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Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Election Reform

So it looks official now, Hong Kong’s Legislature has officially rejected the Election Reform promulgated by PRC’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (For more on this topic, see this previous post late last year)  The central government has responded that the election rules stands and now it is the hope of many that Hong Kong will continue to find a way to execute full democracy under the Basic Law and NPC rules.

As an Asia Times article reported today:

Earlier, Hong Kong’s legislature on Thursday vetoed a China-vetted electoral reform package that had been criticized by opposition pro-democracy lawmakers and activists as flawed and undemocratic.

Hundreds of Beijing supporters had converged outside government buildings as city legislators voted on the Beijing-backed electoral package that aimed to define the Chinese-controlled city’s democratic future.

The vote happened earlier than expected, with only 37 of the legislature’s 70 legislators present. Of these, 28 lawmakers voted against the blueprint and 8 voted in favor, while one did not cast their vote.

Moments before the ballot, a large number of pro-establishment and pro-Beijing lawmakers  suddenly walked out of the chamber.

The no vote had been expected and will likely appease some pro-democracy activists who had demanded a veto of what they call a “fake” democratic model for how Hong Kong chooses its next leader in 2017.

“This veto has helped Hong Kong people send a clear message to Beijing…that we want a genuine choice, a real election,” said pan-democratic law maker Alan Leong.”This is not the end of the democratic movement,” he said. “This is a new beginning.”

The no vote had been expected and will likely appease some pro-democracy activists who had demanded a veto of what they call a “fake” democratic model for how Hong Kong chooses its next leader in 2017.

Weeks of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong late last year posed one of the biggest challenge in years for China’s ruling Communist Party.

The reform proposal, laid out by the central government in Beijing last August and supported by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leadership, would have allowed a direct vote for the city’s next leader but with only pre-screened, pro-Beijing candidates on the ballot.

Opponents want a genuinely democratic election in line with Beijing’s promise of universal suffrage made when the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

A couple of points.

First, this idea that to have Beijing vet candidates first to ensure candidates are not anti-China is someone encroaching on the rights of Hong Kong people’s right to full democracy is so full of bull shit.  There is no precedence of an election process in any major democracy where candidates are not vetted at all (see e.g. my previous post).

In the U.S., for example, candidates must learn to raise money, negotiate power politics, rise through one of the two established parties, etc. (not to mention be photogenic, have the right racial and religious pedigrees, etc.) before they can stand in front of the people of the U.S. to vote.  Similar things happen throughout Europe.

Second, this idea that Hong Kong is someone sending a message to China that it doesn’t appreciate China’s suppression in Hong Kong is pure bull shit.  China’s proposals are actually supported by a majority of the parliament.  However, per decision of the NPC (not Basic Law, but per China’s own rules), any democratic proposal must be supported by a super-majority (i.e. 2/3) of the legislature.  It is because there isn’t a super-majority support in the Hong Kong legislature, which China requires, or else the leaders of China probably figure, they’d prefer the status quo, not because there isn’t support in Hong Kong.  Had there been a full vote, the vote would have been 42-28 in favor of electoral reform (5 short of 2/3 majority but still way over simple majority).

This is not a people’s message sent by the people of Hong Kong.  Call it obstructionist politics, or political hijacking, or political gridlock, or partisan politicking, but don’t call it people’s voice!

For some context to all this, I found these two comments left on the Asia Times article insightful:

By: The_Spanish_Inquisition

Blatant propaganda from Reuters

2. The undertaking given by Beijing in 1997 was to a gradual transition towards universal suffrage by 2046: we are currently 18 years into that 50 year period, and the proposals put forward not only represented progress, but were far more representative than ANYTHING the British had offered during 150 years of colonial rule

3. Under the proposals, a shortlist of 4 – 6 preapproved candidates would be voted on by the wider electorate. How many pre-approved candidates for President do people in the USA get to choose from? Clinton or Bush – you choose. How many people voted for Cameron (or Gordon Brown before him) to be elected Prime Minister in the UK? (rather than as a local MP). How many people get to vote for the President of the European Commission? The Hong Kong LEGCO had a majority – not a sufficient majority, but a majority nonetheless – in favour of this proposal: Cameron is now Prime Minister again because just over 24% of the UK Electorate eligible to vote actually voted in favour of his “ruling” Conservative party. 24% – check it out for yourself.

