Pan-democrats must try to adopt a more conciliatory approach
Republican congressman Matt Salmon, leader of a three-man delegation from the US House Foreign Affairs Committee that recently met senior political figures from the pro-government and pro-democratic camps, said that "moving forward, sometimes half a loaf is better than no loaf", as a hint at compromise on the 2017 electoral reform ("US took no role in Occupy, Leung told", May 10).
This down-to-earth suggestion should be looked into by our lawmakers, both pro-government and pan-democratic, who need to have further meetings with central government officials.
In the arrangements made by the government for lawmakers to meet top mainland officials, there could be two levels of meetings: the first level, with all participating lawmakers meeting together, and the second level with senior members of the pro-democratic and pro-government camps participating to facilitate in-depth exchange with mainland officials.
The latter meeting could explore:
- Agreeing that the government's reform package for 2017 is a pilot scheme that could be reviewed later for improvements to be considered for the next chief executive election in 2022; and
- Agreeing that if the pan-democratic camp withdraws its threat to veto the government's proposals at Legco next month, there will be ongoing discussions by all parties, including the pan-democratic camp, on further reforming the legislative council by 2020.
The pan-democrats oppose the government's political package primarily on the grounds that it does not conform to universal standards and so is fake democracy.
The government's proposals conform to the Basic Law and the August 31, 2014 decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and are therefore in accordance with the rule of law.
The pan-democratic camp should recognise that under the "one country, two systems" framework, their vetoing of the government's political reform package will constitute a serious gap in mutual understanding and cooperation in their relations with the central government.
This will not augur well for Hong Kong' future as a special administrative region of China in terms of our city's need for economic growth, political stability and strengthening our competitiveness to improve the livelihood of our seven million citizens.
I urge our pan-democratic legislators to adopt a more conciliatory approach in meetings with top mainland officials where the maxim "moving forward, sometimes half a loaf is better than no loaf" is worth bearing in mind.
Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan