• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 9:39am
Universal Suffrage
NewsHong Kong

Take it or leave it, NPC tells city as it endorses framework for 2017 poll

As top legislature endorses a tougher-than-expected framework for 2017 poll, Beijing warns that a Legco veto could harm the city's development

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 5:55am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 7:55pm

The nation's top legislature yesterday endorsed a tougher-than-expected framework for Hong Kong's first "one man, one vote" chief executive election in 2017 - sparking condemnation from pan-democrats and an Occupy Central vow to go ahead with its civil disobedience campaign.

Watch: Protesters and lawmakers react to Beijing's dictum on leadership reform

The framework, approved unanimously by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, allows only two or three candidates to run. They will need approval from a majority of a 1,200-strong nominating committee. Methods for electing the committee, its composition and size will be "in accordance with" those of the election committee that decided the 2012 poll. It will be divided between four sectors and largely chosen by about 250,000 individual and corporate voters in dozens of subsectors.

The focus now moves to Hong Kong, where officials will fight to win over the five pan-democratic lawmakers they need to win a two-thirds majority for the package in the Legislative Council. But all 27 pan-democrats yesterday said they would vote against any plan based on Beijing's framework, and Occupy Central leaders said they would put into motion a series of protests culminating with 10,000 activists blocking streets in the heart of the city.


Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying called on the public and politicians to seize the opportunity of universal suffrage. Li warned that a Legco veto could drag Hong Kong into a longer debate that would harm the city's development. "Some people say that if we don't have universal suffrage in 2017, we can do it again in five years' time. But … it would be impossible for the development opportunities that were lost to come again," Li said.

DON'T MISS: Hong Kong's 'era of disobedience' has begun, says Occupy leader

Chen Zuoer, former deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, warned Beijing would not turn a blind eye if Occupy Central spiralled out of control. If it did, Beijing would "handle the situation according to Article14 of the Basic Law", the clause under which the city government can seek help from the People's Liberation Army.

But Occupy organisers were defiant as supporters rallied outside government headquarters in Admiralty. "Today is the darkest day of Hong Kong's democratic development. The road of dialogue has come to an end and the occupation of Central will definitely happen," co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said.

Watch: Occupy Central leaders promise civil disobedience campaign in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government is expected to bring forward a detailed reform plan later this year.

A government source said pan-democrats should give serious thought to the progress that allowing five million people to vote for their leader would represent. "Democratic development will come to a standstill if universal suffrage can't be achieved in 2017," the source said. "The central government will stick to the framework set by the Standing Committee in future."

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said universal suffrage went beyond "one person, one vote" with any true democratic election offering voters a real choice. "We are not North Korea," she said.

Watch: Scholarism protest against NPC decision outside of Beijing official Li Fei's hotel

Additional reporting by Teddy Ng and Adrian Wan

Key points

  • The nominating committee will be formed "in accordance with" the make-up of the 1,200-strong election committee from the 2012 poll
  • The committee will nominate two or three candidates "in accordance with democratic procedures"
  • Each candidate will need the endorsement of more than half of the committee's members
  • All eligible voters will then be able to vote on the selected candidates
  • The winning candidate will have to be appointed chief executive by the central government
  • If no reform plan is approved, the method of election will be the same as that used in the 2012 election


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This article is now closed to comments

I am quite disappointed with the election system announced in BJ yesterday. But on the other hand, we have to ask ourselves what have we done in the past years to achieve the result today! Curse the Mainland Chinese, call them ****s, bring out the British Colony flag, fight the CY Leung's Administration from head to toe, even though many of his policies are good for the people, like building more housings, but still the Democrats want to fight it, etc. Those guys who have done those things should expect the results today. They always push the blame to BJ, and said, "See what the Communist done to us", and cry to the West for support. And the whole HK is going down the drain. I pity the Hong Kong people, and I pity myself since I am one of them, seeing the whole place is going to be ruined by these people, and there is not much I can do.
Dai Muff
These guys and their cold war xenophobia are pathetic. I was out there last night. The crowd was overwhelmingly HK local Chinese. Get out of your 1950s rhetoric. It just makes you look like an old Communist fossil who does not realise this is the 21st century. The main people heading abroad seem to be the families of mainland cadres, and the families of local high ranking civil servants, and even Chief Executives.
A Matsui
The Pan-democrats should take their "true democracy" back to England where they belong and occupy London and ask for the removal of the English monarchy which is the most undemocratic piece of **** on earth and let us the majority of HK people decide our own futures without having to suffer the kind of tyrannical democracy and terror they want to impose on the majority.
A Matsui
The Pan-democrats with their British passports and the dirty money they have all became very rich and are happy to create a mess in HK and when real troubles comes, the turn-coats will leave the majority of HK people carrying the can, while they can "flee" abroad to the UK or US and enjoy all their ill gotten dirty money. The majority of HK people will not stand for this and allow these radicals to tear down our society which we have shed blood and tears and a lot of hard work to make it what it is to day.
A Matsui
When the British imposed their colonial governor in HK, the pan-democrats were only too happy to be ruled undemocratically. Now with democratic elections being given to HK, these HK traitors are protesting despite the majority of HK people supporting it. The anti-occupy groups will never all these traitors to destroy their way of life and democratic freedom. These false democrats will have their day coming when the majority speaks loudly and most will run to the US or UK with their foreign passports while the rest of us will fight for a better HK.
"Take it or leave it".
OK, we'll leave it. And by "it", I mean China.
Today, Beijing launched a real Hong Kong independence movement.
We've never been "just another Chinese city", and if Beijing wants us to become one, we have no choice but to part ways with them.
Dai Muff
The CCP cares nothing about instability but a lot about maintaining its own hold on power. At whatever cost to its people or to HK. DAB, by the way, never declares its source of donations. Nor is it required to under HK law.
Ant Lee
Chinese communist is showing again they are not compatible with modern society. All chinese people of the world is watching how this will be the first of many events which will ultimately trigger the downfall of the communist party in China.
CCP spam-bots have been switched into xenophobia mode, eh? Regrettably for you, @raymondspchu, that's not how permanent residency works. And then there is the little inconvenience of history, wherein tens of thousands of HK residents (predominately of Chinese ethnicity) queued up at consulates and commissions all over town in search of foreign passports following the Joint Declaration in 1984. You may have your wish come true but it will be your Chinese neighbours who lead any out-migration.
'Take it or leave it?'. May I ask what is there for the taking in the first place? I notice that there are some people stating recently on why the fuss on democracy as there was none during the colonial days. Yes there was no democracy in those days but that does not mean we should never strive for democracy. Most of us understand democracy is not a panacea for all ills but we never claimed it would be so. We only wish to participate more in electing the leaders of our choice to govern HK. Is that too much to ask for? Mind you, the threshold of 50% for the nominating committee is a retrograde step already those there may be some who disagree with me.



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