Donald Tsang

Beijing delivers its suffrage draft

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 12:00am

The nation's top legislative body delivered a draft resolution to lawmakers yesterday on the methods of electing Hong Kong's chief executive and legislature in 2012 and on 'issues concerning universal suffrage', state media reported.

But the details are unlikely to emerge until it goes to a vote on Saturday.

Xinhua said Qiao Xiaoyang , deputy secretary general of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, delivered an explanation of the draft resolution from the NPC leadership to lawmakers. It came midway through a week-long meeting to examine Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's report on political reform.

Local NPC deputy Wong Kwok-kin said he believed the decision would be subject to changes according to the committee's discussions in the next two days.

Last week, Xinhua reported that the NPC Standing Committee would give 'active consideration' to the report, which 'fully reflected the aspiration of [the] Hong Kong public'.

Mr Tsang acknowledged there was a public desire for universal suffrage to elect the chief executive in 2012, but said introducing it in 2017 would stand a better chance of being accepted by the majority. Meanwhile, in a street forum yesterday, Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah said any failure of rational dialogue could give way to radical means of expression. He held out the possibility of strikes to press for dual universal suffrage by 2012, but insisted he was not trying to persuade people to go on strike.

Local NPC representatives who are attending the Standing Committee meeting in Beijing said radical action like strikes would not be useful.

'The central government has its own policies. Any request from Hong Kong can be expressed,' said Tsang Hin-chi, the Hong Kong member of the NPC Standing Committee. 'But if they strike at every turn, it will not benefit Hong Kong.'

Philip Wong Yu-hong, another local NPC deputy at the meeting, doubted whether people would respond to calls for a strike as it would disrupt livelihoods. Mr Wong said he believed Beijing's considerations would not be affected by a small group behaving radically.

Yesterday morning, Democratic Party members marched to the central government offices from the Legco building to present Mr Tsang with Christmas gifts, which included a clock tower - reminiscent of the demolished Star Ferry pier clock - to remind him of vanished hopes for universal suffrage this year and next.