Larry Luxner’s April 30 article, “Hong Kong Anxiously Counts Down to 2017,” gets some very important facts wrong on Hong Kong’s constitutional reform.
Implementation of universal suffrage for the election of our Chief Executive (CE) requires constitutional changes — a tripartite process that involves approval by our legislature, the Chief Executive and the central government in Beijing. This is not a matter that Hong Kong can decide alone.
It is wrong to say that constitutional reform, which would allow five million eligible Hong Kong voters to directly elect our Chief Executive in 2017, was “shot down by the Chinese Communist Party” as Luxner incorrectly reports. Instead, a package of proposals was only recently put to our legislature on April 22 for consideration, with arrangements to ensure that elections would be conducted in an open, fair, transparent and competitive manner.
As part of the institutional process, it is up to our legislature to pass the reform package. If it passes by a two-thirds majority, Hong Kong will have reached a milestone in its democratic development.
If the package is rejected, our democratic development will come to a standstill. The introduction of universal suffrage for our Chief Executive, as well as for our legislature, will be delayed.
This is a choice that our legislators in Hong Kong will have to make.
The Hong Kong Police is responsible for maintaining Hong Kong’s law and order. The Police displayed strong restraint and tolerance during the 79-day Occupy protests, which gridlocked our city. The operations to reopen the roads were carried out by the Hong Kong Police and unarmed bailiffs enforcing court injunction orders, not by Beijing or “Chinese authorities” as Luxner erroneously reports. The process was largely peaceful and with minimum confrontation because of overwhelming public support to restore order and ample notice and warnings. Most protesters actually left the illegally occupied thoroughfares voluntarily.
Hong Kong commissioner to the United States