• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:17pm
NewsHong Kong

'Right to be elected does not give right to be nominated', says Beijing law chief

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 4:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 10:14am

The right of every citizen to be elected as stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does not include the right to nomination, says Beijing legal chief Li Fei .

Li, chairman of the Basic Law Committee, says in a paper analysing Article 25 of the covenant that the election right is not an "absolute" principle, adding it should be a right relative to "individual states' democratic participation and understanding", and does not cover nomination.

But at least three international scholars who are in town for an academic conference on the covenant hit back, saying the right to be nominated is inherent in the right to be elected. "You cannot be elected if you are not nominated," Christopher Forsyth, professor of public law and private international law at the University of Cambridge, said.

Professor Carole Petersen, from the University of Hawaii, said it was "absolutely irrational" for anyone to say the covenant protected citizens' right to be elected but not to be nominated.

According to Article 25, citizens shall have the right - "without unreasonable restrictions" - to vote and to be elected by "universal and equal suffrage".

In his three-page analysis, seen by the South China Morning Post, Li said the covenant's preamble contained "examples of reasonable restrictions" on election rights and justified further restrictions to be imposed by states in accordance with their democratic understanding. For example, he said, some states "bar political parties and individuals which advocate war and racism from enjoying the right to be elected".

"There exists no uniform international standard," he said.

Basic Law Institute chairman Alan Hoo SC, who saw the paper in Beijing, echoed Li's views.

"The election rights stipulated by the [covenant] should only cover the right to vote and the right to be voted [for], not the right to be nominated," he said.

The first few lines of the covenant, extended by Britain to Hong Kong in 1976, say: "The ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom … can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights".

Professor Lee Hoong-phun, Sir John Latham chair of law at Australia's Monash University, said the general principles of universal suffrage could be applied to different election models.

"The covenant guarantees the right to stand for election," Lee, who is attending the academic roundtable on the covenant organised by the University of Hong Kong, said.

"There might be different models for nomination, but everybody should have the right to be nominated," Lee said. "If you do not have the right to be nominated, then you cannot stand for election, thus violating the [covenant]."



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This article is now closed to comments

It is the peculiar right of CCP members to be completely moronic.
Right to free speech does not mean the right to open your mouth...
It gets more and more amusing watching Beijing try to twist the meaning of plain language in the Basic Law and elsewhere and tell us that black is white.
Dai Muff
"Universal suffrage Chinese style" i.e not universal suffrage.
Every democratic election process has a system which separates the 'wheat from the chaff ', this is after all commonsense.
If every individual had the right to be nominated to run in the election for leader the whole system would be very quickly bogged down, so a 'selection/election' process needs to be in place to remove the weirdos and no-hopers at the commencement of the process. This is an accepted norm anywhere in the democratic world.
How this is to be done in HK is now the point of arguement. BUT it is strictly correct to say there is no right to nomination, only a right to enter the nomination process, and, for the majority of those who do, to fall by the wayside during that process.
China of course wants to ensure 'only those who love China' form part of this process, which is proving increassingly difficult to control. Such is the reality of the democratic process.
Dai Muff
As a matter of interest: which US or European citizen does NOT have the right to run for election?
So it is fair to say " you are allowed to travel on the bus " does not mean you are allowed to board the bus or, you may eat the food but you may not put it in your mouth.
Beijing advising on the principles of universal suffrage and democracy is as the pope would give advise on birth control or prevention of buggery of young boys
Anyone else want to reach through their monitor and rub Fei's face in. It's typically not likely that someone looks as dumb as the words coming out of his mouth.
What exactly is the definition of loving China??
Does that imply that one must also love the Communist Party in order to fit the criteria?



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