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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 2:47pm

Chinese parliamentary sessions 2014

The annual Chinese "lianghui" of 2014, or plenary meetings of China's top legislative and consultative bodies, the National People's Congress and the National People's Consultative Conference, will take place in Beijing in early to mid-March. The NPC sessions are scheduled to begin on March 5, and the CPPCC meetings to commence on March 3. 

NewsHong Kong

Zhang Dejiang rules out public nomination for 2017 chief executive poll

Premier Li Keqiang backs Zhang, saying Beijing will 'unswervingly' implement 'one country, two systems' principle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 11:59am

The mainland official in charge of Hong Kong affairs yesterday laid down the rules on the city's push to directly elect its political leader, effectively dismissing the possibility of allowing voters to put forward candidates.

Zhang Dejiang, head of the Communist Party's leading group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, spelt out conditions for the city's political reform to about 200 Hong Kong delegates to the annual conference in Beijing of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

It means that public or political party nomination will not be allowed

Zhang told the delegates Hong Kong must "uphold the principle of 'one country' while respecting the differences between the 'two systems'," Xinhua quoted him as saying at the two-hour closed-door meeting.

His comments were backed Wednesday by Premier Li Keqiang, who pledged that Beijing would "unswervingly" implement the principles of 'one country, two systems', and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau.

Speaking at the opening of the national legislature’s yearly session this morning Li also promised to "support the chief executives and governments of the two regions in governing in accordance with the law, developing the economy, improving people’s wellbeing, advancing democracy in accordance with the law and maintaining social harmony.

"We will further increase co-operation between the mainland and the two regions and help them become more competitive," he added. "As China continues to comprehensively deepen reform and modernise, Hong Kong and Macau stand to benefit greatly."

Zhang yesterday said Hong Kong's push for democracy must be gradual and orderly. Without directly referring to the idea of public nomination - allowing voters to put forward candidates - Zhang said the reform must be done in accordance with the constitution and the Basic Law.

This was a coded way of saying all candidates must be put forward by a nominating committee - a body whose members will mostly be Beijing loyalists.

While the same message had previously been delivered by other mainland officials, Zhang represents the highest authority on Hong Kong affairs. He is also chairman of the National People's Congress.

James Tien Pei-chun, one of the CPPCC delegates, said Zhang's remarks had effectively killed off the idea of public nomination. "His message was that we must follow the Basic Law when making electoral changes.

"There can be no other interpretation of the article [in the Basic Law]. It means that public or political party nomination will not be allowed," he said.

Tien was referring to Article 45 of the Basic Law, which states that the chief executive shall be elected through universal suffrage "upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures". But Henry Tang Ying-yen, a CPPCC Standing Committee member and former chief secretary, said Zhang "only reiterated principles". Tang said: "There was no mention of public nomination. His emphasis was on the principles of following the Basic Law [in the nominating process].

"He has stressed repeatedly that Beijing remains firmly in support of Hong Kong's [goal] to achieve universal suffrage in the next chief executive election.

"And the election must follow three principles - the foundation of the Basic Law, the decision of the NPC Standing Committee and [the need to elect] a patriot."

In 2007, the NPC Standing Committee ruled that Hong Kong could implement universal suffrage in 2017.

Zhang did not address the issue of Occupy Central - a pan-democratic movement that is urging Hongkongers to block the financial district if Beijing refuses to allow the city to have "genuine" democracy.

But in another closed-door meeting among CPPCC delegates yesterday, Yin Xiaojing, a deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, told delegates she "does not want to see the Occupy Central protest taking place".



