China Daily (Hong Kong)
Improved system helps end arbitrary politicization
Editor’s note: This is Part 5 of a series on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s new elections.
Sunday’s Election Committee elections, the first elections under the improved electoral system after the National People’s Congress Standing Committee enacted the National Security Law for Hong Kong last year and decided to improve the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s electoral system through local legislation earlier this year, are of great importance and have therefore attracted a lot of public attention.
Hong Kong was not able to focus on healthy socioeconomic development because of fierce obstruction by the external-forces-backed opposition camp through arbitrary politicization of anything and everything in the past 24 years or so. Such no-holds-barred political sabotage peaked in 2019 with what became known as the “black revolution” and practically forced the central authorities to take the above-mentioned measures to end such abuse once and for all.
The two crucial decisions by the NPCSC paved the way for Hong Kong to institutionalize the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” by means of the introduction of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and the improved electoral system. Now it is up to the HKSAR to put the safeguards to full use and refocus on healthy development in the best interest of Hong Kong society.
The improved electoral system aims to foster a rational and professional attitude toward elections and usher in substantive democracy (vis-a-vis procedural democracy) that enhances people-centric governance. It will maintain Hong Kong’s inclusiveness and diversity in all aspects of life while cultivating a healthy political culture conducive to the exercise and continuation of “one country, two systems”, which is anchored by the Basic Law, beginning with the implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong”.
Before the system overhaul, Hong Kong’s elections were seriously contaminated by toxic, confrontational politics copied from the West and most notably characterized by misinformation, smear campaigns and character assassinations that allowed the anti-China forces to hoodwink voters into supporting their divisive and separatist agendas and putting them in public offices, so that they could do even more damage to Hong Kong by disrupting the normal operations of the HKSAR government, particularly the legislature, from within as Trojan horses. It is fair to say the old, flawed electoral system had to go, and not a day too soon.
If the promulgation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong effectively put an end to the rampant social unrest fueled by anti-China hatemongering designed to facilitate the Western powers’ “containment strategy”, it is the decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system that will prevent anti-China subversives backed by hostile external forces from infiltrating the HKSAR’s governance structure through the flawed electoral system.
The improved electoral system will be
If the promulgation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong effectively put an end to the rampant social unrest fueled by anti-China hatemongering designed to facilitate the Western powers’ “containment strategy”, it is the decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system that will prevent anti-China subversives backed by hostile external forces from infiltrating the HKSAR’s governance structure through the flawed electoral system. immune to arbitrary politicization by anti-China forces and nurture a rational and healthy election culture in Hong Kong. Take Sunday’s Election Committee polls as an example: The new EC has been expanded from 1,200 to 1,500 seats with more subsectors than the previous configuration for broader representativeness and greater participation by people from across the social spectrum, thus better representing and serving the overall interest of Hong Kong society.
The popularity of the new, expanded EC is already evident as members of the public have responded enthusiastically to refreshingly positive campaign platforms of EC candidates since the nomination period started. The over 1,000 EC elections campaign stands set up in the streets two weeks ago were proof that local residents care about the EC members’ commitment to serving the overall interest of Hong Kong society as well as the best interest of the social or professional sectors they represent more than political grandstanding gimmicks.
“One country, two systems” is an unprecedented innovative system imbued with inclusiveness and diversity by design, which is why the HKSAR government as well as the central authorities have emphasized time and again the improved electoral system aims to ensure “patriots administering Hong Kong” for real instead of seeking “one voice” inside the governance structure. The term “patriot” is not defined by one’s political affiliation as long as they sincerely uphold the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the country’s sovereignty, national security and development interest, on which the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong depend. The fact that some contenders who have been critics of government policies were accepted as EC candidates shows that eradication of toxic, confrontational politics in elections does not mean shutting the door on diversity and constructive political discourse.