Concerned about pro-Beijing camp's definition of nominating committee

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 3:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 3:54am

I refer to Alex Lo's column ("Beijing is right on nominating committee", December 6).

Lo has missed the greater point once again. He summarises his position on the method of electing the next chief executive: there are only two options, an interpretation of the Basic Law allowing for true free and open elections, or his interpretation that leaves the selection of candidates solely with a committee.

This is the relevant part of Article 45 of the Basic Law: "The ultimate aim is the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures."

Broken down into two parts, one can see that the law states that the chief executive must be selected by universal suffrage, and further, must be appointed by a committee.

It is the make-up of the committee here, that Lo is calling for, that should be a cause for concern, and he is plainly admitting that he is toeing the line of the central government.

I think he does not realise that the definition of a nominating committee is vague and ambiguous in the law, and thus should be, and is, up for discussion.

One could argue rightly that the committee could be made up of the entire adult population of permanent residents in Hong Kong. That certainly would constitute a "broadly representative" body, wouldn't it?

In fact, I would argue, that would be the easiest and least controversial broadly representative body one could have.

The reality is there are forces at play here which would not like to see a truly broad representative body of the population have the power to decide who can and cannot run for election.

Lo has inferred that he, like many in the pro-Beijing camp, doesn't want to spend any time debating and just wants to leave it up to our friends in Beijing, the ideological masters of democracy that they are, to formulate a committee that will invariably decide who can govern until 2047.

Lo and his comrades in the pro-Beijing lobby want the status quo.

They recognise the power of the words "universal suffrage", which is in the law, and also realise that if they can maintain a tight committee, then the choices for election will be slim.

The point that needs to be made is that suffrage is meaningless if you are only given one option to choose from.

Chris Haalboom, Sheung Wan