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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 8:17pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 4:41am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 4:41am

Abandon public nomination for 2017 chief executive vote

The intervention by the Bar Association over the political reform debate is timely and welcome. By now, it should be clear the fight for universal suffrage must focus on the composition of the nominating committee. The association rightly rejects public nomination as it effectively bypasses the committee's powers and renders it irrelevant as a rubberstamp.

The furore over it has been needlessly promoted by Occupy Central's Benny Tai Yiu-ting, the Civic Party's Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and the Scholarism kiddies. They have sidetracked the whole debate and steered it towards a dead end. Wiser and more experienced pan-democratic leaders have already abandoned public nomination, including Martin Lee Chu-ming and Anson Chan Fang On-sang, neither of whom can be said to be pandering to Beijing. It's just a straightforward reading of the Basic Law that only members of the nominating committee can nominate candidates for the chief executive election. Or it would have been straightforward if the issue has not been so clouded by Tai, Eu and their supporters.

Eu and the student activists know perfectly well Beijing would never allow for public nomination, whether it was in the Basic Law or not. But they hope they could browbeat more moderate democrats into supporting it so it could be used to corner Beijing and its allies in Hong Kong. In the event, it's the pan-democratic camp that first cracks and blinks.

The arguments offered by the Bar Association are evenhanded and ideologically neutral. In fact, it comes down as hard on the mainland-Hong Kong government side as much as it is against public nomination and nomination by political parties. Rightly, it points out that "love our country, love Hong Kong", as a criterion for selecting chief executive hopefuls, makes little sense in law.

I believe if the pan-democrats drop public nomination, Beijing should give up on patriotism as a nominating criterion. Any patriotism standard must be arbitrary and only serves to delegitimise the election process. The association also argues against any high nomination threshold or restriction on "political plurality", i.e., banning "politically incorrect" candidates. In doing so, it has also stuck a blow against the pro-Beijing crowds.


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Alex Lo runs up the white flag and surrenders to the Central Government! Whats in it for him?
Mr Lo 'believes' that if pro-democrats give up the public nomination idea, then the anti-democrats will give up their patriotism nonsense?

Yes, well, that is an interesting 'belief.' Perhaps the anti-dems should just come forward and say so if that is the case. Or even better: let them give up on the patriotism stuff first, and let's 'believe' the pro-dems will then give up on the idea of public nomination.

The composition of the selection committee is a negotiation process between two factions with very different idea(l)s. It would be outright stupid of the pro-dems to voluntarily give up half of their position ahead of the negotiations, especially not when the other side is essentially Beijing - a side that has repeatedly shown to understand only hard actions to change its mind (see: article 23, national education etc), not good-faith gestures.

Sure, the public nomination idea is rather far out there, but so is the anti-dems proposal that the whole ballot should be approved by a majority of the selection committee. So really, what we need, is the two sides to start talking and both will need to cede some ground to reach a compromise.

And that is not done by asking one side to cede almost all of their ground before any real dialogue is started, based on some groundless belief that the other side will then follow suit.
John Adams
Mr Lo, You have hit the nail on the head.
I cannot understand the mental capacity of those "politicians" who don't understand that post -1997 we are irrevocably a part of China.
So how can we possibly nominate - let alone elect - a CE who is fundamentally opposed to BJ? Impossible !
Will BJ allow HK to have UDI ? Of course NEVER !
But why is everyone so fearful of big-daddy- PRC-China ?
It's a wonderful and very free place to live, as long as you don't do silly Long-Hair stunts ( and don't mind the pollution)
Wonderful people , wonderful countryside
Certainly much better than most countries in the West ( unless you are corrupt and want to hide hidden illegally-gained wealth)
Please don't give us advice about how to fight for universal suffrage and a more liberal society, that's all you hate.
Is this a joke?
Although the Bar Association opinion is intellectually and logically internally consistent within the confines of a literal interpretation of Basic Law, I was nonetheless curious about HK public opinion, preferably one assessed in a scientifically rigorous manner.
Well here's one:
The article itself is fascinating. For those who want the whole enchilada:
****www.hktp.org/list/ then download the Constitutional Reform Full Report 2014 pdf. It'll make for an interesting read.
Some choice clips:
"a majority of Hong Kong’s residents — most notably young people — are dissatisfied with the way the central government in Beijing is overseeing its relations with the former British colony"
"56 percent said that they were dissatisfied with the way the local government was handling ties with the central government in Beijing"
"Fewer than one in 10 people surveyed had even “some” belief Mr. Leung would implement a fair nominating process that did not exclude qualified candidates who may hold views the Beijing government does not approve of. "
And for the sake of fairness:
"57 percent said they were very worried or somewhat worried that the Occupy Central movement would harm the local economy."
The silent majority has spoken. The CCP lackey response will be most amusing.
Why was there a call for public nomination in the first place. Cos the nominating committee is well and truly a rubber stamp and cannot be trusted by the majority of HK people. Apparently most of the committee members are controlled by Beijing so there can hardly be any hopefuls that Beijing doesnt like that can gain entry to the CE Election.
The composition of the nominating committee could well be a bone of contention in the coming months. I agree with AL. Forget public nomination. We should ensure that the nominating committee does its job properly.
Man, i should have wagered hard on the "under" when it came to the likelihood of CCP apologists balling up and addressing the reality of HK's silent majority.
Generally agree with Mr. Lo here. The Bar Association has done HKers a service. The underlying reason for public nomination was to prevent BJ from stacking the deck with yes-men nominees. The Bar association has taken a literal interpretation of Basic Law, which CCP lackeys can't object to since they've been calling for that all along. But in doing so, while the Bar association excludes public nomination on legal grounds, it similarly excludes 'loving the CCP' as a legitimate legal requirement. So while they have disavowed the basis for public nomination, they have also curtailed any legal basis for BJ to rig the nomination process. On the whole, I think that's a win for HKers, and more importantly, is a win that CCP apologists can't wiggle out of.
"I believe if the pan-democrats drop public nomination, Beijing should give up on patriotism as a nominating criterion." --- that seems like a legal framework for compromise. We shall see whether both sides are capable of doing so in the face of a legitimate legal opinion.
Of course, HKers still have to put faith in the nomination committee members, individually and collectively, to abide by the law and not screen out candidates with the 'loving the CCP' metric. I guess that's the remaining unknown - whether CCP lackeys can actually follow the law.


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