'Civil disobedience' destructive

Updated: 2013-05-24 06:14

By Yang Sheng(HK Edition)

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'Civil disobedience' destructive

The central government's stand on implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong will not change. Qiao Xiaoyang, director of the National People's Congress (NPC) Law Committee, reiterated during a meeting with some of Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) members in Shenzhen on March 24, that the central authorities are absolutely unwavering about implementing universal suffrage in Hong Kong in 2017; about the precondition that Chief Executive (CE) election candidates must be patriots; and about the principle that the implementation of universal suffrage must comply with the Basic Law and relevant decisions stipulated by the NPC Standing Committee.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region directly under the central government, not a country or independent political entity. Therefore, all the elections in HK should be regarded as local affairs, and should be in tune with the nation's overall development within the "One Country, Two Systems" framework.

It is inappropriate to apply the same standard of universal suffrage designated for sovereign states in Hong Kong, or treat the SAR government and the central government as equals.

Civil disobedience is morally and politically unjustifiable in Hong Kong. In a society under the rule of law, civil disobedience must be punished as a crime if it violates existing law, while indirect violation of existing law such as blocking traffic in protest against an unjust foreign policy should also be viewed as illegitimate.

Civil disobedience is supposed to target an autocratic regime and is therefore out of place in today's Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong has yet to implement universal suffrage, the CE and all LegCo members are elected in line with the Basic Law. The city's democratic development is advancing in an orderly and measured manner, fast-tracked in a way that has never been seen in Hong Kong's history. Tai Yiu-ting claims that "civil disobedience" and "Occupy Central" are meant to turn autocracy into democratic constitutional rule. In saying so, he apparently treats the SAR government as an autocratic administration, an attempt to misrepresent reality with a monstrous lie.

Simply observe the era of colonial rule, one can easily see how hypocritical the opposition is toward democracy. Every governor was appointed by the British Crown and held the governing power all to himself until a few short years before 1997. Great Britain is known as the "Mother of Parliament". With a parliament that bespeaks more than 700 years of history, Britain understands only too well why the society wants democracy, yet it refused to let Hong Kong have the slightest taste of democracy. Why? Because the British Empire was afraid the opposition would rise and say no to London.

Ironically, the first election with democratic elements was granted in 1985, after the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Judging by the historic fact, it's amazing that the opposition managed to tolerate the colonial governor's autocratic rule without even thinking of waging a "destructive" movement like "Occupy Central" in pursuit of "democracy", let alone being their own master and selecting the governor through democratic election.

Since China resumed sovereign rule over the city, local residents enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and power and know that the implementation of universal suffrage is ensured by the Basic Law. But, believe it or not, the opposition has gone out of its way to derail the constitutional development by such outrageous acts as the collective resignation of five lawmakers in 2010 to force by-elections they described as "referendum"; disrupting and jeopardizing public consultation over a draft bill to amend the method of selecting the CE and LegCo through elections in 2012, and now urging local residents to join the illegal "Occupy Central" campaign aimed at blocking progress toward universal suffrage in Hong Kong and destabilizing the city's future.

The "Occupy Central" campaign's wicked plot is to counter the central government by messing up Hong Kong. Such an act is in total disregard of the rule of law, Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, as well as local residents' well-being. The opposition has chosen to abandon the lawful path of Hong Kong's constitutional development because it does not recognize the constitutional authority of the central government and SAR government. It opposes everything put forward by the central authorities and the SAR for the sake of opposing. Besides, "Occupy Central" tries to tie moderate factions of the opposition camp to the radical chariot, build up strength and create an excuse for more lawless and unruly confrontations.

The author is a current affairs commentator.

(HK Edition 05/24/2013 page1)