Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

HK democracy project on right track

By Wang Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-24 07:28

Some college students in Hong Kong started a week-long class boycott from Sept 22 in "protest" against the reform plan for the 2017 chief executive (CE) election. It seems the "protesters", in their misplaced pursuit of "democracy and true freedom", have failed to realize that the reform plan is best suited to democracy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

They should be aware that the central authorities' basic policies toward Hong Kong have not changed and will not change, just as the Chinese top leader Xi Jinping reiterated on Monday. He said the central authorities will firmly support Hong Kong to promote democracy in line with the law.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee has announced that, starting from 2017, the CE for Hong Kong would be elected through universal suffrage and the election could be contested by two to three candidates, each of whom have to get more than half of the Nominating Committee's votes.

Some people have argued against limiting the number of CE candidates to three, without taking into consideration the real situation in the SAR. Hong Kong CE elections since 1997, when the city was reunited with the motherland, have shown that two to three candidates - in accordance with standard international practice - are ideal for a fair contest. Two candidates are best suited for a pragmatic division of voters' opinions and to avoid indecisiveness, which could lead to unnecessarily high expenditure and failed elections.

A few people have also questioned the stipulation that all the (two or three) candidates have to receive more than half of the NC's votes. In doing so, however, they forget what Article 45 of Hong Kong's Basic Law says: "The ultimate aim is the selection of the CE by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures".

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