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  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:09am
Beijing White Paper 2014
NewsHong Kong

Bar Association calls for options on reform offering 'greatest possible' public participation

Denial of public nomination without 'greatest possible' voter participation in 2017 will 'abuse concept of rule of law', warns Bar Association

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 2:35am

The government will "abuse the concept of the rule of law" if it rejects the notion of voters nominating chief executive candidates without offering alternatives that ensure the greatest possible public participation, the Bar Association said yesterday.

The Bar - which earlier said public nomination was incompatible with the Basic Law - also criticised as unfair the government's selective use of its views on political reform.

The United States, meanwhile, has voiced support for the 2017 chief executive election - the first under universal suffrage - to be run by a method "judged credible" by the people.

The statements came ahead of the scheduled release on Tuesday of the government's first report on electoral reform and followed Occupy Central's unofficial referendum in which 720,000 people backed proposals calling for public nomination.

"It would be irresponsible for the government to simply reject [public nomination out of hand], or to recommend that the central authorities disapprove or exclude that proposal on the ground of non-compliance with the Basic Law - and then do no more about the proposal," the association said.

In its submission in April, the Bar said public nomination - consistently rejected by Beijing - was incompatible with the Basic Law, which states that only a nominating committee can put forward candidates. But it also described Beijing's idea that candidates must be patriots who "love the country and love Hong Kong" as highly questionable.

Yesterday it said officials had been unfairly citing only the part on public nomination.

The Bar did not specify options when it said the government should consider "alternatives" to public nomination. It referred to suggestions made in April, including the abolition of corporate voting in elections to form the nominating committee.

It also said the committee need not "copy" the structure of the election committee previously formed to elect the current chief executive, which is often criticised as unrepresentative.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the upcoming report would not quote any submission out of context as all would be appended in full.

Civic Party leader and barrister Alan Leong Kah-kit said the Bar's statement was timely. He said it was prompted by actions on the part of the government that bordered on intellectual dishonesty.

The Hong Kong election was among topics discussed at a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese officials in Beijing this week.

"We are not taking positions about what particular [electoral] formula is right," a US State Department official said in Beijing on Wednesday.

"But we certainly believe that an approach that is judged credible by the people of Hong Kong will extend credibility to the person who is ultimately selected as the chief executive and contribute to the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong."

Separately, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Democratic Party founder Martin Lee Chu-ming set off for London today. Chan will speak to the Chatham House policy institute about political reform.



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This article is now closed to comments

Who is financing Chan and Lee's trip? The smile on the faces of these two are so disgusting!
This is so obvious that this forum has been infiltrated, judging from the rhetoric and the use of abusive wording in the writing of the posting, particularly by the person who disguises himself as jamesbone001. Hong Kong people won't be threatened/deterred by any verbal abuse or physical violence from those who behaves like jamesbone001, he is no difference to triad or gang member, I believe he is. I don't give a damn to the lower sort like jamesbone001. Let me tell you jamesbone001, adopting a foreign nickname and being able to write in English won't earn you respect, instead is the substance and the good reasoning of the arguments.
"I observed for some times Blue who knows little but talks and insults a lot. Article Two of the Constitution of the United States sets the principal qualifications to be eligible for election as President - A Presidential candidate must: 1. be a natural-born citizen of the United States; 2. be at least thirty-five years old; 3. have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years. In Hong Kong, there are no natural borne citizens to the country China, only permanent residence with right to abode, borne in Hong on or not. So a spy from the U.S., who perhaps may be ousted from Germany, can seek permanent residence in Hong Kong, live for 7 years, and run for the CE according to Blue's criteria. Get the picture?"

@Cleareye: While you may be right about the fact that I insult 50 cent losers who themselves are extremely condescending, you are totally wrong about your accusation that I know little but talk a lot. In fact I am convinced you are projecting your own inadequacies on me.

I will now expose you as the ignorant fool you really are: Yes you are correct about these requirements set out in the US constitution for Presidential candidates. But the Hong Kong Basic Law has similar requirements for Chief Executive candidates.

Article 44 of the Basic Law:

"The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age who is a permanent resident of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years. "

Notice how it essentially has the same kind of requirement as the US constitution? Do you also notice that being a "Patriot" and loving the CCP is not a requirement? Finally do you notice that it's against the Basic Law for a German national with HK permanent residency to run for Chief Executive because he/she is not a Chinese national?

Also Hong Kong does have natural born citizens. Are you high on drugs or something? They're called Chinese nationals. How dare you imply that HK is not a part of China! That's Article 1 of the Basic Law!

I just proved that you're an ignorant fool that didn't read the Basic Law despite being such a Pro Beijing blow hard on here. Like I said, that accusation about talking a lot and knowing little is really a reflection of yourself.

Prove me wrong you stooge. Prove to me that Article 44 doesn't exist in the Basic Law.
"@Blue : you are so far off regarding the US voting system. For US presidency, each political parties (usually democrats and republicans) will battle out their own candidates in several stages within the party. Then, there is a electoral vote by states !!!"

I voted in US elections and used to be an American. You have several options on the ballot for electing US President. You can vote Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green Party, or you can write your own candidate in as there is a special section for write in candidates too. So far only the Republicans and Democrats managed to have Presidents elected because they're the best funded. Without a doubt money has a massive influence on the US presidential election.

The "write in" section is essentially public nomination. You can write any name in you want and cast your vote. No US President has successfully been elected via a write in vote. Therefore I am just as dismissive of public nomination as you are, but it's wrong to say it's not being practiced.

You are right that the the political parties nominate their own presidential candidates, but any registered voter can join a political party and go to a primary election to nominate a candidate who is running under that Party. It's not restricted suffrage like the Election Committee sub sector election which is restricted to only 250k elite HK voters rather than being open to every registered voter.
The US practices an indirect democracy for the Presidential election. Yes there is an electoral vote by US states, but it's the registered voters of that US state that elect the Electors who represent their US state in the Electoral College who elects the US President. The electoral base that elects the Electors that elect the US President is all US registered voters ultimately.

If the electoral base that elects the 1200 members of the Election Committee were all HK registered voters, then there wouldn't be any problem and that form of democracy would meet international standards. But the reality is, that the electoral base is limited to 250k mostly Beijing loyalists.

Clearly you are the one who is far off and disingenuous
You can learn more about write-in voting in the US here:

Nauseating smiles from 2 trained chimpanzees.
The Bar Association, although not the most vocal so far, is probably the most reasonable middle ground we have heard on both sides of the debate. This picture of Pelosi, Chan, and Lee has nothing to do with the article though.




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