Discussing “civil nomination” was a waste of time because it is outside the framework in the Basic Law.
Elsie Leung, vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Committee (BLC) of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), said recently that discussing “civil nomination” was a waste of time because it is outside the statutory framework established in the Basic Law. This is an important point. Director of the Central People’s Government Liaison Office in the HKSAR Zhang Xiaoming emphasized at a luncheon with members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) on July 16: “The Basic Law and relevant decisions of the NPCSC have laid down the whole track for the implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong from start to finish.
“In order to reach the finish line sooner rather than later Hong Kong must advance along the track laid down by the Basic Law and relevant decisions of the NPCSC, instead of going astray.”
The fatal flaw of “civil nomination” is that it is completely off the track established in the Basic Law and relevant decisions by the NPCSC. Hong Kong people must understand that discussing “civil nomination” is pointless. Failure to reach this consensus will deprive Hong Kong of a “straight line” toward universal suffrage.
Leung, in addition to pointing out the unconstitutional nature of “civil nomination”, also cited the chaotic relocation of Hong Kong International Airport from Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok in 1998 as an example. She used this to illustrate why Hong Kong should implement universal suffrage in a steady, orderly fashion and why drastic changes tend to be counterproductive.
Tam Wai-chu, a member of the BLC and also a member of the Basic Law Drafting Committee back in the 1980s-90s, recalled at a recent forum on constitutional reform that no one mentioned
Civil nomination’ is an example of the opposition camp taking universal suffrage off the right track and putting it on the wrong one. The real intention is to replace the Nominating Committee or to make it powerless.”
“civil nomination” when the committee discussed universal suffrage during the drafting of the Basic Law.
Although some people suggested nomination by the LegCo or its members, the idea was not adopted because it goes against the executive-led principle.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, who heads the constitutional reform consultation task force of the SAR government, has told opposition LegCo members that constitutional reform must proceed under the established framework. She added that anything, including “civil nomination”, which weakens or bypasses the Nominating Committee is likely to violate the Basic Law.
Current disputes over constitutional reform in Hong Kong boil down to whether discussions about universal suffrage should follow relevant laws or not. “Civil nomination” is an example of the opposition camp taking universal suffrage off the right track and putting it on the wrong one. The real intention is to replace the Nominating Committee or to make it powerless.
The Basic Law stipulates clearly that CE election candidates shall be selected by a Nominating Committee, without any alternative method. By insisting on “civil nomination”, the opposition parties are violating the Basic Law and relevant decisions by the NPCSC. Other ideas and arguments which stray from the framework of the Basic Law will only derail the “train” toward universal suffrage.
The late paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, said when the Basic Law was being drafted that those who run the government of Hong Kong should love the motherland as well as Hong Kong. But universal suffrage cannot guarantee every election winner fits the bill. His wise comments inspired the drafting committee to produce the Basic Law we have today. It requires a broadly representative Nominating Committee to select CE candidates according to democratic procedures. This is the only way to ensure no one who is against the central government will get to enter the CE election by universal suffrage.
The opposition groups have come up with a number of nomination formats based on “civil nomination”. Of these, Scholarism is the most extreme. It proposes making all legitimate voters in Hong Kong, totaling some 3.5 million people, members of the Nominating Committee. People Power, meanwhile, not only proposed a wildly ridiculous nomination format, but also dismissed a proposal by the Democratic Party as “half-hearted”. Obviously, those radical opposition groups are trying to intimidate others to follow their demands. All those arguments are attempts to sidestep the Basic Law and get their own anti-central government representatives into the CE election. The public should realize that “civil nomination” is not in their best interests. So discussing it during constitutional reform consultation really is a waste of time.