• Sun
  • Oct 19, 2014
  • Updated: 11:01pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

Rare disagreement as CY Leung takes issue with Global Times editorial on Occupy poll

Chief Executive speaks out against state-run newspaper that belittled 700,000 voters in unofficial plebiscite as 'no match' for 1.3 billion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 11:50am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 8:41am

In a rare example of a top Hong Kong official not following Beijing's script, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday said he disagreed with an editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper which described the enormous turnout for Occupy Central's reform poll as "no match" for the 1.3 billion population of China.

Leung, who went on leave from yesterday until Friday, said it was wrong to put "the people of Hong Kong and China on confronting sides".

In a strongly worded editorial published on Monday, the Global Times warned that since "the Basic Law reflects the will of the whole nation … more than 1.3 billion people have the right to speak on Hong Kong's political reform".

Leung said that "no matter how many people voted", and no matter whether the number was "inflated", the majority of residents who took part were expressing their wish to elect the city's leader by universal suffrage in 2017.

The Global Times described the Occupy poll as "illegal", but Leung clarified that the people who voted would face no criminal liability.

However, he reiterated that public nomination "does not comply with the Basic Law", saying that there were no grounds for people to call for universal suffrage to be compatible with international standards.

"[The phrase] 'international standards' is not found in the Basic Law … Elections in Hong Kong must be conducted according to our actual situation and the [city's mini-constitution]."

More than 738,000 people had voted in Occupy Central's unofficial referendum by midnight yesterday on three options for how the chief executive should be elected in 2017. All three options allow the public to nominate candidates - an idea Beijing has repeatedly rejected.

The huge turnout for Occupy's unofficial referendum is thought to have been fuelled by a backlash against Beijing's assertion of its sovereignty in a white paper two weeks ago.

That controversial document also appeared to affect the local government's popularity.

The University of Hong Kong interviewed about 1,000 residents last week, and found that only 37 per cent were satisfied with how the local administration handled its relationship with Beijing, while 38 per cent said they were not.

The minus-1 net satisfaction rate was nine percentage points lower than three months ago, and the lowest since September 2012. Leung's latest popularity rating was 45.6 points, 0.2 points lower than two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Leung unveiled in his blog a letter he wrote to the Taiwan-based Liberty Times, which ran an article written by Hong Kong commentator Jacky Lim Hung-tat on June 13.

Lim criticised the white paper for "abolishing" the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which promised Hong Kong "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs".

In his blog, Leung countered that the joint declaration also made it clear that China would stipulate its policies on Hong Kong in the Basic Law. That stated that apart from its roles in foreign and defence matters, Beijing had the power to appoint the chief executive and principal officials, as well as to interpret and amend the Basic Law.



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
Well spoken CY !
I personally have not "voted" in the mock- referendum because it does not have an option to vote for "only candidates nominated by the Selection Committee is OK".
On this point I fully agree with the White Paper.
I disagree with ALL the options allowed in the mock referendum.
So how can I "vote" negatively ?
Benny Chai / Occupy Central & Co. : How do you answer that question ?
so you see... even the wu mao gang supports CY leung's 'big stand' against the Mainland. Obviously they have instructions to support him - further evidence that C.Y. Leung's statement against the Global Times article was a PR stunt set up by the CPP and/or himself to make him appear to fight for HK interests. As I wrote before, this is all about the Mainland doing what they can to gather public support for their puppet leader here in HK.
Whilst you may be right, its a classic 'darned if you do, darned if you dont' situation for CY. If he did nothing he will be accused of inaction and failure to grasp the sentiments of the HK public at large. I shudder to think what would happen if he agreed with the Global Times.
For CY, this is only a start and the acid test will arrive first on July 1 and then nearer the time of OC. If he handles the latter well, people might have a change of heart and truly regard him as our leader. Otherwise, he will be seen as an opportunist. Time will tell.
These recent events are just a blatant example of China's disregard for other nation's sovereignty and their tendency to reinterpret laws and decisions as they please.
His argument is that
'Beijing had the power to appoint the chief executive and principal officials, as well as to interpret and amend the Basic Law.'
Appoint does not mean to specify or to designate the candidate. Appointing the Chief executive is to anoint or empower the individual to go about his regular duties.
I would rather China just send in the cavalry and reclaim Hong Kong by force than to see this charade of a false democracy and slow erosion of what was once a proud and dignified nation.
A proud and established legal institution? Soon to be gone.
' the Basic Law reflects the will of the whole nation … more than 1.3 billion people have the right to speak on Hong Kong's political reform'.
China is part of a global nation, in that sense we should be able to have the rest of the 7.12 Billion global inhabitants decide the fate or our nation.
It seems that Leung has not read Article 39 of the Basic Law, which imposes both of the international human rights covenants. It would be hard to find a more coherent invocation of international standards. And of course, his staff may have failed to brief him on what "universal suffrage" might mean. Hopefully, his statement does not signal the Government's intention to ignore such international standards.
At last CY Leung begins to show a little guts and appears to stand up for Hong Kong, which is his job.
Will he stay the course?
That is most unlikely. He is just trying to pacify the people of Hong Kong in the midst of being mobilized for the referendum and possibly July 1. He also noted that there is no reference to “international standards” with regard to elections. Being Beijing’s proxy, there is little that Leung can do.
Dai Muff
Of course not. He just knows that every negative comment abut the poll is another 50,000 votes for it. See what he says after the voting period is over.
Yep, what he says after July 1 and OC will be a true reflection of whether this action of his is out of character or rather a gradual change to safeguard the interests of HK. Time will tell.
Its indeed very stupid for Global Times to say such a thing to say the least. They probably did not think of the wide implications of China's image to the world especially to small countries worldwide. It paints China as a big country ready to bully small countries anytime. This is exactly opposite to what's its leaders have tried so hard to portrait China as a peaceful country ready to help at all times. I think the government should come out and rebuke Global Times on the article immediately, if not fire the editor who allows such an article to appear. CY did the right thing with his quick reaction. Seems China has fallen asleep in damage control in recent events i.e. instead to anticipate in advance of events, it tends to react and very slowly and clumsily at that.




SCMP.com Account