• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 4:24am

Basic Law

The Basic Law was drafted as part of the Sino-British Joint Declaration covering Hong Kong after its handover to China on July 1, 1997. The joint declaration stated that Hong Kong would be governed under the principle of ‘one country-two systems’ and would continue to enjoy its capitalist system and individual freedoms for 50 years after the handover.

NewsHong Kong

Civil nomination proposal violates Basic Law, says Zhang Xiaoming

Zhang Xiaoming tells Civic Party director that proposal would violate Basic Law

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 5:52am

The head of the central government's liaison office shot down a proposal to let all voters nominate chief executive candidates, saying it's against the Basic Law.

In a rare and high-profile gesture, the liaison office published a letter written by its director, Zhang Xiaoming, to the Civic Party, ruling out the idea of "civil nomination" - allowing contenders to run for the top post in Hong Kong if they obtain a certain proportion of voters' nominations.

The methods for universal suffrage for the chief executive … should not deviate from the legal requirements. As a legal practitioner [you] should understand the legal principles should not be trespassed

One academic said the letter, in which Zhang declined an invitation to attend a seminar on civil nomination, was a warm-up exercise in Beijing's propaganda war against the idea.

Zhang's letter to Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit was dated August 30, but the liaison office only uploaded the letter yesterday.

"The electoral method for the chief executive has to comply with the Basic Law," Zhang wrote. "Article 45 of the Basic Law states that nomination is by a broadly representative nominating committee … there is no other option. Civil nomination has neglected the requirements stated in the Basic Law."

At a lunch with lawmakers in the Legislative Council last month, Zhang hinted that candidates for chief executive in 2017 should be screened. But Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan revealed that Zhang said a pan-democrat proposal - making 80,000 voters' nominations a threshold for candidates - did not comply with the Basic Law.

Zhang told Leong in the letter: "The methods for universal suffrage for the chief executive … should not deviate from the legal requirements. As a legal practitioner [you] should understand the legal principles should not be trespassed."

When asked last night whether he felt pressured by Zhang's statement, constitutional affairs minister Raymond Tam Chi-yuen replied: "No, the administration does not feel pressured in any way because we work according to the law … and we are a facilitator between sectors."

Chinese University political scientist Ma Ngok said Zhang's gesture signalled a looming propaganda tussle over electoral reform. "By addressing the idea in such a high-profile manner, it is expected Beijing is going to stage a series of propaganda attacks on 'civil nomination' soon," he said.

In Beijing, Vice-President Li Yuanchao urged senior civil service delegates to give their "steadfast support" to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

"The civil service is a crucial force in implementing the 'one country, two systems' and … the Basic Law," Li told Secretary for Civil Service Paul Tang Kwok-wai, who led 11 permanent secretaries and bureau directors.



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Yep. Hong Kong is part of a communist country and it seems that HK people haven't quite got used to that idea yet. I'd expect some hybrid to produce the list of candidates, but at the end of the day if there's a candidate that won't work with the party or is anti-communist, sorry they aren't going to be allowed to run. It actually makes sense.
Have we Hongkongers missed out something on our CEO? Who care where this CEO come from or how he comes about, as long as he best qualifies for the job, just like in the corporate world, CEOs are sourced for their qualification and ability and they serve to make a profit for the company. Our CEO should be of high qualifications with proven record of abilities, upright, corruption free, respect Hong Kond (and China), brilliant, with vision for the future of Hong Kong and always have the best interest for Hong Kong.
Even if Civil nomination is not possible (it is a bit of a stretch to say it complies with the Basic Law), Beijing is going to have to accept a semi open ballot whether they want to or not. They have to allow moderate democrats to run, otherwise HK will be ungovernable. It's as simple as that, and Beijing knows it.
Once and for all, the people of HK should recognise that HK SAR is part of China. That's it !
It is those irresponsible "politician" who are giving false impression to the uneducated and mis-informed that HK can be totally autonomous in every aspect of its commercial, political, and legal activities.
Why haven't we heard about all that when the British was in power ? In fact, do you actually believe Patten was totally pro-democracy for HK ? If he is so pro-democracy, why did he not resign his governorship to stand by his belief ?
Did the British ever gave HK a choice of candidates to choose from ? At least the leaders in Beijing intends to give a choice. So, be happy and move on with improving the competitiveness and welfare of HK and stop disrupting traffic and wasting tax payers' money by staging unnecessary and self serving demonstrations !!
Lastly, there should be strict qualification requirement for candidates for LegCo, not only for CE. To ensure that those voted in, and drawing huge salaries. do at less have a working brain and knows how to respect the law and social harmony.
And the squeeze continues. In the end it will be Beijing that pulls the strings and will tell HK people who they are permitted to vote for. What other result could be permitted by the Communist Party which is fixated on maintaining complete control.
New colonial masters make new rules. Nothing to be surprised about.
yeah lets violate Zhang's ****.. :)
"Article 45
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.
The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Annex I: "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".
Annexe I "1. The Chief Executive shall be elected by a broadly representative Election Committee in accordance with this Law and appointed by the Central People's Government."
Amendment to Annexe I "1. The Election Committee to elect the fourth term Chief Executive
in 2012 shall be composed of 1200 members from the following sectors..."
This is a good example of the worst of SCMP reporting. Any 1/2 brain can tell that Beijing will not allow the people to choose their own candidates. But, SCMP creates this false debate where no debate exists. When a parent states to a child (HK), "No candy", it means no candy. Full Stop Done!!!. The parent is not setting up wave after wave of "propaganda attacks" for a looming debate against candy. Who the heck is this Ma Ngok guy anyway, and why does his silly opinions have anything over mine except mine is based on clarity of thought. Why doesn't SCMP go ask the opinion of the local cha shiu chef since he probably should have more cogent thoughts than this "political scientist".
Time to march



SCMP.com Account