Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Hong Kong's political realities

By Leung Kwok-Leung (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-28 07:01

This week the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is deliberating on the SAR government's report on five months of public consultation over constitutional development. It is expected to reach a decision on arrangements for the election, by universal suffrage, of the Chief Executive in 2017. This will be the first time Hong Kong residents will get to elect the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. Hong Kong has every reason to be proud of this - if everything goes ahead as planned.

The election of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage is not the concern of a small group of people, or one party or organization, but of all legitimate Hong Kong voters. Therefore, the NPCSC will consider the interests of all parties when it makes a decision on how the 2017 election of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage should be conducted. It will not deviate from existing principles. The decision will likely provide guidelines for the Nominating Committee. For example, the NPCSC may demand democratic consultation to ensure the opinions of the minority are considered.

The Nominating Committee and the existing Chief Executive Election Committee are two different institutions which have different purposes. The Nominating Committee must work as one instead of a group of individuals. That is why the Nominating Committee is likely to preside over the meetings and coordinate the line-up of nominees, so the candidates are not all from one party or political camp. Although the Nominating Committee must operate by majority decision, which means more than 50 percent approval is required, it should be able to make democratic consultation work.

Democratic consultation is a principle to which the Communist Party of China has always adhered. We have no reason to worry that the NPCSC may somehow deviate from this.

Another issue which needs to be raised is that the opposition should stop attacking senior citizens who participated in the Aug 17 anti-Occupy march. Some elderly people received some money for transport costs and for meals. But only heartless hypocrites would begrudge them the right to this. These elderly people braved the scorching heat and made a long trip from their homes to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. They then walked all the way to Chater Garden in Central.

One elderly woman in her 80s said she did not know the purpose of the march. Some biased media commentators then used her comments as an excuse to dismiss almost 200,000 other protesters. Would the opposition parties and their media allies treat their own elderly supporters that way? I don't think so! Besides, HK$100 ($12.90) or so for bus fares and meals cannot compare with the huge sums which opposition parties and some "pan-democrats" received from tycoon Jimmy Lai. How many marches could these illicit donations have funded over the years?

The author is a veteran journalist based in Hong Kong.

(China Daily 08/28/2014 page8)

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