• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 11:22pm
Universal Suffrage

Leaders must ease Hong Kong worries over 'sham suffrage'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 3:30am

I refer to the article by Bernard Chan ("2017 election is but a step on nation's road to modernity", March 22).

I agree with him in two respects. First, Hong Kong voters would never choose a person unacceptable to Beijing. Second, universal suffrage in Hong Kong is significant to the modern reforms in China. However, Mr Chan has underestimated the serious concern about a sham universal suffrage manipulated by Beijing in 2017. It is a gathering hurricane rather than "a storm in a teacup".

The nomination process stipulated in the Basic Law, as Mr Chan points out, is supposed to be a technical procedure to produce a manageable list of candidates. It is distinguished from a political procedure in which a person may be denied candidacy because of his political beliefs.

Many in Hong Kong are afraid that Beijing may take the nomination process as a political selection, which runs contrary to the public expectation of a true democracy.

Worse still, high-ranking Chinese officials openly commented that "loving China and loving Hong Kong" is a criterion for candidacy and that opposition camp members "against the central government" would not be allowed to be chief executive.

These blunt comments reinforced and substantiated fears that the chief executive election in 2017 would only be a sham universal suffrage monitored by Beijing.

To play down public concerns, Mr Chan claimed that he never heard about such a scheme from senior Chinese officials. Unfortunately, his insider information gives no comfort to Hong Kong people. Even Mr Chan had to admit that public fears about such a sham in 2017 caused uproar before in Hong Kong. I believe they would still do so today - and in future - if not addressed properly.

I have reached a different conclusion to Mr Chan's judgment on the situation.

Since "society is so polarised at the moment", there is an urgent need to start public consultation for organised debates. Yes, "people are in a jumpy mood" but they will become more restless if they are ignored. Indeed, an early public consensus is crucial to reduce political uncertainty and maintain investor confidence in Hong Kong.

Mr Chan should advise Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying not to bury his head in the sand and to start consultations as soon as possible.

This will not only make political discussions regular events but also give Beijing an opportunity to assess public opinion more accurately.

Patrick Cheng, Tai Po


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hard times !
What the general public (the majority of course) want for the election of our chief executive in 2017 is a geniune universal suffrage----a true democracy which we can choose our leader through a nominating committee which represents most people(at least unlike the present Election Committe which comprises just over 200,000 people in town).It should be like what our last British Governor,Chris Patten devised for us---the representative of every sector in town should be elected by individuals of that sector instead of through companies or corporations.The election in 2017 carries vital significance of the modernisation of China (the PRC ) on its road to a civilized nation besides becoming an economic and military power.Right ? Why not take our beloved Hong Kong (where the literate rate is high enough and its people are civilized and sensible in general) to be a testing ground of practising democracy in the whole China ? Taiwan is a good model for Hongkong's democratic development.If being an integral part of China,Taiwan can do, why can't Hong Kong ? I wonder.
hard times !
Agree that Mr.Bernard Chan ,being an Exco member, should advise C.Y.Leung to start the consultations on the Constitutional Reform as soon as possible and not to bury his head in the sand. It will not make political discussions regular events but also give Beijing an opportunity to assess Hong Kong public's opinions more accurately to see if most of us really yearning for a geniune universal suffrage instead of a faked one or a superficial one which is never our ideal / wish !


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