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The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) yesterday (August 31) adopted the “Decision on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive (CE) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council (Legco) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016 (The Decision)”. The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) supports the NPCSC’s decision, which paves the way towards the election of the CE by popular vote as from 2017.
We believe that other than a city in its own right, Hong Kong has a much bigger role to play in the Central Government’s overall scheme to connect globally with Chinese all around the world. The Central Government attaches great importance to Hong Kong’s administrative powers and it is therefore within reason and the law that the CE be required to “Love the Country, Love Hong Kong”. It therefore follows that Hong Kong’s political development must be grounded in the rule of law to ensure that administrative powers are discharged appropriately.
It is understandable that the NPCSC has adopted a prudent approach on Hong Kong’s electoral reforms as these extend beyond SAR-related issues of stability and prosperity to include those of national sovereignty, security and development.
We believe that achieving universal suffrage in 2017 is an aspiration that is shared by all in Hong Kong. According to the Basic Law and the NPCSC’s decision, a gradual approach towards enfranchisement that takes into account the prevailing circumstances in the SAR is critical to Hong Kong’s future well-being. We look forward to the next stage of the public consultation and hope that the broader society can engage in open and rational discussions to find consensus by “making our own way” towards universal suffrage in the 2017 CE election.
Mr Jeffery Lam Kin-fung, Vice Chairman of BPA, emphasized that the NPCSC’s decision to give the green light on universal suffrage for electing the CE represented a historical milestone for the Country and Hong Kong. He said the next step was to discuss the issue in Legco and to obtain a two-thirds majority in order to gain passage of the Bill on Electoral Reforms. The BPA hopes that pan-democratic LegCo members would not block the progress with universal suffrage by shutting the door on discussions.
Mr Lam added that we should treasure all that we have in Hong Kong as these are built upon the hard work of many generations over the years. It is therefore important to keep communication channels open and to conduct debates in a rational and practical manner regardless of the different views on reforms. He cautioned that the refusal to compromise would only lead to a lose-lose situation and that Hong Kong will pay a high price for any radical actions to challenge the NPSCS’s decision.
We understand that there are some who do not agree with the decision by the NPCSC. However, the electoral reform process is a dynamic one and refinements that accord with the then social situation in Hong Kong can be made after universal suffrage is adopted in 2017.
The entitlement to vote is a basic political right of the five million voters in Hong Kong and we oppose any attempts to deprive them of such a privilege by blocking arrangements to bring in a one-person one-vote system for electing the CE. We also denounce “Occupy Central” and other similar illegal actions as these represent a real threat to Hong Kong’s core ideological principle of the rule of law.
Regarding the method for forming the LegCo in 2016, we support the NPCSC’s decision to give priority to introducing universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017.