Universal suffrage

Beijing ‘mentally prepared’ for reaction in Hong Kong to political reform decisions

Framework for 2017 chief executive election to be set out on Sunday, with mass protests expected after

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 1:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 4:30pm

A senior Beijing official says the central government is “mentally prepared” for the fallout from its decisions on Hong Kong’s political reform, as expectations grow of mass protests in the city in reaction to a hardline Beijing stance.

Stanley Ng Chau-pei, a delegate to the top national legislature, quoted its chairman Zhang Dejiang after a group meeting on Tuesday in Beijing.

“Some incidents might happen after the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress makes its decision on Sunday, [but] the central government has already been well prepared for them mentally,” Zhang said, according to NPC deputy Ng.

While Ng did not specify, the “incidents” likely refer to the planned mass sit-in by the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement.

Occupy supporters say they will blockade streets in Central if the official model for the 2017 chief executive election – which will have to conform to the framework set out on Sunday by the standing committee – fails to offer a genuine choice of candidates to voters.

State news agency Xinhua on Tuesday urged the standing committee to “make decisions on the core issues” surrounding the 2017 election, keeping in mind concerns about national security and sovereignty.

Occupy leaders say they will begin mobilising support for a noncooperation campaign if Beijing puts a cap of the number of candidates or says that hopefuls should obtain majority support from the committee which will put forward candidates.

Ng said that the Occupy leaders’ remarks were a provocation to the central government.

Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting had earlier said the main purpose of the campaign was not to threaten Beijing but to arouse Hongkongers’ awareness of the value of real democracy.

Dr David Wong Yau-kar, another of the twelve NPC deputies attending the standing committee’s meeting in Beijing, said it would be reasonable to put a cap at two to three candidates in the chief executive race.

The election process would become “chaotic” if there are more than three candidates contesting, Wong said.