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This article is now closed to comments

2047 has arrived!
I always knew that in the end, it's one single city vs. a massive communist-in-name dictatorship. The fight shall be futile, but it doesn't mean we shall make it easy for them.
Hong Kong will continue to resist to preserve the last bits of freedom in a country with none. If not its government, then most of the people who have called it their home for so many years. Even if it ends with oblivion, they will keep trying.
"Article 45 Basic Law "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.[1]"
“ "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.[1]"
Annex I
Method for Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR
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.
#2. The Election Committee shall be composed of 800 members from the following sectors:
Industrial, commercial and financial sectors 200
The professions 200
Labour, social services, religious and other sectors 200
Members of the Legislative Council, representatives of
district-based organizations, Hong Kong deputies to
the National People's Congress, and representatives
of Hong Kong members of the National Committee
of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference 200".
So much for universal suffrage and nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee
according to democratic procedures.
A Hong Konger
We desire the right of every free people: to choose our own destiny. Beijing has always struggled to control it's empire-state, if it cannot call HK to heal willingly and fail where Britain succeeded, it's legitimacy will be seriously undermined. Both sides see their position vis-a-vis the other as mutually exclusive.
Forever we will wish to be free and forever Beijing will deny us. This is the basic structure. Talk of political or economic convergence is pointless, as is which interpretation of the Basic Law is best, these are structural issues also, but they rest on the larger structure.
Like most structures power is the basis. We have some, 7 million educated and affluent people that are the largest investors in China, the impact we could have is immense. But we do not pose an existential threat like China does to us.
China's rational response is to annihilate us slowly through migration while neutering us by challenging our competitiveness and patiently waiting for memories of good times and dissenting voices to die of old age, hoping we won't notice. Like Xinjiang and Tibet.
The debate shouldn't quibble over the Basic Law, that dead end has already been decided, the debate should be how can HK unify so as to leverage our declining power to make it in China's best interest to leave us be? To be a strong state within a state rather than a fading colony. Unless the structure changes radically, the alternative is to accept a slow death or fight for independence.
A Hong Konger
mdap: It is unmitigated arrogance and blindness to even suggest HK needs to 'mature' and show 'itself capable of making decisions'. In this regards we are light years ahead of the CCP's ability to do so as evidenced by the mismanagement and turmoil we see in HK today. It is utter rubbish to say we are just another city in China, we ARE a special case ('Special' is in the name of the HKSAR for pity's sake!). In truth we are a Chinese colony and it was foolish of the architects of this system to believe that this would be acceptable to us at this stage of our development, most of the world are former colonies and have freed themselves from the oppression of their colonial masters whether or not they "adhered to every word of" their colonial play book, which is what the Basic Law is, and China's interpretation of it has brought only instability.
As for your assertion " Would London... allow a radical separatist be elected to run a second tier major city in England...?" Of course they would. It's a free country. Furthermore you must live in a cave if you haven't heard of the SNP and Alex Salmond, or the Scottish independence referendum. Not England proper, but certainly no less significant. Your assertions are factually wrong and, more to the point, Beijing's arrogant denial of our self determination (the right of every free people) is the root cause of our problems and fuels separatist sentiment which wouldn't really exist had we had genuine democracy in the first place.
So there it is. Let no one pretend this is democracy. This is not universal suffrage, this is a sham.
Makes perfect sense - Hong Kong is a city within China, nothing more. Would London or Washington allow a radical separatist be elected to run a second tier major city in England or the USA - no! Hong Kong needs to stop thinking it is a special case, it is not. Hong Kong works only because of China, this was true during colonial rule and is especially true now. Beijing has adhered to every word of the Basic Law, it continues to do so. Upholding one country is important as it brings continued stability for Hong Kong. In the future, if, and it is a big if, Hong Kong ever has a freely elected leader, it will be when Hong Kong matures and shows itself capable of making decisions based on the future of Hong Kong's place within China, rather than the ridiculous vanity led politicians who serve only themselves and some deluded members of the public who think Hong Kong can survive without China ...
Democracies allow anyone to stand for election. Would the UK allow a radical separatist to stand for election? Yes. There are Scottish, Irish and Welsh nationalist MPs at Westminster, and the Scottish Nationalist government in Scotland is holding a referendum on independence later this year.
Surprise, surprise. The Beijing dictatorship doesn't think Hong Kong is fit for democracy. This is a reason why Hong Kong people should not look to countries like the Philippines with disdain. Despite its problems, the Philippines is a democracy that does believe in human suffrage and human rights. And support for the exercise of sanctions against the Philippines, as limited in effect as they may be, is support for the kleptocrats in Beijing who see Hong Kong as nothing more than a cash cow.
So when is the march?



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