• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:57pm
NewsHong Kong

Patriotism and Basic Law ‘non-negotiable’ for chief executive election in 2017

Both principles vital to chief executive election, top Beijing official tells Shenzhen meeting; while those who seek independence have 'no future'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 5:26pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 4:40pm

Failure to comply with the Basic Law and the principle of patriots governing Hong Kong would amount to turning the city into an independent political entity, a top mainland official told lawmakers yesterday.

The warning was issued by Li Fei, chairman of the Basic Law Committee, at a seminar on reform in Shenzhen, which pan-democrats say failed to narrow their divide with Beijing.

[The committee] cannot stop members of any [camp] running

"Since the handover, there has always been a group of people who do not approve of the central government's right to govern Hong Kong … They attempt to maintain the colonial-style rule, which is a real threat to national security," Li said.

He noted that pan-democrats in the seminar had urged Beijing not to be too worried about the impact of reform on national security. "We therefore emphasise that the person who governs Hong Kong must be a patriot."

During the seminar, Li said those who tried to make Hong Kong independent "cannot at all have a political future", "and the best way out for them is to change their political stance".

He criticised people for trying to deviate from the Basic Law and for "relying on foreign influences" in promoting reform.

The seminar, attended by 48 of the city's 70 lawmakers, was a last-ditch effort to close the gap between pan-democrats and Beijing before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress - the top national legislature - meets next week to lay down a framework for electing the chief executive in 2017.

Afterwards, a session was arranged for 14 pan-democrats to talk directly to Li.

On Wednesday, the 26 pan-democratic lawmakers signed a pledge to vote down any reform proposal that failed to meet international democratic standards.

They fear that a nominating committee, as laid out in the Basic Law, would be formed in such a way that would screen out pan-democratic hopefuls. Some insist on giving the public the right to select candidates.

While sounding a tough note against independence, Li also said most pan-democrats were patriots and the nominating committee could not "stop members of any political parties or camps running".

After the meeting, the Democratic Party's Albert Ho Chun-yan said he did not think Li's remarks were an attack on pan-democrats. His colleague Helena Wong Pik-wan said "the differences remain obvious, although we had a frank dialogue".

Wong Kwok-kin, of the Beijing-friendly Federation of Trade Unions, urged the Standing Committee to clarify whether international standards applied to Hong Kong, and whether the proposal for 2017 would be the "ultimate" reform opportunity.

The seminar was co-hosted by Wang Guangya , director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and Zhang Xiaoming , the head of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong.



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This article is now closed to comments

"Failure to comply with the Basic Law" has come to mean whatever interpretation the CCP puts on it. So does "patriotic".
The arbitrary rule of men, but never law, which they just don't get, because they think the law means whatever suits them from time to time.
Well, I knew it was coming really. We all know that the CCP's not going to budge to universal suffrage just through mere asking.
Occupy or not, prepare for one hell of a storm coming.
Why can't they just explain exactly what defines patriotism for them????
Means agreeing to everything the Party says and does on all points, while proactively invalidating anyone with opinions that differ from the talking points established by the government in Beijing?
The Governor of Texas is a Republican while the US president is a Democrat. Is he therefore an unqualified, unpatriotic traitor?
The Prime Minister of Australia is a liberal while the mayor of Sydney is an independent. Does that mean she is not to be trusted in doing what's best for the city and ultimately the country?
Yet, the Basic Law (see para 4 of Annex I) - which everyone has to abide by, remember - says that "Candidates for the office of Chief Executive may be nominated jointly by not less than 100 members of the Election Committee. Each member may nominate only one candidate." However, assuming that "not less than 100" is to be changed to/actually means "not less than a majority" (?), if a candidate needs a majority of votes from the Nominating Committee to be eligible, then that candidate must by definition be the only candidate. Will the Hong Kong public then be expected universally to vote for that one candidate? Right! That works.
Unless the NC votes on each candidate separately which is ridiculously convoluted and in any event, in breach of para 4 of Annex 1 - only one nomnation allowed per NC member, we are headed for confrontation on the streets of Central.
The future looks bleak for Hong Kong. We are going backwards economically and politically. The government is interfering too much and not listening at the same time. Mainland China believes its own propaganda, and the West is just trying to tap the China market.
Dai Muff
Unless the CCP is willing to adhere to Article 26 "Permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have the right to vote AND THE RIGHT TO STAND for election in accordance with law", it is the Beijing authorities who are not complying with the Basic Law.
And not many ARE arguing the CE does not need to be patriotic. We are just querying whether "patriotic" really means "Must put the CCP's interests before those of the HK people."
Li Fei has earned his future place in history as another one of those thickwits who could not see what was staring him in the face: the impending collapse of the hardheaded, out-of-touch Chinese Communist Party.
For around 7 million people, Hong Kong is home.
Dai Muff
HK = SAR. You don't like it? Scoot back to your mainland masters.
The real problem is that the CCP doesn't trust people as citizens - or further, that they don't trust anything, anybody or any principle that is outside of or beyond their own explicit control.
It's ludicrous to seriously entertain the idea of HK people electing a secessionist or revolutionary CE. But because the mere possibility exists in principle with a more open nomination process, they are going to scuttle the whole process of democratic reform in HK. The CCP is prepared to throw HK into chaos because of their inability to face or understand the problem with their view of absolute control.
While China will come to dominate the world stage in many ways, this fault will be their undoing. Because, clinging to absolute control is fundamentally wrong - not just within a particular culture or worldview - it is contrary to the basic laws underlying complex systems. Because of this fault, China will destroy itself at some point in the future. Tremendous suffering will be imposed upon people around the whole world as a result of this coming Armageddon.



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