Pan-democratic lawmakers in joint pledge to kill election reform plan backed by Beijing
Hong Kong political reform package looks set to be vetoed by the legislature as all 27 pan-democratic lawmakers have pledged to vote it down if it is based on the framework rolled out by Beijing on Sunday.
Key organisers of Occupy Central, which vows to rally 10,000 people to block the main roads in the business hub of Hong Kong if the government fails to offer a satisfactory reform plan, has also declared that the beginning of the civil disobedience movement “would not be too far away”.
The government is expected to put forward a concrete reform plan later this year, and must win a two-thirds majority in the 70-strong Legislative Council, meaning at least four pan-democrats must break ranks and vote "yea" for the plan to pass.
But the 27 pan-democrats in the Legislative Council now stand in a united front, vowing to veto the plan after watching the live broadcast from Beijing where Li Fei, Basic Law Committee’s chairman, spelled out the framework approved by the Chinese parliament on Sunday afternoon.
“Our allies in the Legco are very determined to veto such a disgusting reform proposal,” said Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, who said Beijing was “full of lies”.
She said universal suffrage went beyond “one person, one vote” where any true democratic election should offer voters a real choice of candidates.
“We are not North Korea. I don't think they [the National People's Congress Standing Committee] should insult the intelligence of the Hong Kong People."
Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit also condemned Beijing for reneging on its promise to the city.
“Hongkongers have every reason to feel betrayed,” he said. “There’s no longer any suspense over whether the central government would give Hong Kong a genuine universal suffrage and now it’s the beginning of a new democracy movement.”
Charles Mok, an individual lawmaker representing the information technology sector, also lamented that the last bits of hope for reform had been completely dashed. He said he was disappointed by the central government’s attitude of completely ignoring every moderate reform proposal put forward by different parties attempting to bridge the rift.
Occupy Central and other civil rights groups have said they are more than ready to beef up their political struggles.
“Today is the darkest day of Hong Kong’s democratic development … [and] ‘one country, two systems’,” said Occupy Central’s co-founder, Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting.
“The road of dialogue has come to the end.”
The movement will kick start different rounds of protests with students, political parties and different groups in the upcoming days, Tai said. “Occupy Central will fully take place when it boils to a certain point.”
Tai refused to disclose the detailed plans for civil disobedience actions at the moment, citing fears of "disturbances," but said it would happen in the near future.
Dr Chan Kin-man, another co-organiser, said he saw no room to further negotiation with Beijing over reform.
“It is meaningless to talk more over the matter after Beijing installs a 50 per cent nomination threshold on potential candidates,” he said. “Even turning the Legco into the nominating committee - a very liberal proposal floated by [former civil service minister] Joseph Wong Wing-ping - would still allow Beijing-loyalists to exert a complete control over the nominating process.”
Meanwhile, student group Scholarism has said it planned to extend student strike plans from universities to secondary schools as well, and would start its mobilisation campaign from Tuesday.
Joshua Wong Chi-fung, convenor of Scholarism, also said the group would march from Admiralty to Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai at 9pm to protest against Li, who would arrive in the city tonight to attend a forum on political reform on Monday.