Hong Kong's pan-democrats must ask if it is fair to voters to veto reform package

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 June, 2015, 9:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 June, 2015, 9:49pm

The government will submit the electoral reform package to the Legislative Council on Wednesday for a final debate.

The specially organised two-hour meeting in Shenzhen on May 31 for the three mainland officials to meet with 14 pan-democratic lawmakers ended with no consensus and the lawmakers reiterated they would vote down the government's reform package in Legco.

Hong Kong Civic Association would suggest the pan-democratic lawmakers consider a number of points.

Li Fei, chairman of the Basic Law Committee, said at the Shenzhen meeting that even if the government's reform package should be voted down in Legco, the electoral framework as set out by the country's top legislature on August 31 will remain in effect beyond 2017.

Although the Basic Law would allow for amendments due to new political circumstances to be made through the "five stage" process, the road ahead would be arduous, with more potential challenges that may increase, rather than lessen, tensions with the central government.

The question pan-democratic lawmakers should therefore ask themselves is whether it would be just and fair to veto the government's political package and deny five million Hong Kong voters the right in 2017 to elect by "one man, one vote" Hong Kong's chief executive, for the presumed reason that he or she would not be a candidate of their choice.

Also at the Shenzhen meeting, Wang Guangya , director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, observed that the two-hour meeting with the 14 pan-democrats was frank and constructive, and that he was looking forward to more such meetings in the future. Our association welcomes Mr Wang's statement.

As an indication of the importance of the matter, the government's reform package has the backing of the country's top leaders and the national legislature, plus a sizeable majority of our Legco members.

So in casting their votes on the government's political reform package next week, mainstream pan-democratic legislators should bear in mind that the key aspect of the package would be to empower five million Hong Kong voters, instead of the current 1,200.

This will then make the chief executive more directly aware and accountable of his responsibilities to Hong Kong and its seven million citizens, who want a higher living standard and more opportunity to participate in the modernisation of China under the Basic Law and "one country, two systems" principle.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, president, Frederick Lynn, chairman,Hong Kong Civic Association