• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
NewsHong Kong

Group to decide Hong Kong chief executive candidates not set: justice chief

Rimsky Yuen says composition of committee deciding who runs in the 2017 election flexible

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 December, 2013, 9:34am

The door was open to change the composition of the committee that will decide who runs in the 2017 chief executive election despite the views of a top Beijing official, justice chief Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said yesterday.

Yuen, who serves on the taskforce leading a five-month consultation on electoral reform, made the comment when asked whether the new nominating committee would have to be split between the same four sectors that made up the election committee in previous polls.

Yuen was asked about remarks by Qiao Xiaoyang , deputy secretary of the National People's Congress' Standing Committee, who said in 2007 that the nominating committee would be formed "with reference to" the make-up of the election committee. The election committee has long been criticised as a "small circle" dominated by the city's elite.

Qiao's remarks, which used a mainland legal term, were referenced in a footnote in the government consultation paper published on Wednesday.

"Qiao's remarks were his interpretation of the Basic Law under the Chinese legal system," Yuen said in a Commercial Radio interview, though he admitted Qiao's use of legal terminology made it "binding to some extent".

Yuen and his fellow members of the taskforce, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, made a series of radio appearances to promote the consultation yesterday. On RTHK, Lam urged people not to be discouraged about giving their views on comments by mainland officials that were included in the consultation paper.

Dismissing suggestions that the consultation document had put too much focus on the likes of Li Fei, chairman of Beijing's Basic Law Committee, Lam said: "We have left much room for discussion in many areas."

And Lam said that requiring the chief executive to be a patriot did not mean that the person elected had to love the Communist Party.

Meanwhile, the government came under fire from an academic for not addressing in the consultation paper whether there would be a process to "screen" out candidates unacceptable to Beijing.

"Hongkongers expect to pick their next leader by one man, one vote - they hope there will be candidates with different political orientations, and that there will be no 'screening'," Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun, dean of law at the University of Hong Kong, said. "Officials completely and deliberately avoided" that issue.



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This article is now closed to comments

This stuff from the Beijing types reminds me of Henry Ford's decree about Model T's: you can have any colour you want, as long as it is black. Sure, there's open consultation, and supposedly all options are on the table...except there isn't, and they aren't. Politician double-speak (if not outright lying) at its very best.
Dai Muff
Exactly. There is NOTHING in the Basic Law to say the nominating committee may not be freely chosen by the Hong Kong people. So they will have to invent something.
On another note,

As some commentators have noted, the nominating committee could be expanded to include all the voters of Hong Kong. Alternatively, it could be amended such that all the members of the nominating committee would be returned by direct election via one person, one vote by all the voters of Hong Kong.

Both of these methods would be well within the Basic Law. Problem solved.
Remitting Prosperity
Naturally the people of Hong Kong will not be allowed to choose their own leaders as they might have the bad manners to vote for the wrong person.
One idea might be that a newspaper, the SCMP for instance, could conduct an opinion poll on the amount of support for the official candidate and anyone candidate forbidden to stand. If the forbidden candidate got much more support, then it would be obvious that the election of the official candidate would be invalid in the eyes of the people of Hong Kong. Just a thought...
hard times !
Though our Chief Secretary, Carrie Lam Cheng said that all views expressed upon the just-released 'Electoral Reform Consultation Papers' should be within the constitutional network of the Basic Law,yet I doubt why she just emphasized Article 45 of the Basic Law but deliberately ignored Article 26 of Basic Law which stipulates that all permanent residents of the HKSAR should enjoy the rights to be voted and vote.Now it appears that only the right to vote will be offered/granted to all qualified voters in town in the election of our chief executive in 2017.How about our right to nominate candidates ? According to the UN's International Covenant on rights and civil rights, in a universal suffrage,the citizens should have the right to vote, to be voted and nominate candidates as well.
Dai Muff
"Public voices will be heard ..." but ignored.
And who is to interpret what is or is not in accordance with the Basic Law? Hong Kong's courts are supposed to do that, not CCP apparatchiks, but that's what will happen if the result is not to the CCP's liking.
Beijing is obsessed with maintaining tight political control, but the worse the HK administration gets and the tighter Beijing squeezes, the greater the risk of economic panic and the whole thing unravels. They have never learned the art of governing with a light hand.
sudo rm -f cy
Once again, two words: Article 159. The Basic Law is not written in stone and can be changed to suit the needs of the people of Hong Kong.
sudo rm -f cy
It is worth remembering that *any* change will require amending the Basic Law, namely Annex II which currently sets the method of election for the CE. We might as well consider whether Articles 45 and 68 should be amended as well.
I take great issue with the term "governance". The whole idea reeks of a condescending attitude. A much better term, and corresponding attitude, is "leadership". Of course, leadership is entirely different from governance. It necessarily means that there is a choice in who will lead. There isn't much choice about who will govern.

Perhaps that's why the powers that be favor terms like good "good governance".



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