegolyer goes further into the Chinese-constitutional right of petitioning, which ought to extend to Hong Kong. But I don't think that matters.

"Beijing" may or may not allow the petitioners to go to Beijing. But there is always the Liaison Office in Western, not as dramatic as thousands of Hong Kong petitioners bowing in the capital, but certainly much cheaper in terms of airfare.

Now here is a slightly different idea. I don't support or advocate it, but it's interesting. How about for the pan-dems to petition Beijing for their version of "real" democracy with a million signatures or petitioners? That's better than Occupy Central, which will be an illegal protest. Petitioning, on the other hand, is perfectly legal in Hong Kong and acceptable on the mainland.

If the pan-dems can gather so many supporters during this five-month consultation period, they will have proved they really have public support.

If not, well, some of us have always suspected there is far less than meets the eye with this bunch.

Do that and follow with Occupy Central, and you will have amplified your voices and multiplied your powers by a few orders of magnitude.

Of course, Beijing has every right to accept or reject a humble petition, whether by a single villager or a million Hongkongers. We must respect that too.


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