• Wed
  • Sep 3, 2014
  • Updated: 4:50pm
NewsHong Kong

Beijing reluctant to give in to Hong Kong democrats over reform, says adviser

National leaders reluctant to yield to pan-democrats, says adviser to Beijing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 4:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 8:42am

Beijing did not want to make concessions to pan-democrats over political reform because it feared a split among its loyalists in the city could lead to defeat in the 2017 election for chief executive, an adviser to the central government said.

Professor Lau Siu-kai said he was pessimistic about the chances of a fully democratic election for chief executive in 2017 despite Beijing's promises.

Lau, a former head of the Hong Kong government's Central Policy Unit, advises Beijing as a vice-president of the new National Association of Study on Hong Kong and Macau.

"The central government is not prepared to accept a scenario which allows pan-democrats to rule Hong Kong," he said. "What is more worrying for Beijing is the internal strife within the pro-establishment camp."

Lau said the election of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in 2012 split the Beijing-loyalist camp. Leung has struggled to win support despite the central government's calls for unity.

"For Beijing, the No1 goal is to strengthen the pro-establishment camp," Lau said, adding that the rift between Beijing and pan-democrats was growing. "Beijing is toughening its stance and both sides are poised for confrontation."

Political reform in Hong Kong will require Beijing's approval and a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council. That means some pan-democratic lawmakers must be won over.

Lau warned of a prolonged struggle with little hope of consensus. The government began a five-month consultation on reform in December.

Professor Jiang Shigong , deputy director of Peking University's Centre for Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said he believed winning over moderates was Beijing's goal.

"Beijing's top priority is to prevent people who confront it from being elected chief executive," he said.

Additional reporting by Zhang Hong in Beijing



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the sun also rises
the main concern or worry of Beijing authorities regard to Hong Kong is the split in the pro-establishment camp and never the yearning of a geniune universal suffrage in 2017 as advocated by pan-democarts in town. So the planned non-violent civil-disobedience campaign,'Occupy Central' will definitely be staged in January 2015. Just wait and see.
Front page headline: "Beijing reluctant to give in to Hong Kong democrats over reform"
Gee, who da thunk it?
Thanks to Mr Lau for his honesty. Beijing will get its puppet in place as there are so many shoe-shiners to choose from. However, HK will be ungovernable - we're in for a really rocky ride and the outcome is looking grimmer by the day.
Well, if Beijing wants a sure win, then just throw away the One-Country-Two-System and let Hong Kong follow the mainland system and have all officials being Communist Party member - end of story, no need to pretend.
So Beijing fears that a split in the loyalists camp could spell defeat for the person they want to be appointed as the CE in 2017. OK, how about 2022, 2027 and so on. The fears will only grow as people grow increasingly disgruntled against the lack of universal suffrage. I understand Beijing's concerns in not letting a perceived troublemaker who has popularity on his/her side being appointed as CE. However, we must try to edge closer to universal suffrage and Beijing needs to show that it will honour its pledge towards HK. By the looks of it, even after 50 years from the handover we are nowhere closer to a more democratic means to select our CE.
The CCP leadership have to get it into their thick skulls that Hong Kong's democrats are no enemy of China. Antagonistic to the CCP they may be but given their (the democrats) rightful place in government, the CCP would quickly see how keen they are to promote Hong Kong interests and that those interests are served best by cooperation with the mainland. Ideological or political dichotomy does not prevent many such autonomous states getting along amicably.
"Lau warned of a prolonged struggle with little hope of consensus."
Well, how can consensus be achieved when the CCP takes a hard-line, uncompromising, take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards a modern and sophisticated community that just wants to elect its own mayor?
It's consensus on their terms or not at all. I don't think that's going to work.
Beijing has already confirmed Taiwan's suspicions that any unification would never allow true autonomy in anything. I am surprised they did this so swiftly. I guess they are going to focus on military takeover instead. That said, rigging the HK election will prove a very unwise decision for Beijing as HK'ers are likely to revolt against it in many ways. In Colonial Hong Kong, Britain was the benevolent dictator, but in the era of a Hong Kong where the CCP dominates everything across the boarder and continues to directly influence HK politics, democratic elections are seen as the only way for Hong Kong to protect itself from the Party, who clearly uses Hong Kong for its advantage, to raise capital, to delay reforms, etc....but does not take the local people's interests into account. This is going to be a real mess.
"The central government is not prepared to accept a scenario which allows pan-democrats to rule Hong Kong,"

In that case the central government better be prepared for a totally ungovernable Hong Kong with a HK government that will be viewed as illegitimate by Hong Kongers. Any political reform package that has a rigged nomination procedure that screens out democrats, will be vetoed by the Legco. It's as simple as that.

The status quo is going to make people furious. Allow all directly elected lawmakers and district councilors into the NC.


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