China's ambassador to UK hits out at public nomination for 2017 election

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 4:30am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 8:03am

China's ambassador to Britain has joined the chorus of criticism against having public nomination in the city's chief executive election in 2017, saying that the British prime minister and US president are not selected that way.

"I have worked for many years in Britain and the US. To my knowledge, no British prime minister or American president has been selected through 'public nomination'. Electoral systems vary so, obviously, there is no 'international standard' to speak of," ambassador Liu Xiaoming wrote in a letter to the Financial Times.

He wrote that Hong Kong's political reform was just a stone's throw away from the goal set in the Basic Law. "At this critical juncture, some people are reluctant to go by the Basic Law. They have dished out so-called 'international standards' and called for 'public nominations'. If unsatisfied, they threaten to 'Occupy Central' and bring the Hong Kong economy into chaos."

Chinese University political scientist Dr Ma Ngok disputed Liu's argument. "Britain runs a parliamentary system. You can't nominate who will become the prime minister, but there is public nomination for who makes it to the parliament," Ma said.

Just because there is no public nomination in other countries, does not mean an international standard does not exist, he said.

"An international standard means that politicians with different points of view should not be denied their rights to run for election," Ma added.

Meanwhile, Daiwa Capital Markets said in a research note that it would not revise its GDP forecasts for Hong Kong based on risks from Occupy Central.

"To say the Occupy Central protest would bring devastating consequences to the city is far-fetched," the Wall Street Journal quoted the note as saying.