• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:22am
Universal Suffrage
NewsHong Kong

Pan-democrats' reform demands may have pushed Beijing into taking tougher stance

Pan-democrats' demands may have forced central government into adopting an uncompromising position, lawmaker says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 4:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 7:17am


  • Yes: 55%
  • No: 45%
27 Jan 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 237

The pan-democratic camp's demands have provoked Beijing into taking a stubborn stance on political reform, a Civic Party lawmaker says.

Ronny Tong Ka-wah now fears Beijing's hardened approach may mean no consensus will be reached on how to implement universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election.

Any reform proposal will have to win the approval of at least some pan-democratic lawmakers, as well as Beijing.

Tong said his own roadmap for the election - which offered concessions to both pan-democrats and Beijing - received a lukewarm response from the central government despite its positive reception from Beijing loyalists in the city.

"I have heard nothing from [the Beijing officials] on the proposal … They appeared more positive towards it at the beginning," he said.

The barrister and lawmaker's plan, put forth in October, focused on making the nominating committee that will select candidates for chief executive more representative and ignored calls to allow all voters to nominate candidates - an idea Beijing says is against the Basic Law.

Tong said he feared pan-democrats and the central government would never find consensus as Beijing had adopted a sterner stance in recent months. "From the remarks made by Beijing loyalists of late, you can feel that the central government has taken a harder stance," he said.

On a recent visit to Hong Kong, Tsinghua University law dean Professor Wang Zhenmin said the business community should continue to have a say in the nominating committee. Basic Law Committee vice-chairwoman Elsie Leung Oi-sie also recently proposed using block voting to nominate candidates, which would hit the hopes of pan-democrats given the likely Beijing-loyalist majority on the committee.

Both remarks were viewed as hints at a hardening of Beijing's tone, which Tong said was related to the city's pan-democrats' equally uncompromising stance.

"Pan-democrats still have no intention … to negotiate with Beijing or forge consensus with the pro-establishment camp here," Tong said. "If they are bidding higher and higher [on reform], of course Beijing would take a sterner stance."

Tong was referring to pan-democrats who insist public nomination must be included in any reform package.

Beijing-loyalist lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin, of the Federation of Trade Unions, also called on pan-democrats to scale back their ambitions.

"They should get rid of the ideas not [in accordance with] the Basic Law - like public nomination - and focus on studying how to increase the franchise of the nominating committee," he said. "If they insist on going on a different way … the biggest loser would be all Hongkongers."


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This article is now closed to comments

Ronny Tong Ka Wah's proposal is by no means a universal suffrage. It amounts to a betrayal of Hong Kong's interest. Who cares if Bejing is not happy ? Ronny is elected by Hong Kong people and not appointed by Beijing. If he cares so much about Beijing's approval, quit LegCo and be a member of the NCP.....
The HK democrats of today are a far cry from what they were pre 1997. The CE Nominating Committee needs, according to the Basic Law, to be "broadly representative". Fine. Press for the appointment of all ELECTED LegCo & DC members and village representatives and get out and vote in those elections and hope that the remainder of the NC is not too stuffed with kautaoing shoe shiners.
@Blue Don't try to lie about USA's US president. There is no such thing as special Election Committee in the USA. First of all, the nomination process is equal and open to all, secondly everyone got the chance to vote. Ronny Tong's proposal only allow the elite to nominate for CE.
No rebuttal yellow_lynx_cat?
There is a special Election Committee in the USA. What do you think the Electoral College is?


Also I never said nobody has a chance to vote for the Elector in the Electoral College. I made it explicitly clear that Americans vote for the Elector and the Elector votes for the President via the Electoral College AKA the Election Committee.

In the 2000 US Presidential election Bush won a total of 271 electoral votes, while Gore had won 266 votes. 270 votes are needed to win the US Presidential election.

Bush had 50,456,002 people vote for him in the popular vote (47.9%), while Gore had 50,999,897 people vote for him in the popular vote (48.4%). Gore had the clear majority vote for him, but since it's actually the Electoral College who votes for the US President, he ended up losing.

No US president who has been successfully elected was nominated via public nomination. You do not need public nomination to have legitimate universal suffrage. You only need a transparent mechanism that does not screen out candidates due to political affiliation.

Don't accuse me of lying when you are clearly ignorant of how elections work in other countries.

As long as directly elected legislative council lawmakers and directly elected district councilors can all be accepted into the nomination committee, then the NC actually will be quite representative and will meet international standards.
Here's a good reading on how the US president is elected. Most of the dogmatic pan-dems probably would not approve of this electoral arrangement since it undermines the will of the people by design. Yet it meets international standards!


Also note the following:

"electors can thwart the popular will and vote for a candidate not supported by the voters of their state. In practice, however, electors are pledged to cast their votes in accordance with the popular vote, and "faithless electors" who go against the popular vote are extremely rare. Had there been a faithless elector in 2000, however, Al Gore might have become president!"

We need more pragmatic people like Ronny Tong and Jasper Tsang if we have any hope of having universal suffrage in 2017. The pan-dems that mindlessly chant "public nomination" and offer no compromise will doom us to having to deal with the status quo in 2017.
"Who cares if Bejing is not happy ?". Well according to the Basic Law and political reality is that the proposal must be ultimately approved by the NPC. Politics has always been an art of compromise and Ronny understands that. It is time for other pan-democrats to face the reality.
I disagree. Ronny Tong's proposal was pragmatic and fulfilled the international requirements for universal suffrage. In the USA the public doesn't even directly elect the US president. The public instead elects "electors" who then elect the US president in a special Election Committee. Despite that, the US method of universal suffrage meets international standards, even though in 2000 US President George W Bush was elected in office while losing the popular vote; he still had enough electoral votes through the Election Committee to win. The American people still considered this a legitimate election, and thus George W Bush was re-elected in 2004. This time around, Bush won both the popular vote and enough Election Committee votes.

Don't be so narrow minded. This type of thinking will guarantee that instead of having some form of universal suffrage, we will be left with the status quo instead.

As long as pan dems and nationalists both can be successfully nominated and then run for CE in 2017, then it will meet international standards for universal suffrage. Ronny Tong's proposal certainly offered that. Ronny doesn't want fellow democrats to be screened out, and neither do I. It would be a total farce.


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