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Focus on the 2017 nomination committee, academic Benny Tai says

Benny Tai says it is more important to discuss nominating committee's formation than how candidates for chief executive will be picked

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 6:02am

The academic behind a plan to block traffic in Central in the fight for democracy is seeking to move the debate on universal suffrage beyond the issue of screening candidates.

The city should focus on discussing how to form the nominating committee in the 2017 popular vote for chief executive, instead of speculating on whether pro-democracy candidates would be screened out, Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting said.

"Very often, the [debate] on screening has focused on democratic procedures rather than the nomination committee," the University of Hong Kong associate law professor said on Commercial Radio yesterday.

"But if the formation of the committee meets [international] standards of being universal and equal, the nomination process [and democratic procedures] will be comparatively much less contentious. So I believe our focus should be on the nomination committee."

The city has yet to have such a committee. In last year's race won by Leung Chun-ying, 1,193 members of the Election Committee nominated and elected their pick for chief executive.

Tai suggested the nominating panel be returned by a popular vote, instead of being formed in the same way as the Election Committee, which is made up mainly of Beijing loyalists with a mandate of 249,499 voters.

Last month, Qiao Xiaoyang, chairman of the National People's Congress Law Committee, suggested that the next chief executive must not be a person who would oppose the central government. He cited article 45 of the Basic Law, which calls for a "broadly representative" nomination committee to put up chief executive candidates for universal suffrage "according to democratic procedures".

His comments sparked fears of a mechanism that would bar pan-democrats from the poll.

During the ensuing debate, Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming proposed admitting at least five people to the 2017 race, with at least one pan-democrat among them. He retracted the idea after it drew a frosty response from other pan-democrats, who said the proposal implied the use of a screening mechanism to accept nominations.

Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, an executive councillor and a local deputy to the NPC, said it was good for Tai to raise other issues for discussion because Beijing had "never suggested" there would be a screening or primary.

Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy - a coalition of all 27 pan-democratic lawmakers - said it was important to discuss the chief executive election as a whole, because the different parts were "closely linked".

Tai is spearheading the Occupy Central movement, which seeks to mobilise at least 10,000 people to block traffic in a "non-violent" way in Central in July next year if the government does not deliver an acceptable proposal for the city's chief executive vote in 2017.


