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Legal experts welcome Hong Kong decision

By Zhang Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-01 07:03

Move in accord with Basic Law

The decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress concerning the selection of future chief executives in Hong Kong opens the door to universal suffrage in the special administrative region, legal experts said on Sunday.

The experts from the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies were speaking in Beijing during a group interview.

Rao Geping, a law professor at Peking University, praised the decision, saying it is based on the reality of Hong Kong's diversified society and will enable the special administrative region to take the first step toward universal suffrage.

"It is a legally binding decision that outlines the principle of universal suffrage and determines the direction of Hong Kong's political reforms," he said.

He pointed out that the decision was made in accordance with the Basic Law of Hong Kong and reflected the wishes of the majority of residents.

Under the terms of the decision, a nominating committee will name two to three candidates for the office of chief executive.

Each candidate will require the endorsement of more than half the members of the committee.

Qiang Shigong, a law professor at Peking University, said the decision took into account conditions in Hong Kong.

Having two to three candidates will be practical during elections, and the endorsement requirement will promote consensus and help to form a majority, he added.

Wang Zhenmin, a law professor at Tsinghua University, regards the decision as a monumental step in China's political history as well as Hong Kong's.

"Westerners have always doubted the possibility of practicing universal suffrage in China, but it becomes a reality today under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, which is a hard-won achievement that follows years of effort," he said.

Chen Zuoer, the head of the association, said: "It is natural that the decision will not satisfy everyone in Hong Kong, but it will serve the interests of the majority of people."

Referring to the Occupy Central protests, he said the central government will allow only legitimate acts and is ready to maintain communication and dialogue with people from all walks of life in Hong Kong.

"The central government will not tolerate any illegal actions that could jeopardize the interests of the Hong Kong people," he added.


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