BEIJING — Lawmakers and political advisers from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) highlighted on March 7 the democratic development in Hong Kong while calling for support for universal suffrage in the international financial hub in 2017.
Hong Kong’s constitutional development has entered a critical phase, Chan Yung, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong-based Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, told Xinhua on the sidelines of China’s ongoing parliamentary session.
Members of the HKSAR Legislative Council are due to vote in June on whether to endorse a constitutional reform plan that would see universal suffrage in the 2017 election of the HKSAR’s chief executive.
Under the plan, which was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in August last year, two or three candidates would be allowed to run for the HKSAR’s top job on the basis of nomination by a “broadly representative” committee.
The current HKSAR chief executive was elected by a committee in 2012.
“Failing to pass the constitutional reform plan would be a huge loss for the 5 million voters in Hong Kong,” said NPC deputy Wong Ting-chung with the Hong Kong Industrial and Commercial Association.
Speaking with NPC deputies from Hong Kong on March 6, China’s top legislator Zhang Dejiang said the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China sincerely hopes the region can carry out the universal suffrage in the election of the HKSAR chief executive in 2017 according to the Hong Kong Basic Law and decisions made by the NPC Standing Committee.
That has been the CPC Central Committee’s consistent stance on Hong Kong and also the expectations of the Hong Kong compatriots, he said.
Zhang’s words were a clear show of determination and sincerity to push for universal suffrage in Hong Kong, said Chan Yung, who is also an NPC deputy.
The Chinese central government and the HKSAR authorities have made “unremitting efforts” toward the implementation of “one man, one vote” in 2017, he said, adding that Hong Kong people should make the most of the momentum.
His words were echoed by Leung Kwan-yuen, a member of the HKSAR Legislative Council, noting that Hong Kong must stick to the Basic Law and the Aug 31 decision by the NPC Standing Committee.
“Democratic development of Hong Kong must be underpinned by the rule of law,” said Leung, who is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.
Chan Yung, meanwhile, pointed to a latest survey by the Hong Kong-based One Country Two Systems Research Institute, which showed 60 percent of respondents welcome the existing constitutional reform plan.
“Members of the HKSAR Legislative Council should conform to the public opinion, back Hong Kong’s democratic development and ensure the implementation of universal suffrage in the 2017 election of HKSAR chief executive ... That is the best embodiment of democracy, “ Chan Yung said.