4. The “ruling” Communist Party is mentioned repeatedly – as is the phrase “pro-Beijing”. How far would a US politician in an island constituency such as Hawaii or Puerto Rico get if he/she was described as ” anti-American”? Even a majority of the Scots aren’t anti-UK, and the anti-EU UKIP party only won a single seat in the UK Parliament despite receiving 12% of the popular vote. How is any of this – coupled to economic austerity, Police brutality, 24/7 surveillance and flatlining economic growth – conspicuously better than what those evil Chinese Communists have to offer Hong Kong? Try waving a banner outside the White House calling for people to “Overthrow the US Dictatorship” and see if you get let out on $2000 bail: they wouldn’t even allow an Asian through Immigration wearing a T-shirt slogan like that

PEOPLE IN HONG KONG ARE SICK TO THE BACK TEETH OF THIS US-SPONSORED “DEMOCRACY” MOVEMENT – they have seen the splendid results achieved in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere, and want none if it. That is why there are more middle-aged “pro-Beijing” demonstrators than NGO-sponsored teenage “Colour Revolutionaries”, and why Reuters is clearly on a mission to propagandise a blatantly Western-centric narrative in spite if the obvious facts on the ground

And

By: mulga mumblebrain

Excellent comment. How the USA gets the gall to interfere in the internal affairs of every country on Earth, buying the services of compradores and traitors through the NED, IRI, IDI USAID et al plus various ‘private ‘NGOs’ is mystery enough, but where they find these collaborators is even more mysterious. Needless to say if these Fifth Columnists were in the USA, on the Chinese payroll, they’d disappear for decades, perhaps forever.

To summarize, as I had written earlier in the post linked above:

What the [so-called democracy] protesters are demanding is not “democracy,” but mob rule above “law.”  If the protesters can bring forth evidence how the “nominating committee” is not broadly representative of the electorate of Hong Kong, I am always willing to listen.  But to protest PRC’s requirement that candidates for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong “love the country, and love Hong Kong” and “protect the broad stability of Hong Kong now and in the future”?  Why would anyone protest that?

The protesters’ demands belie their true subversive intent. As China’s central government made clear in a whitepaper recently, “one country, two systems” does not mean the right of Hong Kong to subvert against the nation or the central government, or a right to semi-independence or even outright independence.

The true fight in Hong Kong today is not about democracy, but about the power struggle of anti-Chinese and pro-Chinese forces.  The issues have been muddled because most people – many Chinese included – are blinded by today’s ideological worship of Western political values.

China is committed to “universal suffrage” for Hong Kong, as provided under the Basic Law.  It is however not for appeasing special interests.  It should stand by what is good and right for society, and not back down to the demands of a vocal and destructive few – or surrender to images of false gods preached by the West.

  1. Black Pheonix
    June 22nd, 2015 at 07:10 | #1

    1 point of fact that’s being diluted in the Western media: It’s not China that “vets” the candidates in HK, but rather it’s the 1200 member nomination committee in HK, the members of which are all HK citizens.

    Candidates are vetted through votes from these 1200 members, and must obtain more than 50% vote in order to stand for election as Chief Executive of HK.

    PRC has no direct involvement in the vetting process.

    Of course, the HK pan-dems simply link the 1200 members as nothing more than PRC stooges, only voting as Beijing commands.

    But you can say that pretty much about any party in the majority voting bloc.

    And somehow they expect a party in the majority to vote in complete chaos in order to prove that they are not being controlled by some dictator far away.

    In which case, I expect the US Republicans to acknowledge their obedience to PRC for their total pro-China trade votes.

    And I also expect the HK Pan-Dems to openly condemn the British for their interference in HK, to prove that they are not being controlled by the British. (However, Pan-dems are only too eager to show off their loyalty to UK).

  2. June 22nd, 2015 at 15:11 | #2

    However, I predict in the next Legco election the so-called “pro-democracy” groups would easily lose quite a few more seats. In a best case scenario they could lose up to a dozen.

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