Pan-democrats offer Beijing an 'alternative' report on electoral reform
Last-ditch effort to persuade Beijing to accept public nomination for 2017 chief executive election as government's decision time nears
A group of 23 pan-democratic legislators has produced an "alternative" report on electoral reform, which they have deemed a final bid to persuade Beijing to accept public nomination for the 2017 chief executive election.
The move came as Beijing's top representative in Hong Kong, liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming , prepared for a series of four meetings with pan-democratic lawmakers due to start today.
The pan-democrats said the alternative report was needed because a report on electoral reform submitted by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress last month did not give Beijing the full range of Hongkongers' views.
Leung's report did not highlight the pan-democrats' demand that the public be allowed to nominate chief executive candidates, they said.
The pan-democrats' report said public nomination was in line with the Basic Law and had popular support in Hong Kong. It said allowing "genuine" universal suffrage would enhance Hongkongers' sense of belonging to the country and improve China's international reputation.
Meanwhile, leading Beijing adviser Elsie Leung Oi-sie, the Basic Law Committee vice-chairwoman and former justice secretary, hoped the meetings could create room for further talks.
"Late is better than never," Leung said yesterday in a forum to discuss political reform.
Members of the Standing Committee are expected to meet between August 25 and 31 to set a framework for a second round of consultation on political reform, expected later this year.
"We hope the members of the Standing Committee would read our report when they make their decision" on the framework, said Frederick Fung Kin-kee, convenor of the pan-democrats' weekly meeting.
Zhang had said last week that electoral reform had to be considered from the "perspective of national security" and Beijing must not allow Hong Kong to become a base for subversion.
But the pan-democrats' report said universal suffrage would not affect security.
"There is no need to think that national security and universal suffrage for Hong Kong cannot co-exist," said Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit.
"By making room for universal suffrage in Hong Kong, Beijing would also be able to demonstrate to the international community that China … would be heading toward democracy given time."