Universal suffrage in Hong Kong

Speak up now or risk being drowned out by the radicals, says Dr Law Chi-kwong to moderates

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 July, 2014, 5:56am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

A founding member of the Democratic Party has urged the silent majority to speak up against radical calls for political reforms or risk public opinion being hijacked.

"If middle-of-the-roaders do not speak up … we could see the minority decide the future of the majority," said Dr Law Chi-kwong, of the University of Hong Kong's department of social work and social administration.

Law is one of 18 scholars who have jointly put forward a moderate political reform package, which calls for a "public recommendation" procedure under which a name could be put to the nominating committee as a possible chief executive candidate if that person garnered sufficient support from the public.

The scholars are expected to meet Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to discuss their package today.

Yesterday, Law said the Democratic Party, which has supported allowing the public to directly nominate a candidate, was flexible. "The Democratic Party has already said that public nomination is not the only way out. The bottom line is that there are no unreasonable restrictions and that the people can have real choice," he said.

But people should not accept any proposal that places unreasonable restrictions that would deprive them of the right to a real choice in the election, he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Francis Lui Ting-ming of the University of Science and Technology, said it would be more realistic to look into enhancing the nominating committee's representativeness.

Occupy Central founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said yesterday he believed there was still room for negotiation to work out a reform plan that would satisfy both the people's demand for genuine universal suffrage and Beijing's concern for national security and social stability.

"We have not reached the stage for civil disobedience. We need dialogue now," Tai said. He and the movement's co-organisers will meet the chief secretary tomorrow.

But last night, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung expressed pessimism. "As of now, I think it is extremely difficult to reach a consensus."