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Occupy Central symbolizes group of people unlawfully occupy a place not belonging to anyone of them. They shamefully help themselves to convert the place into their sitting rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and even toilets for unacceptable period of time. It is extremely sad & disappointed to see an apparently prestigious associate professor and a pastor adopt this kind of 'low & no' strategy to achieve their high and hard-sell goal. I respect them as fellow hk PRs. Hence I'm afraid they will become an object of ridicule when the wicked and ugly things happen again. Will you guys also respect the majority HK PRs who prefer to have a smooth and progressive transition as we ernestly wish to achieve our common goal of universal suffrageas without shedding blood and tears. To that pastor, be a real peacemaker and be mindful of who is God, YOU!? Who will be the winner at the end?
hard times !
the movement,'Occupy Central' is the last resort to launch as a form of civil disobedience only. When we Hongkonges (at least most of us) are not allowed or granted our promised universal suffrage (a geniune one of course) which we can vote for our chief executive through 'one man,one vote'----according to the standard of the United Nations which International Convenant on Civil & Political Rights article 25(b) stipulates that in a universal suffrage, voters have the right to vote and to be voted.There is no so-called a screening mechanism nor a primary poll to filter those unwelcomed elements in town and there are no such words in our Basic Law: the chief executive should be one 'loving his country (or the Party ?) and Hong Kong plus 'not confrontational towards the Central authorities'---demanding an end to the one-party rule on Mainland mabye. Right ?
hard times !
agree with our respectable scholar, Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting who suggested we Hongkongese should shift our focus towards the formation of the upcoming Nominationg Committee which carries the duty of choosing our chief executive in 2017 for us ! Well done,professor Tai !
In most respected democracies, there is no such nominating committee, unless its within the Party where the potential candiate has memebership. Hong Kong should allow candidates who arer able to collect a certain amount of signatures of registered voters to be allowed to be on the ballot.
It is naive to think that the formation of the nomination committee would be any less controlled than the existing political system. Moreover, irrespective of the nomination committee's structure the patriot requirement still stands - as does the requirement that pro-establishment business interests get disproportionate representation, i.e., functional constituencies. Ji Pengfei's remarks regarding faciliating the "capitalist economy" are relevant here and have been invoked in the last 15 1/2 years by Chinese and HKSAR officials nearly as much as the patriot requirement.
Any liberalization of the nomination process would likely also have the effect of dispersing what little power the pan-dems have - as occurred with the 2010 reforms which weakened their 'veto' option. This approach also ignores the ability of the establishment to split the pan-democratic camp and the camp's own internal volatility (and fragmentation tendencies.) Of course, if one wants only to run as a token candidate - as occurred in the last CE election - than focusing just on the nomination committee/process and ignoring the ultimate question of who can be CE is probably very achievable.
It seems similarly naive to think that signing a piece of paper has any relevance to the police, the judiciary, or reality. If the police define what 'violence' or compliance is, then protesters lose no question. Ask the radicals. This is the "real world."
hard times !
Martin Lee's proposal implies the acceptance of a screening mechanism and even beautifies the ugly scheme---a primary poll to get rid of all unwelcomed candidates through the so-called Nominatiing Committee whose members are probably more or less the same as the past Election Committee members who are comprised of mostly pro-establishment, pro-Beijing elements.
The above commenter is actually pflim040
hard times !
you better presume every new username posted here in the Comment column is from the righteous and outspoken guy named : pflim040. Okay ?
hard times !
if the government does not deliver an acceptable proposal for the city's chief executive vote in 2017, then Professor Tai's 'Occupy Central 'movement, which seeks to mobilise at least 10,000 people to block traffic in a 'non-violent' way in Central in July next year will put into force. So I think the Commissioner for police,Tsang Wai-hung needs not to be so worried or nervous as to warn the potential participants or organisers of the Movement that at lease the minimum force (the spray of pepper) will be used to drive away the gathering crowds since the Movement is actually the last resort in our demand for a geniune universal suffrage ! Right ?
hard times !
of course we hongkongese with sense should, as professor Tai suggests, focus on the formation of the Nominatiing Committee (which is to replace the Election Committee) to choose our candidates to compete for the top post in 2017.As stipulated in our Basic Law, the Nominating Committee members should be broadly representative-----the ideal way is to have them all chosen/elected through a 'one man,one vote' voting scheme by all qualified voters in this city.If so, it can be said to represent the interests and rights of most Hongkongese. Right ?
The above commenter is actually pflim040
hard times !
can this bluechinagroup write on something more constructive ? I wonder.
hard times !
definitely the so-called,' bluechinagroup' (not 'redchinagroup' instead ?) and 'whymak' are both members of a team sent here to monitor the postings of views on local media (especially on the internet) and have them beaten by every means, either legal or illegal ! Shame on you----nasty guys !
The answer is to give each Legco member democratically elected in 2016 (i.e. if there are still functional constituencies, they are excluded from this) the right to appoint a number, say 5, of NC members, so that the NC complies with the Basic Law ("broadly representative" according to "democratic principles") and then goes on and chooses the CE candidates (say 5 to 10), and anyone who would be eligible to stand for Legco would have the right to stand for selection by the NC (i.e. no Beijing-favoured preconditions). The True Democracy Tai-Cheng idea of electing the NC directly doesn't really make sense because (1) we already have a ready-made elected body in the democratic seats in Legco which we can use and (2) their system means three elections (1 for Legco, 2 for the CE) which is too arduous for the electorate.


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