Still keen on 'one man, one vote'? New poll will check out Hongkongers' latest reform views

Concern group commissions its second survey to gauge the impact of recent political events on Hongkongers' desire for 'one man, one vote'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

A group of liberal-minded professionals have commissioned another survey on political reform for the chief executive election in 2017.

The survey, commissioned by the Concern Group for Public Opinion on Constitutional Development and conducted by Lingnan University, will gauge the latest public opinion on reform since Beijing issued a white paper on Hong Kong and the Occupy Central movement held its unofficial referendum.

This is the second survey the group has commissioned, and its findings are expected to be announced next month, shortly before the National People's Congress Standing Committee makes its decision on the city's political reform.

The 15-strong group includes three Democratic Party members as well as Centaline Property Agency boss Shih Wing-ching and Andy Ho On-tat, who used to be information coordinator for former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

Respondents will be asked questions such as "would you want 'one man, one vote' for electing the chief executive in 2017 even if you find the candidate nominating process unsatisfactory?"

In the group's first survey, released on June 15, 54 per cent of some 1,000 respondents still wanted "one man, one vote" even if they found the nominating process unsatisfactory.

Dr Cheung Kwok-wah, a member of the group and dean of the Open University's school of education and languages, said the group wanted to ascertain Hongkongers' latest views in light of Beijing's white paper, Occupy Central's unofficial referendum and the July 1 march.

The white paper, released last month, stressed Beijing's "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong and that the city's autonomy was subject to Beijing's authorisation.

The document's release was seen as a major reason many people took part in the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement's referendum and this year's July 1 rally.

About 793,000 people voted in the unofficial referendum on electoral reform late last month. An estimated 510,000 people joined the July 1 march, according to its organisers, although police put the figure at 98,600.

"We would like to know if Hongkongers' desire for reaching a deal for electing the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017 has been affected by recent political events," Cheung said.

Some of the city's pan-democrats have called for allowing the public to nominate candidates as they fear the nominating committee will be stacked with Beijing loyalists who may filter out those critical of Beijing.

The NPC Standing Committee is expected to give political reform the green light but reject the call for public nomination.

"Both the pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps should recognise the importance of give and take in the talks on political reform," Cheung said.

The concern group will finalise their survey questionnaire in the next few days.

Tik Chi-yuen, a member of the group and former Democratic Party lawmaker, said he believed most Hongkongers were pragmatic and would still desire "one man, one vote" in the 2017 election even if the electoral methods were imperfect.