NPC deputy election set in motion
By Joseph Li (HK Edition)
Updated: 2008-01-04 07:33

The process for electing Hong Kong deputies to the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) was set in motion yesterday as the election committee fixed tomorrow as the nomination commencement date.


Sheng Huaren (left), vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Chief Executive Donald Tsang, and Alice Cheung (right) meet with the members of the election committee at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre yesterday. Edmond Tang

The five-yearly election of local deputies to the country's highest legislative body will take place on January 25. The committee announced the date at its first meeting, which was chaired by NPC Standing Committee vice-chairman Sheng Huaren.

The election committee unanimously elected Chief Executive Donald Tsang as executive chairman of the committee's presidium and Lee Cho-jat as spokesman. Their appointments were endorsed by 988 of the 1,034 election committee members present at the meeting.

Sheng told those in attendance that members of the election committee come from all walks of life, thus making it a widely representative grouping.

He said he hopes that the electors live up to people's expections by voting only for those who support the constitution, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", as well as those who love the country and Hong Kong.

At a press conference after the meeting, the presidium spokesman outlined the necessary qualifications for seeking NPC membership. To qualify, a candidate must be a Chinese citizen, be at least 18 years old and be a permanent resident of Hong Kong. And to be an eligible contender, one must then secure at least 10 nominations from election committee members.

Those standards are the same for election committee members who wish to run in the election. They must also be nominated by no fewer than 10 other electors.

Asked why there is no preliminary election this time around, Lee said the NPC made the decision in light of the fact that there are no preliminary elections in the Chief Executive, Legislative Council and District Council elections.

"The decision is totally in line with the actual situation in Hong Kong and will make the election go more smoothly," he added.

Asked if the election committee would welcome people from the opposition camp or those who insist on having dual universal suffrage in 2012, Lee said anyone who is qualified may run for election.

The NPC race is expected to see many new faces as nearly a dozen serving deputies won't seek re-election, citing old age and other reasons.

Those who have declared their intention to run include Michael Tien (former chairman of Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp), Fanny Law (former Commissioner of Independent Commission Against Corruption), Ian Fok (president of The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce), Liberal Party deputy chairman Miriam Lau, Executive Councilor Laura Cha, and ophthalmologist/professor Dennis Lam.

Michael Tien, the younger brother of Liberal Party chairman James Tien, said he wanted to run because he wished to do something for Hong Kong and the country.

He also said membership in the NPC would enable him to help solve problems Hong Kong businessmen encounter on the mainland.

(HK Edition 01/04/2008 page1)