Motion on “Seeking the Invalidation of the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Reactivating the Constitutional Reform Process” (2015.02.04)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): Deputy President, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) has set down the framework for constitutional reform for almost half a year and during this time, social incidents such as the Occupy movement happened and the Central Authorities has stayed firm as a rock. Yet, people even propose today to invalidate the decision of the NPCSC and reactivate the constitutional reform process. I think the opposition camp is probably living beyond the real world and they should immediately come back to reality.

The speeches made by the opposition camp show that they do not understand the Central Authorities. Some Members say that the Central Authorities will make concessions in the final stage because they have done so in the past. They also say that if the constitutional reform package cannot be passed, it will be difficult to administer Hong Kong. These views are but self-deceiving and they may mislead the public. In fact, some people consider that the Central Authorities have been too lenient over these 17 years after the reunification, and so the distance between Hong Kong and the Mainland has widened to an extent which makes some people speak only of “two systems” and disregard “one country”. These people think that the lenient policy obviously does not work. Apparently, the Central Authorities have recently tightened their policy on Hong Kong. Even in the face of such an important incident as the Occupy movement, the Central Authorities have not changed its mind. Why should it make any concessions now? Regarding the point on difficulties in administration, I believe administering Hong Kong will not be more difficult than administering 1.3 billion people. Even if it is difficult to administer Hong Kong in the future, the ones who suffer will be Hong Kong people only. As such, how can people use this point as a bargaining chip?

The decision made by the Central Authorities may not be agreeable to some Members. Some Members have spoken about international standards at great length earlier. Up to this moment, these Members still fail to understand that the Central Authorities do not trust the opposition camp and so we have to take things forward step by step. It is surprising that they do not even understand this point. Besides, we need to understand that Hong Kong cannot consider itself to have equal standing with the Central Authorities and ask for a negotiation between two equal parties. If people do not understand this reality, they will be seeking to negotiate in the wrong way which will surely drive them into a dead end. I believe that only when the Central Authorities trust Hong Kong will there be an election method better than the one provided in the 31 August Decision. In addition, we have to consider an important issue. If the constitutional reform package is vetoed this time, we cannot expect any change in constitutional reform in the next 10 years. The year 2027 is only 20 years away from 2047, which is the end point of the status quo for 50 years. As we are not sure now if the principle of “one country, two systems” will still be adopted beyond that point, what bargaining power will Hong Kong have in negotiating for universal suffrage?

What are the public views of Hong Kong at present? On 11 January, Ming Pao Daily News published the results of a public opinion survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong. The results showed that 56% of the respondents considered that the Legislative Council should endorse the constitutional reform package. The results also showed that if the Government would undertake that the system for electing the Chief Executive would be more democratic in 2022, 64% of the respondents would give their support for the package. The opposition camp likes to talk about public opinion surveys, but when the public views are so clear now, a Member has said earlier that such surveys are not necessarily scientific. We cannot really ignore the results, can we? I believe that when the Government proceeds with the relevant work, people will see the picture more clearly and more people will support the approach for Hong Kong to “implement the proposal first”. The trend as shown by the opinion survey is that the rate of support for the proposal may be as high as two thirds or more in the future. Besides, it is reported in the media that a representative of a foreign government has tried to persuade the opposition camp not to veto the constitutional reform package. When the whole world supports the package, why does the opposition camp oppose it stubbornly? Some members of the public have asked me this question: Since millions of people support the passage of the package, on what ground are some Members disregarding their wishes?

I very much hope that Members of the opposition camp will not insist on their own way. They must respect the wishes of the people and do the right thing to be expected of directly elected legislators. The rational democrats should think independently and they should bear in mind that they are not servants or slaves of the radical democrats. More importantly, they should not become the yes-men of the radical camp or the camp of student movements and agree to be led around by the nose for fear of losing the votes of participants of student movements and young people. Students and young people lack working experience, and therefore we cannot blame them for making mistakes. However, if the rational democrats make mistakes, no one will show any mercy. The rational democrats should engage a reputable organization to conduct an opinion survey to find out the views of the people and take them as the basis of their voting on the proposal. I also hope that the Occupy Central incident will help the opposition camp realize that the present predicament is not going to benefit anyone and the opposition camp will be driven into a dead to benefit a few radicals only. If the opposition camp can think thoroughly, they will realize their influence on their supporters. If they make good use of their influence, they can probably affect the results of the election of the Chief Executive. Among the three Chief Executive candidates, the one they support will have a far better chance to win and so they can probably become the “king makers”. The elected Chief Executive will be indebted to their support and the political power of the opposition camp will then be greatly increased.

Therefore, under the present circumstances, passing the constitutional reform package will bring great benefits to the opposition camp. On the contrary, if they insist on vetoing it, they may win some applause from the academia and young people, but they may have to bear the dire consequences of opposing the mainstream public views. That may even become the turning point which marks the defeat of the opposition camp. In the end, only a few radicals will benefit and so I hope that Members can consider the matter carefully.

“Implementing the proposal first” at this stage and seeking the agreement of the Central Authorities to improve the election method gradually is surely the way forward for constitutional reform in Hong Kong.

I so submit.

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