• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:27am
Universal Suffrage
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong election rules could be here to stay, says top mainland official Li Fei

Beijing's divisive framework for CE vote may extend past 2017 even if vetoed by local lawmakers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 11:11pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2014, 4:08pm

Beijing's conservative framework for Hong Kong's universal suffrage in 2017 could apply to elections beyond that year even if it is vetoed by local lawmakers, a top mainland official said in a warning that deepened pan-democrats' desperation.

Li Fei's remark came as he explained to local community representatives the decision rolled out by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Sunday for the city's first popular election to choose its leader in 2017.

It also came as three international political and legal scholars told the South China Morning Post that the new reform framework was a far cry from international democratic standards.

Li, chairman of the Basic Law Committee under the Standing Committee, was asked at a press conference whether the framework for the 2017 election would be re-tabled and applied to elections beyond that year, if it was vetoed by the Legislative Council.

"It has been considered," Li said.

"The decision has stipulated the term 'starting from 2017', meaning that the election method for universal suffrage in 2017 and beyond should also be based on this framework."

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But he also said amendments could be made in accordance with the "actual situation" in the future and consensus in society.

The Sunday decision allows only two or three candidates. Aspirants will first need approval from a simple majority of a 1,200-strong nominating committee before going to the public vote - a high threshold likely to block pan-democrats from running.

Martin Lee Chu-ming, founding chairman of the Democratic Party, called Li's remarks a "scare tactic" that showed disrespect for the reform process laid down by the Standing Committee in 2004.

Under this decision, the chief executive can suggest reform to Beijing, taking into account the situation in Hong Kong.

"What if the situation in Hong Kong improves in 2022 [the next election date after 2017] and we can have a better universal suffrage model? What Li said is trying to pre-empt the chief executive," Lee said.

Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said Li was applying double standards, noting that he had said in a morning speech that "no law cannot be amended" when responding to concerns over whether the present proposal was the ultimate destiny of Hong Kong.

In the morning session with some 800 representatives at AsiaWorld-Expo, Li said drafters decided to lay down a definite framework, having considered the "worries" of Hong Kong people about Occupy Central, the civil disobedience movement threatening to paralyse traffic in the business hub. He spelled out some of the technical issues to be dealt with by local officials in the next consultation.

Li was greeted by boisterous protests inside and outside the venue before he spoke.

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

He stated an even tougher line on pan-democrats in another briefing with local senior officials: "Some Hong Kong people can never be chief executive - in the past, now or in future - if they remain confrontational."

"They should not dedicate their whole lives to the roads," Li added, in implicit reference to Occupy Central.

Occupy's co-organiser Chan Kin-man said: "The nominating committee is just handpicked politics in the disguise of universal suffrage."

Meanwhile, four of the major chambers of commerce - the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Manufacturers' Association and Federation of Hong Kong Industries - welcomed the Standing Committee's ruling.

CMA chief executive officer Adeline Wong and FHKI chairman Stanley Lau Chin-ho both said pan-democrats should look at the issue pragmatically. A CMA delegation will visit Beijing today to meet senior cadres.

Tycoon Li Ka-shing reiterated that "every effort for democracy will not be a vain struggle".

Watch: Almost nude man protests against NPC's "naked dictatorship"


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This article is now closed to comments

