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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:38am
NewsHong Kong

Beijing liaison chief hints at screening of CE candidates

Beijing liaison chief tells lawmakers that universal suffrage in 2017 could also see mechanism to 'sieve' hopefuls to protect national sovereignty

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 3:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:16pm


  • Yes: 64%
  • No: 36%
17 Jul 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 292

Beijing's top man in Hong Kong has dropped the clearest hint yet that a screening mechanism could play a role in selecting future chief executives.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, also said that national sovereignty and security must be protected as the city achieves universal suffrage by 2017.

It is by no means an unreasonable demand that national sovereignty, national safety and the rights of the central government must be well protected
Zhang Xiaoming

During a lunch with 50 lawmakers on his unprecedented visit to the Legislative Council, described by one as "cordial on the surface", Zhang delivered strong messages in a friendly and sometimes jocular tone. But outside the building later he took a tougher line, slamming the Occupy Central civil disobedience campaign, which he said would be a disaster with "lasting consequences" for Hong Kong.

He told lawmakers: "There is no doubt of the central government's position - and sincerity - to support Hong Kong achieving universal suffrage.

"[But] the methods must follow the actual situation of Hong Kong, which means it is not a country. It is by no means an unreasonable demand that national sovereignty, national safety and the rights of the central government must be well protected."

Radical lawmakers were on their best behaviour - there were no objects thrown or slogans chanted. "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung gave Zhang a book on the Communist Party's pledge for democracy during its struggle against the Kuomintang in the 1940s, while People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen offered another book entitled Don't Want to be a Chinese in My Next Life.

The three then left the dining hall after presenting their gifts.

Zhang used another gift - a sieve given by lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee - as a metaphor to illustrate the advantages of a screening process. "What is the sin of a sieve?" he asked. "It was our ancestors' wisdom that invented the sieve. Otherwise how can we sift fine grains from coarse grains? We cannot simply deny that a sieve has its function."

Video: Beijing envoy, Hong Kong lawmakers in landmark talks

Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said the meeting was "cordial on the surface" but there was "a lot of tough talk" on universal suffrage. "The hint of a screening process also touches a nerve as it gives a very bad message that universal suffrage in 2017 will not be a genuine one that reflects the people's will," Lee said.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit believed Zhang was not serious with his metaphor.

"The most effective sieve would be one that let millions of voters sift the candidates that they do not prefer," he said.

Beijing-loyalist Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, played down the metaphor. "I do not think it has anything to do with electoral reform," he said.

Nineteen of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers attended, while Zhang brought 11 colleagues from the liaison office.




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This article is now closed to comments

Carmeledwin is right. Everyone talks about the UN Declaration of Human Rights as if it is higher than the laws of a sovereign land. It isn't. The US has more reservations placed on the UN Declaration of Human Rights than HK does.

However on the other hand, the screening mechanism for CE candidates can't be more stringent than the version used in 2012.

So yes Alert Ho really would need to be allowed to stand for election, otherwise there is no legitimacy. I don't think Alert Ho would win any CE election anyway. Even if he did, he would be a one term CE who wouldn't be able to do much damage. More than likely, he'll get nothing done and would get voted out next term.

Let's just hope Beijing is pragmatic enough to allow the 2012 nomination procedures to be used for the 2017 election. It is the only way this can obtain two-thirds majority vote in the Legco. Any other option is not workable as the 2012 nomination procedures are already a huge compromise to the Pro Beijing camp since only certain people are allowed to nominate candidates.
Nothing like a good dose of sincerity, is there?
hard times !
anyway,it was a good start for the head of the Liaison Offcie,Mr.Zhang Xiao-ming to have a lunch gathering ( at the same table) with some pan-democrats.It might be called an ice-breaking trip too.More gatherings of different types and further contacts can be useful in eliminating any misunderstanding or distrust among them.Regrettably, only 19 pan-democratic lawmakers were present.Raymond Wong Yuk-man was absent. And both Chan Wai-yip and Leung Kwok-hung left after presenting their 'gifts' to a grinning local head cadre of the Chinese Communist Party who is open-minded and friendly as he could be----unlike his predecessors of course !
Dai Muff
Ah, I love the sounds of 50 cents pieces falling in the morning.
Do you think that Beijing will give appointment to someone they are not in approval of? Will they approve say, for example, Albert Ho? I think we must not be naive, this is part of China, we are not a separate or sovereign country. Besides it is not just UN Declaration of Human Rights Article 21. We have the Basic Law, which is the constitution of Hong Kong. The constitution of a place is not below the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The Laws of any place comes before any UN Declaration.
Albert Ho stood for election, both the official and the unofficial (presumably universal) ones, and lost both, while CY won both, and the pan-democrats still insist the CE has no legitimacy since he is not chosen by universal suffrage. The fact of the matter is these pan-democrats are just hungry for power, and that most HK voters don't really care who the CE is as long as he is willing and capable to address the basic livelihood issues facing the grass roots.
How can the servants think they will be allowed to choose the master. Choosing the leader is not the province of the governed. It is the province of those who rule in China by divine right, based on the mandate of heaven. It is the job of princelings and princess-lings to assure that the mandate is upheld because their daddies were Mao's buddies and sycophants. What foolishness that the people should be able to choose their own leaders. They should choose who the masters tell them to choose. Anything else would be counter-revolutionary. The revolution was about supplanting democratic musings with the solid and unassailable wisdom of the Party. To allow choice contrary to the Party would be absurd.
It is part of China but China agreed HK would have certain rights not theretofore granted to Chinese citizens (or HK people when the Brits were here). China agreed to those limitations in order to get what it wanted: HK Island and Kowloon, and the Brits out of HK. The ulterior political motives are coming from Beijing as it seeks, day in and day out, to avoid the promises it made without looking too blatant about it, as this is all theatre for how they are going to handle any proposed joinder with Taiwan, with which they are obsessed. And guess what, HK people, if you don't make a stand now they will just keep negating the theoretical benefits granted to you. Don't say you were not warned.
Dai Muff
You seem to have a spelling problem there mate, rather like those Republican that have such a problem with the five-letter "Obama".
What are you voting for if the candiates are screened at all? What if only two members of the DAB were fit enough to run for office...what would you achive by voting?
They do this with the fake elections at the village level in China. They pick two candiates from the Party and then let the peasants vote for them..in the end, to nobody's surprise, the leader is loyal to the Party and not the people. Perhaps this is what HK people have yet to understand.



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