Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Securing rule of law in HK

By Leung Kwokleung (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-02 07:46

It is up to the 'pan-democrats' candidates to win support of the majority of nominating committee members to stand for election

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed a resolution on Sunday regarding the method of selecting the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2017 and forming the Legislative Council in 2016. The draft resolution went through days of group discussions and scrutiny by all NPCSC members before it was presented for a vote. The process demonstrates unquestionable adherence to procedural justice and democratic principles. This is the first time the national legislature spent so much time and effort on a decision to facilitate the implementation of a regional law.

The NPCSC decision is ultimately intended to maintain rule of law in the SAR. In other words, it is aimed at ensuring that Hong Kong's constitutional development proceeds according to the Basic Law, which stipulates a nominating committee is responsible for deciding the candidates in the 2017 election of the chief executive by universal suffrage. Any attempt to bypass the nominating committee in the nominating process will effectively violate the Basic Law and undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong. Therefore, there is no point in discussing matters concerning constitutional development with those who have long declared themselves politically unqualified by swearing against the Basic Law, including the symbolic act of burning copies of the constitutional code in public.

As for amending the Basic Law, the possibility certainly exists, but not today or any time soon. A constitutional code such as the Basic Law must maintain its statutory presence until it is no longer adequate in light of irreversible social changes. Only then should an amendment be considered, should it be desired by the great majority of Hong Kong public. No one in their right mind would give even a passing thought to amending the Basic Law for political convenience at a moment's notice, unless they didn't care at all about the integrity of the rule of law.

The nominating committee is the sole institution authorized by the Basic Law to nominate candidates for the chief executive election. That means a majority decision throughout the nomination process, as democratic principles dictate. A majority decision requires the approval of more than half of all nominating committee members (601 of 1,200 members, for example). The opposition camp demands a lower "threshold" to meet some "international standards", but has yet to specify what those standards are or how much will satisfy them. Is it 30 percent, 20 percent or 10 percent? Don't they know how preposterous this demand is? The reality is, a simple majority (more than 50 percent) is the minimum requirement for any collective decision to be valid. That is a true international standard.

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