• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:16pm
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

It’s not too late to shape Beijing’s mind on reform, liaison office tells pan-democrats

Central government's top representative says no decision has been made and pan-democrats can still influence NPC Standing Committee ruling

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 August, 2014, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2014, 7:27am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 22%
  • No: 78%
19 Aug 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 293

Beijing's top man in Hong Kong told pan-democrats their meetings with central government representatives had not come too late to shape its decision on the city's political reform, a lawmaker said yesterday.

Liaison office chief Zhang Xiaoming said Beijing valued pan-democrats' opinions, which he would convey "truthfully", according to Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood.

Zhang has said the nomination process cannot be completely open
SOURCE

Lawmakers told Zhang that genuine universal suffrage was not incompatible with national security and would enhance Hongkongers' sense of belonging to the country, said Fung.

Yesterday's 110-minute meeting at the government's offices in Admiralty - attended by four pan-democrats - was the second of four being held ahead of a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress next week.

"Suggestions have been made that the meetings with pan-democrats have come too late and would be meaningless. Zhang disagreed with this view," Fung said. "Zhang said Beijing officials would attach great importance to what [pan-democrats] tell them in the four meetings with him and the seminar in Shenzhen this Thursday."

All 70 lawmakers have been invited to the Thursday meeting and 49 have so far agreed to attend, including "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung of the radical League of Social Democrats.

"It can't be said that a decision has been made," a source quoted Zhang as saying.

Other sources said Zhang had agreed on the principle of "no unreasonable restriction" on the nomination process, but also said the chief executive had to be "a staunch patriot" who could be trusted by Beijing.

One source said there were differences of opinion on the interpretation of "unreasonable restriction", with pan-democrats demanding an election model for 2017 that guarantees a genuine choice of candidates.

Pan-democrats fear the Standing Committee will rule out allowing the public or political parties to nominate candidates, and it will also demand that hopefuls need the backing of half of the nominating committee.

"Zhang has said the nomination process cannot be completely open and should take the city's actual situation into consideration," the source said. "Otherwise, there would be a constitutional crisis of not appointing the [person] elected if he is a populist or not trusted by the central government."

Another source said Zhang had rejected pan-democrats' calls for reform to be in line with international standards by saying there were no worldwide guidelines for universal suffrage.

The Standing Committee will convene between August 25 and 31 in Beijing to decide on reform for the 2016 Legco and 2017 chief executive elections.

Pan-democrats placed a full-page advert in several Chinese-language newspapers yesterday arguing that accepting an imperfect reform proposal would be a betrayal of the next generation.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

kongshan2047
The question is whether the pan-democrats are willing to face the reality. Like it or not, HK is part of China who is the sovereign power. Hence any political reform in HK must ultimately be approved by the central govt. In other words you either choose to negotiate with the central govt or simply continue to antagonize Beijing and vote against the proposal at Legco. If you choose to do the latter, then it just means that the CE election in 2017 shall remain as it is. To Beijing that doesn't really matter (subconsciously Beijing may even see that as a victory), but the real loser is HK.
spyeatte
Somehow, Beijings' minds need to be put at ease. What most Hong Kong people want, I think, is a pragmatic leader who will listen to them and shape Hong Kong's policy accordingly. I can't see Hong Kong people voting in a separatist or a radical. But it does take some faith that the majority of Hong Kong people want change for the better and a Hong Kong that incrementally evolves and improves. I don't see how Beijing could argue with that. I think that is a trust deficit between the two sides that needs to be overcome.
cleareye
There is no "too late" in politics. Why do these people always put a deadline on an issue that require a long time for all to converge? It is the glory - those who get credit solving the problem. The problem can never be entirely solved due to perpetual political, economic, cultural, and intellectual changes.
cleareye
You are delirious to think that our city is governed under the JD rather than the Basic Law. It is such ignorance that keeps our city obstreperous.
sundayatscmp
I think today's SCMP Poll question summarizes it quite well: Could the pan-dem influence Beijing's decision? Influence, Yes......Dictate? No. Let's hope for the former and have no illusion of the latter.
chuchu59
I detest that smug look from CHENG Yiu-tong. He actually indicated the pan-democrats had left it far too late to relay their wishes to Beijing. For the sake of HK I really hope the 2 sides are able to reach a compromise. Too much bickering recently.
chuchu59
This is the final chance for pan-democrats to relay the aspirations of HK people to Beijing. The pan-democrats surely know this and if they dont seize this opportunity to reach a compromise by throwing it away they should at least take part of the blame. Both sides need to realise there must be some give and take.
johnh
Hong Kong is under the authority of the Sino-British Joint Declaration
kebai
Communist Party toying with the democrats. They will propose an enlarged nominating committee and the blocking of candidates insufficiently subservient to Beijing. They will then praise themselves for their bold and democratic spirit.
Paradox314
I agree with you; technically you are right, John. But in reality, Kongshan is also right - if not more so.

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