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Universal suffrage in HK impossible for 2007, 2008
(China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2004-03-03 15:51

Messages from Beijing clearly suggest that it will be impossible for Hong Kong to adopt universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive in 2007 and the formation of the legislature in 2008, according to Wen Wei Po's editorial on Monday.

In his signed article released by Xinhua news agency on Sunday, Professor Xu Chongde, one of the drafters of the Basic Law, recalled how Deng Xiaoping had explained that those elected through one-person-one-vote would not necessarily be patriotic.

The republication of Deng's speech two decades ago and the four key Xinhua commentaries have combined to relay a strong and explicit message from Beijing: Hong Kong cannot possibly have universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008; its constitutional development must proceed in an orderly and progressive manner and must ensure that the main body of those ruling Hong Kong are patriots.

The Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong's constitutional development must be undertaken in the light of its actual situation. What is the actual situation?

Some directly elected legislators have joined political organizations that aim to subvert the central government; some have openly supported Taiwan separatism; some have invited foreign forces to intervene in Hong Kong's internal affairs; and some have obstructed legislation for Article 23.

"Ruling Hong Kong with patriots as the main body" should be put into practice by introducing a corresponding political mechanism.

When meeting with members of Hong Kong's Basic Law Committee in April 1987, Deng asked: "Is universal suffrage definitely beneficial to Hong Kong?"

"In future, Hong Kong will certainly be administered by Hong Kong people. Is it all right for these people to be elected through universal suffrage?"

He also said, "Rulers of Hong Kong ought to be Hong Kong people who love their motherland as well as Hong Kong. Is it certain that universal suffrage can get these people elected?"

He was telling the world that Hong Kong's political system should not copy from the West.

Some said Deng's remarks were not in line with the current realities in the SAR, but what some legislators have done are manifestations that his words are not obsolete at all.

Certainly, saying that there should be no universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008 does not mean that this election mode should be abandoned. It only means that it should be realized step by step. Compared to the situation before 1997, the present democratization process can be considered to be too speedy.

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