Why don't they shut up? The more they say the more ridiculous it gets!
We in the US would be better off if we had a body of experts vet and approve our candidates. Our present system of allowing glib sociopaths to stand for elected office has completely failed us.
John Adams
Good !
Thank you Mr Li Fei , and I mean that honestly .
Until such time that we have pan-dems with sufficient maturity to govern sensibly an SAR which is under direct control of the PRC ( FACT: we are an SAR since 1997 !) then this is the best liberty that Beijing can afford to give us.
If the pan-dems had behaved with the maturity, intelligence, patriotism, moral integrity and genuine honesty of Martin Lee, then perhaps things would have turned out differently today.
But as it is : the pan-dems are epitomized as screeching, banana-throwing, eccentric , immature CLOWNS . .
There's no way I would ever entrust the future of HK to their imbecilic minds.
CY is far from perfect. So is the CCP.
But so are the main political parties in the UK and USA , and in almost every mature democratic country.
But by Gad they have a billion times more maturity and intelligence than these current pan-dems in HK !
Go ahead.... shoot me down !
But I am also a HK-er and a Patriot.
And come 2017 I will have my one man / one vote.
And I happen to think that the pan-dems are THE worst thing for HK these days
So I also have the right to express my opinions, which I do here, quietly and peacefully, in these columns, NOT in the streets of Central
Martin is right in saying LI was scaremongering. The NPC can change the rules in 2014 but after that they are here to stay. What logic is that? I am most disappointed by the four major chambers of commerce though. In their mind, they have no principles whatsoever. They only care about $$$$$$$.
Really????? Who saw this coming? The Masters promise universal suffrage under a system of broad autonomy where largely the only matters reserved are defense/national security and foreign relations. But now the hammer falls because they do not like the slaves rattling their chains and asking for change. I do like how the local chambers of commerce has sucked up immediately seeking to perpetuate their undue influence and access to crumbs from the masters' dinner table. I wish this were not where we were now but I am not at all surprised that the tyrants decided that tyranny was a better policy than letting non-communists have a say in their future.
Comments below are not particularly helpful to the issue of choosing a chief administrative officer for Hong Kong in 2017 and beyond. Should Beijing continue to appoint our next chief executive?
How should the 7 millions+ residents of Hong Kong react to Beijing's dictum? Some will choose to persist by living and kow-towing on their knees while others will fight for greater democracy in Hong Kong. This battle has just begun. We'll be living in interesting time!
My suggestion to Hong Kong or Central government is that government should clean up or crack down immediately, like how NY ex-mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, cracked down Wall Street protestors, before foreign power involved in an occupied central demonstration and it may get out of hands.
Again, even the United States has the most sophisticated legal system. However, there is a limit freedom of speech or protest. The US constitutionality protected right to engage in peaceful protest in traditional public forums. However, US government can impose time, place and manner restrictions on speech, for example the US government may require permits for large protests or prohibit unreasonably loud demonstrations that disturb other. These restrictions are generally permissible as long as they are reasonable and not based on contents.
**Final** Pg. 2/2
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 09/02/14 美國
You simple-minded robot. You only have the right to even express your opinions because of people in the Pan-Dems who campaign hard to protect your civil liberties.
If you really think being quiet and submissive and sucking up to the CCP is the way to go, then by all means do it. If you really think the CCP leadership is full of virtuous Confucian sages then you've been reading too much Xinhua and watching too much CCTV.
Just because no political system is perfect, doesn't mean you shouldn't aim for better. After all, if you can't make perfect laws to control drugs, it doesn't mean you should have no drug laws.
Judging by your childish logic and grammar, you are definitely a mainlander who migrated recently at best. Do not take everyone who asks for better to be enemies of China. You probably can't tell the difference between China and the Communist Party. Pan Dems have China's interest in mind- the CCP only has its own. That, you cannot deny.
After all, ask yourself honestly, would you rather live under a government like the mainland, or HK? If its HK, then you should do your part to protect that. As radical as what the pan dems are doing, you really don't have much choice against the CCP (remember 1989?)
John Adams
No, Mr *****
No robot, just a common-sense person who "seeks truth from the facts"
I have lived and worked so long in China ( more than half my life) so I have seen at first hand what the CCP has accomplished post- Mao
It is nothing short of extraordinary !
I have the utmost respect and admiration for the CCP, "warts and all"
These days in China you have to be very evil, very corrupt or VERY stupid to get into any trouble with the Law.
It seems to me we have some super- stupid pan-dems
It also seems to me that we have some very corrupt civil servants, and even politicians, not to mention tycoons .
Please don't patronize me, because in 2017 I, like you, will have my vote
PS : I "voted" for CY , not the corrupt Henry Tang at the last CE election
Fool, don't blame the Pan Democrats: for all their faults, it is not they, but the CCP and HK governments who have done this. One day you too will be a victim of their tyranny and corruption.



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