'Occupy Central' a path to hell

Updated: 2013-05-22 05:29

By Yang Sheng(HK Edition)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

The "Occupy Central" campaign the opposition camp try to incite does nothing to advance the implementation of universal suffrage because it is not on the legal track of Hong Kong's constitutional reform. The central government always supports the Hong Kong SAR's democratic development in an orderly and gradual manner as its real condition allows and has established institutional protection for implementing universal suffrage in both Chief Executive (CE) and Legislative Council (LegCo) elections.

The goal of eventually electing the CE and all LegCo members by universal suffrage is enshrined in the Basic Law; while the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) on April 6, 2004 spelled out the constitutional reform progress in "five phases" and, on Dec 29, 2007, announced a timetable for implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

The pace of implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong should therefore proceed in accordance with the "five-phase format" stipulated by the NPCSC, the highest legislature in the country. To be more specific, the CE election by universal suffrage must follow the process institutionalized in the Basic Law and relevant decisions of the NPCSC.

As the NPCSC makes clear in its interpretation of Annex I (7) and Annex II (3) of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's constitutional development should complete five processes: 1) the CE formally asks in writing the NPCSC whether the method of selecting the CE and of forming LegCo, both by universal suffrage, needs to be amended; 2) the NPCSC makes an official decision in response to the CE's request; 3) the SAR government presents a bill on amending the method of selecting the CE and of forming LegCo to LegCo for approval by at least two-thirds of all legislators; 4) the CE gives official acceptance of the bill passed by LegCo; and 5) the CE submits the bill approved by LegCo to the NPCSC for its seal of approval or as an official record to keep. In 2007 the NPCSC reiterates in a decision regarding the CE Election by universal suffrage in Hong Kong that the constitutional exercise should complete the above-mentioned "five steps".

There is ample room for public discussions about universal suffrage. It is a tremendous change in Hong Kong's political system, as issues concerning the 2017 CE Election, such as the democratic procedures in which the CE Election Nomination Committee performs its duty, and how this organ is formed and composed in order to be regarded as "broadly representative", all have plenty of room for rational discussion and thorough consultation. So far, the SAR government has yet to begin public consultation over the 2017 CE Election; and the "five steps" for Hong Kong's constitutional development are not set in motion, either.

As such, it is absolutely inappropriate for Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, to stir up a mass campaign to paralyze Hong Kong's political and economic center, in an attempt to coerce the central government to yield to demands for constitutional reform raised by the opposition camp he represents.

The planned "Occupy Central" will destroy the rule of law. By ignoring the fact that there is not a single political system or election format applicable to all communities in this world, by turning a blind eye to potentially catastrophic consequences, and before public consultation on the 2017 CE Election begins or a consensus is reached among Hong Kong residents, the agitators have virtually abandoned the Basic Law and disregarded relevant decisions of the NPCSC over Hong Kong's constitutional development. Such a move is a blatant mockery of the rule of law and a glaring example of "mob politics".

Tai has instigated local residents to break the law by illegally occupying Central to serve his own political agenda. The only outcome of this illegal campaign will be Hong Kong turning from "a city under the rule of law" and "a dynamic metropolis" to "a city of chaos" and "a dysfunctional town".

It is for sure that the campaign does nothing constructive toward implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Instead, "Occupy Central" will have countless ill effects for generations to come if it happens. The alternative route "Occupy Central" purportedly offers is in fact "a path to hell" that will inevitably tear apart the law and order that we cherish deep down in our hearts, hamper economic development and weaken Hong Kong's position as a vibrant global financial hub. For this reason, we should not tolerate this campaign which is set to divide our society by triggering head-on political clashes, no matter how hard its organizers insist it will be "peaceful and rational".

The author is a current affairs commentator.

(HK Edition 05/22/2013 page1)