Opinion / Editorials

Support for reform plan overwhelming

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-19 07:54

Support for reform plan overwhelming

More than 1.2 million residents in Hong Kong signed their names in support of selecting chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by universal suffrage in 2017. []

At a press conference on Monday, the Alliance for Peace and Democracy - the organizer of a massive petition which lasted nine days - said over 1.21 million people had signed in support of the Hong Kong SAR Government's constitutional reform package.

The simple fact that more than 20 percent of eligible voters, or a seventh of the city's populace signed their names, speaks volumes about Hong Kong society's aspirations regarding universal suffrage. It sends a crystal-clear message that the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong people don't want their voting rights deprived by a tiny minority of opposition lawmakers.

The unmistakable message serves as an indication of a widening support base for the government's reform proposals unveiled last month. Also, it should be viewed as a strong sign of the opposition camp's shrinking popularity. Obviously, it is fighting a losing battle in winning the hearts and minds of Hong Kong people.

So far, all 27 opposition lawmakers still refuse to change their rigid stance by vowing to veto the proposals. Indeed, it is never easy to grasp their skewed logic of rejection. A case in point is that they often clamor about the package being "unfair, unjust and unconstitutional" and can't offer voters "genuine" choices of 2017 Chief Executive candidates.

But the truth is that, by strictly adhering to the five-step constitutional reform process and solidly based on two-round citywide public consultations over seven months, the electoral arrangements submitted to the Legislative Council are tailor-made to suit Hong Kong's actual situation.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Central People's Government's Liaison Office in the HKSAR, a few days ago hailed the SAR government's reform proposals as constitutional, democratic, lawful and reliable. This is because they are in line with the Basic Law and relevant decisions of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and honestly address the needs and wishes of society.

The opposition camp knows well universal suffrage is what most Hong Kong people want. They also know it is in the best interests of the SAR if the reform bill is passed. Unfortunately, opposition activists still choose to turn a blind eye to mainstream public opinion and all efforts made by the central and the SAR governments to make universal suffrage a reality.

The crux of the problem has gone beyond controversy over how to achieve universal suffrage per se. There are always a bunch of die-hard radicals in the city, who are not comfortable with the fact that Hong Kong is part of China under the central government's jurisdiction.

With public opinion and reason on the side of the Hong Kong government, it is high time the opposition camp abandoned the illusion that Beijing might change its mind at the last minute. And it is not too late for them, especially for those "pan-democrat" lawmakers, to answer the call by respecting mainstream opinion and allowing, rather than stymieing, the passage of the reform package.

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