• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 3:37pm

Universal Suffrage

The Hong Kong Chief Executive election of 2017 will pick the top official of Hong Kong for the fifth term. According to the National People's Congress Standing Committee's resolution in 2007, the election may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage. Pan-democratic lawmakers and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have protested strongly against an election framework passed by Beijing on August 31, 2014, saying it fails to reach international standards for a truly democratic and open election. They have vowed to veto it in the Legislative Council and organise a series of street protests known as Occupy Central.

NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Carrie Lam denies bias in official reports on public reform views

Chief secretary says government 'did not evade divergent views' in reports that did not directly mention July 1 rally, Occupy referendum or screening fears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 11:30am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 5:41am

Hong Kong's No 2 official has denied accusations that government reports on public opinion of political reform actually ignored the people's views.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government "did not make choices" in the reports based on the views gathered during a five-month consultation.

The reports, delivered by Lam to lawmakers and by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to Beijing, were intended to sum up about 124,000 submissions received after the government sought views on how the city should elect its next leader.

Leung's report represents the first in a five-step process to achieve universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017.

The reports concluded that "mainstream opinion" in Hong Kong holds that only a nominating committee should have the power to put forward chief executive candidates.

But pan-democrats condemned the documents for ignoring public demands for genuine universal suffrage - such as the voices of the almost 800,000 people who voted in an unofficial referendum, in which all of the shortlisted plans called for the public to be allowed to nominate candidates.

Beijing has repeatedly rejected public nomination as incompatible with the Basic Law, but the plan's proponents say that a nominating committee stacked with Beijing loyalists would only screen out unwanted hopefuls.

There was no direct mention of the July 1 march in the city, the Occupy poll or concerns about screening in either report.

Speaking on RTHK yesterday, Lam reiterated that "there are issues with divergent views, and the government did not evade the different opinion expressed about those [issues]".

She said the phrase "generally agree" meant that the public had little disagreement, for example, on the idea that the chief executive must "love the country and love Hong Kong".

Countering pan-democrats' criticisms, Lam also insisted the government was right in saying city residents "generally agree" on keeping the current system in which functional constituencies make up half the legislature.

Referring to the notion it is a "mainstream opinion" that the nominating committee's power should not be challenged, Lam explained that the phrase meant that a majority agreed on an idea, but the non-mainstream view should not be omitted.

She explained that the term "relatively more" refers to a majority opinion that was countered by an alternative view held by a certain group, rather than just a handful of people.

For instance, the reports mention that "relatively more view" favourably using the 1,200-strong Election Committee's four-sector model as a basis for forming a nominating committee, while some believe the committee should be much smaller.

Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-Keung said Lam's explanation still failed to clear up doubts about "selective" nominations.

"Public nomination has majority support in a number of opinion surveys. Why it wasn't classified as mainstream? And ... why were some [minority] views excluded from the report?"

Lam was asked whether protests could be triggered when Beijing decides on the reforms in August. "It's possible. From experience in 2004 and 2007, some may believe that there will be 'guiding restrictions'," she said.

While the government's reports were condemned by pan-democrats, Communist Party mouthpiece the Global Times praised them as a reflection of opinion in Hong Kong.

"This report should be the main reference for the central government to judge what Hong Kong's reality is when it implements the Basic Law," it said.

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caractacus
What a change has come over Carrie Lam since she took office.
"Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
pbhawk
Carrie lam is a communist stooge and a disgrace to the people of Hong Kong; how dare she claim to represent and serve the people? I didn't expect anything else from CY Leung, the worst leader ever, but Carrie Lam is a severe disappointment
dascaldasf
One thing I have to say about Carrie Lam and that is she has the guts to step outside to face and speak to the public. I admire that.
syn
Sincerely not a knock against your comment, but it's pretty messed up that there's a need to give special credit to somebody just for doing their basic job.
sipsip1238
Well...it's all relative right?
If everyone else is terrible at their job and you do just bad, then you'll still get brownie points.
Although, this news is kind of pointless because what is she really going to do? Come out and tell the truth?
syn
If you just ignore something it never happened. The same strategy as stepping on somebody's foot in the MTR and ignoring any retaliation, simply applied to government procedure.
xiaoblueleaf
Shame on her, lie to the teeth. What is public opinion when there are protests and marches everyday, not to mention opinion poll etc. HKSAR government's "public consultation" has always been a farce.
tinborhui
Another commentary today (Davis) lays out the long list of manipulations of public opinion to suit the government view.
caractacus
Carrie Lam "denied accusations that the government’s reports on public opinion of political reform ignored public opinion."
Ha, ha, ha!
impala
Surreal. This government isn't just out of touch with reality; it is living in a parallel universe.

# 140k+ people march on July 1.
# 700k+ voted in the OC poll against accepting anything that is short of genuine universal suffrage.
# 1m+ voted for pro-Dem parties in the 2012 LegCo election.
# 100s of opinion makers, politicians, community leaders and so on have spoken out in favour of -at the very least- an overhal of the FC system in LegCo, and a much more democratic nomination committee, providing real choice in the 2017 CE election.

But nope, the government says: 'no, no, all of that is irrelevant, we know better - the mainstream opinion is actually bla bla bla etc, because we -supposedly- had some 130,000 people write to us and say bla bla bla, etc.'

It is so shameless that it is hard to believe this is really the government strategy. Not fighting the rival proposals. Not discussing them on content and assessing their merits and flaws. Not incorporating them. Not trying to strike a compromise. But stubborn denial that they even exist and have the support of very large groups of people.

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