No chance Beijing will reform Hong Kong electoral framework in next five years, Rita Fan says
City’s sole rep to national legislature urges pan-democrats to be practical
One of Hong Kong’s leading pro-Beijing figures, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, has ruled out any chance of the central government amending the rigid framework it has set for reforming the city’s electoral system in the next five years.
Fan, the city’s sole representative on the NPC Standing Committee, said there were no voices in China’s top legislature calling for an amendment or abolition of the controversial framework, and it would remain unchanged in the next five years.
Fan said the ball was in the pan-democrats’ court, suggesting that the only way to revive the reform process was for the pan-democrats to accept the framework they rejected; otherwise it would be a waste of time.
“If the pan-democrats insist on discussing it only after the framework is revised, that means there is no way to discuss it,” she said.
The political reform proposal under the rigid framework was voted down in the Legislative Council after strong opposition from the pan-democrats in 2015.
Fan urged the pan-democrats to be practical, saying one step forward was always better than being rooted at the same spot.
Veteran democrat James To Kun-sun disagreed, arguing that the responsibility of developing democracy in Hong Kong rested on Beijing’s shoulders.
“Advancing democracy and promoting social harmony is the top governing principle of Beijing. They are well aware the pan-democrats will not accept any proposals under the framework,” he said.
“All livelihood issues have turned political [under the current system], and there is no way to mend the social rift without tackling the structural problem,” Wu said.
Meanwhile, another leading Beijing loyalist, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, said she was confident that the new administration would foster social harmony and unite Hongkongers.