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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 5:01am
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POLITICS

Anson Chan weighs in on heated debate over universal suffrage

Former chief secretary takes pragmatic tone in heated debate, saying mutual respect is needed

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 April, 2013, 3:46am

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang has weighed in on the universal suffrage issue, taking a conciliatory and pragmatic tone in the heated debate.

It was not unreasonable for Beijing to expect Hong Kong's chief executive not to challenge China's one-party rule, she said at a Community College of City University seminar yesterday.

She added that surely Hongkongers did not want to see the leader they elected under universal suffrage unable to co-operate with the central government.

"What [the central government] now demands is not unreasonable. It demands a chief executive to not openly call for 'down with one-party rule'," she said. "Under 'one country, two systems', there has to be mutual respect. We hope that the central government will respect the 'two systems'. Likewise, we have to respect the 'one country'."

Under 'one country, two systems', there has to be mutual respect. We hope that the central government will respect the 'two systems'. Likewise, we have to respect the 'one country'."

Chan's comments follow the remarks of National People's Congress Law Committee chairman Qiao Xiaoyang last month, in which he said the city's chief executive had to love both the nation and Hong Kong and must not be confrontational towards the central government.

"I hope that the pro-Beijing camp and the central government can understand [that] a key element of [Hongkongers'] core values is the ability to accommodate different people's voices. The different voices do not necessarily mean that they are acting against you," Chan said.

"The reality is that no matter who becomes the chief executive, it would be impossible for him or her to act against the central government … Neither would Hong Kong people want the chief executive they elected not to be able to co-operate with the central government. In this respect, the central government can rest assured that Hong Kong people have a critical eye and are so pragmatic that they would cast their votes wisely."

Asked about the Occupy Central plan to demand genuine universal suffrage, Chan believed the idea - first raised by associate law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting two years ago - took root only recently likely due to people's "increasing frustration" with the government. She also rejected Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu's earlier claim that the right to stand for election was not universal. She said Tam's remarks were not true.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

HK-Lover
Anson Chan is a wise lady and hopefully all stakeholders (pan-democrates, pro-Beijing camp and central government) will listen to her carefully and give up their antics and rhetorics but take a pragmatic approach for the sake of Hong Kong. Without respecting each other and trying to understand the others side's point of view, you will never be able to hammer out a solution suitable for Hong Kong and acceptable for Beijing. That will be a solution pretty unique in the world and cannot be compared with the democratic systems in other parts of the world. We are in a unique situation with 1 country and 2 systems (which are antithetic and conflictive in many respects).
The pan-democrates have to learn to think and behave in a democratic way. Demanding only and blackmailing without offering the other side open minded discussions and signaling readiness for compromise has not much to do with democracy and freedom of speech.
And Beijing has to learn that Hong Kong people have their own way of thinking and most of them have been raised in a free society with a true rule of law who cannot be ruled the way the mainland is ruled. How can Beijing expect Hong Kong people to have much respect and for the central government and trust in it when it even cannot guarantee the upholding of the mainland's constitution by all provincial governments, courts and officials ?
hard times !
agree with what our 'Conscienc of Hong Kong', Mrs Anson Chan said in her speech delivered at the Community College of City Univ.While we demand Beijing to observe,'two systems', we Hongkongers should also observe,'one country'---and our elected chief executive should never be one who yells,'down with one-party rule' since his/her appointment is still to be approved by the State Council headed by the premier of the PRC.It is indeed a conciliatory and pragmatic approach towards our pursuit of a genuine universal suffrage in 2017 of our chief executive election !
ianson
Given the sort of rubbish written in the Chugani column today, it is gratifying to see these comments of a leading pro-democracy figure being published. The bogey raised by Chugani that the pan-democrat camp is hell-bent on overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party is precisely the sort of nonsense that forces the Party leadership into their ultra-defensive positions about the election process to be. Hong Kongers merely want to be free from interference from the Chinese Communist Party and to be able to choose their own leaders. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether China be ruled by the Party or anyone else. The fact we see the Party as corrupt and despotic motivates us to protect ourselves against its direct rule over us but we will be sanguine about their hold on power as soon as our own pluralist and democratic society is made secure by truly democratic formulae for Legco and CE elections. Of course, we hope to see the mainland move in the same direction (who wants to see any nation robbed of basic human rights?) but that's not something on the Hong Kong pan-democrat agenda.
daily
Sometimes, I really wish she would just shut her mouth up........she is nothing more than a retired civil servant and should just act that way......those who consider her as the conscience of HK should really have their heads examined.......she is just another ex-civil servant who can't bear to be out of the limelight and always tries to get a piece of the spotlight whenever she can.......Really; just enjoy retirement!
hard times !
of course it is a good speech,contrary to what Ip Kwok-him (so called delegate to the NPC, Legco member and vice-chairman of the notorious DAB) or Ng Hon-man,a former NPC delegate (Hong Kong) and supervisor of leftist (so-called patriotic school :Pui Kiu) or even Cheung Chi-kwong (present Exco.member and chairman of 'One Country,two systems' Centre or Lau Lai-keung ( a CPPCC member and former student union head of Hong Kong Univ.). Our beloved Mrs.Chan Fong On-san is one of the few retired senior civil servants who deserve our (except those extreme leftist/ 'patriotic' guys in town) respect and gratitude for her words made publicly concerning Hong Kong's well-being as a whole !
mercedes2233
A good speech.
ianson
see post below, the word "h e l l" is censored out. Fix this, SCMP. The word is not an expletive.

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