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  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 5:51pm

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

He has long time ago ruled out humanity. What's a big deal about public nomination, he asked?
關上小樓成一統 不理春夏與秋冬
Genuine democracy is in your own house.
After reviewing the HK basic law (article 45 and annex I), I think the method of electing CE in 2017 is pretty much decided already. The so called public nomination process is definitely incompatible with the law, and even a universal elected election committee is impossible because the NPC's ruling in 2010 decides precisely the constitution of election committee and was incorporated to article 2 in Annex I. Now in this regard the arguing of public or party nomination can only be thought of as nonsense because they are determined to dead-lock the consultation process. A more wise strategy should be to participate the process more constructively and proposing methods to enlarge the constituents of election committee, in the hope of nudging NPC to make a further amendment to article 2 of Annex I.
UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE in HONG KONG is just like a "CIRCUS"....the nominating committee are simply selected by a small circle of people NOT really representing the people of HK...instead, they're only protecting their own pocket or interest for short....because most of them are tycoons and wealthy people in Hongkong....whether this committee comprises of 1,200 or 1,600 members, the result will still be the same...SIMPLY LIKE A BUNCH OF GOONS, TRIAD OR MAFIA SELECTING THEIR OWN BOSS IN CONTROLLING THE CITY OF HONG KONG....SHAME ON YOU.....
At least they are consistent in ensuring that we never think that they would really honor any self determination by the people of HK. I wonder how they expect this will play in Taiwan, whom the Mainland government somehow thinks cannot wait to give up their freedom to become slaves to the communist party. Never a dull moment with these dim bulbs from China.
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.
Well that now "Occupy Central", Anson Chan's "Core Group" and the rag-bag of pan-democrats have all been put in their place, can Hong Kong now move on to sorting out and removing the other "occupy Central" brigade, which continues to plague pedestrians and those of us who make use of public transport . I refer to all the tycoons with their illegally and double-parked cars and vans.
I would figure that a good old fashioned communist sycophant like you would revel in having some mindless drone from Beijing tell you to sit down and shut up, that HK people are incapable of taking care of themselves. Your masters in Beijing must be so proud. Now sit up and beg for table scraps.
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 ...




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