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Hong Kong's top job: campaigners for democracy in China need not apply

Occupy Central movement organiser tells would-be chief executive candidates to give up fight for democracy in mainland first

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 4:29am
 

Members of a Hong Kong group calling for democracy on the mainland should refrain from standing for chief executive in 2017, said an academic behind the Occupy Central protest plan which is demanding true universal suffrage for the election.

Dr Chan Kin-man, an associate professor of sociology at the Chinese University, said potential candidates should stick to local politics to ease Beijing's suspicions and to have any hope of being elected.

Chan said: "Core members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China should refrain from standing in the chief executive election when universal suffrage was introduced."

Core members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China should refrain from standing in the chief executive election when universal suffrage was introduced
Dr Chan Kin-man

He added that Hongkongers would be unwilling to vote members of the alliance - which seeks the end of one-party rule on the mainland - into the city's top job.

His comments follow the furore over a mainland official's suggestion last month that the 2017 candidates should be screened. Qiao Xiaoyang , chairman of the National People's Congress Law Committee, said those "who confront the central government" would be ineligible to be chief executive.

It prompted debate over whether universal suffrage under the Basic Law means freedom for everyone to stand for election as well as to vote.

Chan, who recently joined forces with University of Hong Kong law professor Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting in organising the Occupy Central movement, also said the central government should not judge a potential chief executive by their past record on mainland issues.

A person close to the administration agreed would-be pan-democratic candidates should confine themselves to Hong Kong politics in an attempt to win trust from the central government.

The Democratic Party has said that during discussions with Beijing on political reform in 2010, it rejected a call from Li Gang, then deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, to distance itself from the alliance.

Lawmaker and former Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan is a member of the alliance's standing committee - and stood in last year's chief executive election. He agreed that Hong Kong people wanted a leader who could maintain a good working relationship with the mainland.

"The chief executive should concentrate on local affairs although he can have his own views on mainland affairs," he said.

"Hong Kong people do not expect their chief executive to protest before state leaders during ceremonies in Beijing," he said.

Asked if he would resign from the alliance's standing committee if he contested the chief executive election again, Ho said it was a hypothetical question.

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