• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 1:32pm
Universal Suffrage
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

The more you protest, the less Beijing will bend, democracy activists told

HK’s representative on NPC Standing Committee, which will decide 2017 poll format, says democracy protests will only prompt bigger pushback

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 4:32pm
 

The more Hong Kong activists talk about using civil disobedience to press Beijing to heed demands for greater democracy, the more it will stand firm on electoral reform, the city's sole representative on the country's top legislative body warned yesterday.

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai offered the warning as the body, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, began a week of deliberations to define the framework by which Hong Kong will elect its next leader in 2017.

Fan also issued her strongest criticism yet of the architect of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement, describing Benny Tai Yiu-ting as "completely unacquainted" with how China works.

"The more [people] behaving or speaking like Tai, the more detailed the Standing Committee's decision will be and the less likely it will be that [the activists] achieve what they hope," Fan said. "Because if the central government softens [its stance], it would only encourage more threats and illegal acts."

She was referring to Occupy Central's plan to mobilise 10,000 people to block roads in the city's financial district if Beijing fails to allow universal suffrage compatible with what it says are international standards of democracy.

Tai responded that the main purpose of the campaign was not to threaten Beijing but to raise Hongkongers' awareness.

"The governance problems in Hong Kong will continue without a fair electoral system. What Beijing should do is to give Hongkongers genuine universal suffrage rather than suppressing the Occupy movement," Tai said.

Fan said the meeting would continue this morning with the first group discussions on the Hong Kong government's report on political reform, which seeks the Standing Committee's approval for an overhaul.

If the Standing Committee concludes tomorrow that its members agree to allow the overhaul, more group discussions will be held on Thursday, before a final session on Sunday at which a vote will be held to seal the decision on the city's future electoral arrangements, Fan said.

Li Fei , chairman of the Basic Law Committee of the National People's Congress, will attend a briefing in Hong Kong the following day to explain the decisions. Zhang Rongshun, vice-chairman of the NPC standing committee's legislative affairs commission, and Feng Wei, the deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, will also attend.

Some of the 12 local deputies to the NPC invited to sit in on the meetings said they expected the Standing Committee to require candidates to secure the support of half the members of the nominating committee to qualify for the public vote.

Sing Tao Daily reported yesterday that the Standing Committee could also rule that no more than three or four candidates would be allowed to run.

Pan-democrats oppose a cap, but NPC deputy Ma Fung-kwok said the election could be chaotic with too many candidates. Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen also said it would be reasonable to impose limits on the city's first popular election of its leader and that electoral methods could be improved in future.

The official People's Daily ran an article in its overseas edition saying Beijing's stance on political reform would not soften.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

53817602-dd64-437a-97a3-350e0a320969
I'm getting sick and tired of Hong Kong's supposed "leaders" like CY Leung, Rita Fan, etc, just parroting Beijing's line on democracy.
The job of an elected official in a representative government system like Hong Kong's is to represent the views of the people. It doesn't matter how hopeless the cause, it is the job of HK's leaders to give voice to the aspirations of Hong Kong people, rather than being the mouthpiece for Beijing.
Instead of acting like the people's representatives, they instead only seek to act as Beijing's representatives! Guess they think Hong Kong is just like any other part of China with officials taking their direction from above rather than from the grassroots. So much for democracy!
KwunTongBypass
Pity that Rita Fan is "completely unacquainted" with how the World in 2014 works!
53817602-dd64-437a-97a3-350e0a320969
So Rita Fan is saying be politely quiet, don't make a fuss and in turn Beijing will magnanimously give Hong Kong its democracy. Yeah right!
This reminds of something that gasbag tycoon Gordon Woo said a few years ago, complaining that protests never achieved anything. Yeah right!
Significant, transformative change only occurs when people push for it. By and large, democracy around the world was only the result of people fighting to have their voices heard and to effect change.
Even if Beijing will never yield, as the only part of China with freedom of expression, it is the duty of all Hong Kongers to affirm the right of Chinese to protest and engage in peaceful civil disobedience.
The day Hong Kongers give up these rights is the day they might as well give up everything and just accept Hong Kong as being like any other part of China's police state.
Rita Fan might as well as stay in the mainland, as she's obviously no longer interested in being a representative of Hong Kong people, but only another cowardly mouthpiece for Beijing.
ianson
What has Rita Fan ever achieved in furtherance of the aspirations of Hong Kong people? She has done nothing but sell out, sell out and sell out again.
joseph.t.miller1
Rita Fan might consider these words before she opens her mouth again:
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning." — Frederick Douglass
tinborhui
What Rita Fan and the other pro-Beijing representatives fail to appreciate is that the less they represent Hong Kong people's views the more people will take to the street to make sure their views are made clear. These so-called NPCSC representatives seemingly only know how to lecture Hong Kong on Beijing's concerns. Perhaps they should be the NPC representatives from Beijing instead of Hong Kong.
53918ed0-9d84-4e80-a544-52b10a3209cb
But also, "the less you protest, the less Beijing will bend." We lose anyway, but on one path, we stand tall, set an example, and who knows, perhaps Rita's message will be replaced when all these northern threats fail to scare us away.
ghormax
Let's stop this farce. It is very clear that China refuses democracy to HK and needs to be changed itself. Power concentration corrupts, absolute concentration corrupts absolutely. If Xi Jinping was serious about fighting corruption, he needs to start institutional reforms that introduce checks on the CCP, especially an independent judiciary.
Dai Muff
So if we all keep our mouths shut we get REAL democracy?
Thought not.
blue
'Fan also issued her strongest criticism yet of the architect of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement, describing Benny Tai Yiu-ting as "completely unacquainted" with how China works.

"The more [people] behaving or speaking like Tai, the more detailed the Standing Committee's decision will be and the less likely it will be that [the activists] achieve what they hope," Fan said. "Because if the central government softens [its stance], it would only encourage more threats and illegal acts.""

The NPC Standing Committee's electoral reform framework was decided years in advance you stupid cow. This is all just a pre scripted show.

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