I must tell you the sites I read and used for this post. It is a summary of three articles and one article with background info. on the same topic. They all have pictures and/or videos so you can see them once you are there.
Hong Kong’s legislature boldly rejected Beijing’s – China’s political center – proposal to allow HK citizens to vote for their Chief Executive from a group of candidates pre-screened (pre-chosen) by a panel in you guessed it: Beijing. To pass this electoral reform proposal, 2/3 of HK’s legislature – made up of 70 legislators – need to vote in favor of it. But because only 8 voted for it, 37 against it, and 28 “missed” the voting (“missed” because I do not believe that miscommunication was the cause), the proposal failed.
Political leaders in Beijing are really mad about this; one even said that this is the best deal they will ever get. This is because if this proposal did pass, HK will be the only city in China who had a “one person, one vote election,” which is true. Legislators and tenting youngsters are in favor of a more genuine democratic process for electing their Chief Executive are betting that there is a better offer in the future. That is quite a gamble in my opinion.
Are there any pre-existing agreements, laws, or documents about this? Yes there are. According to HK’s Basic Law aka”mini-constitution,” (a document that governs the city) “Beijing pledged to allow Hong Kong’s people to vote for the chief executive through universal suffrage ‘upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures'” (NY Times). Why did Beijing pledge such a thing? Because it was part of the deal for Britain to return HK to China in the Sino-British power transfer agreement in 1984 – China has to to give more autonomy to HK (Bloomberg Quicktake). In 2007, China said they would give HK open elections beginning in 2017. Why did they promise this? Because scandals emerged from the Beijing-chosen politicians.
Coming from a person who takes agreements and laws as they are, there is a strong validity for the HK legislature to pass the electoral reform proposal because the law said so, previous agreements said so, and previous promises said so. These are essentially the same thing, so that is what they should do. As one of the supporters (Beijing) said, “…some progress was better than none…” (NY Times) which I agree.
Furthermore, I believe that a smoother transition from state-chosen to people-chosen political candidates is needed, rather than a push directly to a people-chosen electoral process from a state-chosen one.
There have been plenty of protests for this push since the previous year and protesting has waned, but supporters argue that it is vital for support for this push. This issue has been simmering for longer than the public protests, and of course, how to conduct these elections. Democracy is very important, however, one must take the situation as a whole with their unique factors before making such an abrupt change.
What is at stake? HK is a stable financial hub that generally benefits the entire country. If it keeps getting rocked, nothing good will come out of it.
What do you think?