• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 6:41pm
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong's 2017 election is not the end of reform, hints NPC's Zhang Dejiang

Chairman's statement that the method of electing city's chief executive could change seen as latest strategy to win over moderates

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 12:42am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 8:27am

There would be more room for compromise with Beijing if Hong Kong accepted that the method for electing its chief executive could be changed after universal suffrage was achieved in 2017, a Peking University academic said in March.

Many pan-democrats did not take Jiang Shigong's words seriously then.

But now, messages from the National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang in his meetings with pro-establishment groups over the past few days are starting to sound similar to Jiang's suggestion.

NPC Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, who met Zhang on Sunday, quoted him as saying democratic development in other countries went step by step.

She said she understood from Zhang that Hong Kong's democratic development would move forward after the city achieved "one man, one vote" in 2017.

Federation of Hong Kong Industries chairman Stanley Lau Chin-ho, who met Zhang on Saturday, quoted him as saying that it took 100 years for many countries to develop a mature political system and that democracy in Hong Kong should develop in a gradual, orderly manner.

Zhang's reminder that the 2017 chief executive election is not the endgame of democratic development in the city is seen as Beijing's latest strategy to win over moderate pan-democrats.

The Standing Committee will decide on Hong Kong's political reform when it meets at the end of next month.

Echoing Zhang's remarks, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday that there could still be room to improve the method for electing the chief executive after 2017.

"I gather that neither the Basic Law nor the relevant decisions by the NPC Standing Committee rules out the possibility of making improvements to related arrangements after the goal of achieving universal suffrage in 2017 has been achieved," Lam said.

Hong Kong officials in charge of constitutional development have also been using the same argument to lobby moderate pan-democrats to compromise on reform. The government has to win the support of at least five pan-democrats to secure a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council for its reform plan.

Former Democratic Party lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong said: "If Beijing wants Hongkongers to buy its views that the electoral methods can be improved after 2017, it needs to convince Hongkongers that they can believe again what it promises."

Cheung was one of three Democratic Party representatives involved in talks with the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong in 2010 over the 2012 elections.

Meanwhile, Liberal Party lawmaker Vincent Fang Kang, who also met Zhang on Sunday, quoted him as saying there were some pan-democrats who could be regarded as "loving the country and Hong Kong".

The state leader reportedly dismissed concerns about the Occupy Central movement, which plans to rally protesters to blockade Central district if the Hong Kong government does not come up with what it sees as a satisfactory reform proposal.



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This article is now closed to comments

Judging from the past record of how well China is meeting improvement targets set out by the WTO after being allowed to join them given that changes will be made, we're likely going to see things turning worst and worst after 2017.
Ant Lee
Meaningless. their only concern is maintaining their own power - everything else just "talking art"
Panic mode that it will be 2005 all over again. Beijing has no incentive to make any changes after it gets what it wants - which is mainland-style inner-party democracy masquerading as Hong Kong-style universal suffrage.
There is no need to purposefully fall short in order for there to be room for future improvement. We should do as much as possible now - don't worry - there will still be room for improvement. In Canada and the United States, for example - there is a lot of room for democratic reform - primarily through the development of a grassroots democratic culture and structurally through ongoing reforms of the system itself. In Canada there is an ongoing and quite active debate about the pros-cons of reforming or even abolishing the Senate.
The U.S. is still finding the right electoral model to fit its changing demographics. To leave room to improve is the right direction.
Have the people in HK ever thought about that China itself is under going or has gone through rapid changes? Just ask ourself this question. 30 years ago who would have thought China would have developed to todays level and scale? So perhaps in another 15 to 20 years time, China could have moved up to another level both politically and economically. Rather than maintaining the status quo, why not consider accepting a compromised proposal now?
"Meanwhile, Liberal Party lawmaker Vincent Fang Kang, who also met Zhang on Sunday, quoted him as saying there were some pan-democrats who could be regarded as "loving the country and Hong Kong"."
How very gracious of Beijing! Basically they're saying democrats are a rotten bunch, but there may be a few good apples in the bunch. What a joke!
Democrats should reply in turn, that while the Communist Party of China is a rotten bunch, it's possible it has a few good people. There's more truth to this than Beijing's version!
Yes, because we in HK are morons who are less intelligent than people in other nations and far less intelligent than communists in China who are genetically imbued with the wisdom to rule us. We really need to make sure that princelings rule us because we are too stupid. We might choose someone that the masters do not like. That would rend a hole in the fabric of the universe. Perish the thought. Not sure where you are from but how do your masters treat their slaves?
I can't believe the gall of these chumps. "Don't worry, 2017 won't be the end of reform"--yeah, right, Einstein, it's in the freaking Basic Law, even according to a "conservative" reading!
And Beijing will be dragged kicking and screaming every inch of the way.
The only way Hong Kong people will get anything approaching democracy by 2047 is to fight, fight, fight every minute of every day.
Frederick Douglass: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
I think you just missed the whole essence of the article. What is being said is... it is time to make this reform work and both sides need to make compromises. However the "radicals" have set a hardline so they are trying to reach out to those who realizes that compromise is the only way forward.



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