Chairman's Message
Chairman's Message - Supporting NPCSC Decision and Promoting Steady Constitutional Reform Progress

Dr. Charles Yeung 【President】

Silver Bauhinia Star, JP

The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) has decided on the framework for electing the Chief Executive (CE) by universal suffrage in Hong Kong, making clear provisions on the composition of the Nominating Committee (NC), the nomination threshold for candidates and the maximum number of candidates, among other issues. NPCSC’s decision has set a clear direction for Hong Kong’s long-term constitutional development. We welcome the decision, and hope the Hong Kong community to have in-depth discussion as soon as possible on the related details and specific procedures for electing CE by universal suffrage based on NPCSC’s decision and framework and according to the relevant Basic Law provisions.

Clear Framework Set for Electing CE by Universal Suffrage
CGCC always supports the gradual and orderly constitutional development of Hong Kong. On the constitutional reform, we have actively expressed our stances and views that the CE election must comply with the Basic Law and the NPCSC interpretation and decisions, CE must be a person who “loves the country and Hong Kong” and is not against the Central Government, and CE candidates shall be nominated by NC. We are pleased to see that in late August NPCSC examined and passed the report on Hong Kong’s constitutional reform and gave explanations on the framework for amending the 2017 CE selection method. Moreover, it made specific decisions on certain core issues, making clear that a broadly representative NC must be formed in the CE election by universal suffrage.

We believe that NC’s importance and function are unchallengeable in the CE election by universal suffrage and its nomination power should not be weakened. Only institutional arrangements that can bring out NC’s substantive nomination power are consistent with the Basic Law requirements for the CE election by universal suffrage. Besides, we agree that the NC composition should follow the existing composition of the Election Committee, which comprises 1,200 members from four sectors. This composition can effectively cover all strata and sectors of society, fully embodying the principles of “broad representation” and “balanced participation”.

What is more, CGCC supports NPCSC’s decision that candidates must have the endorsement of over half of all NC members before standing for the CE election, which not only conforms to the important democratic principle of majority rules, but also reflects NC’s collective will. Besides, we believe that limiting the numbers of candidates to two to three can ensure competition in the CE election while avoiding too complicated, social resources-consuming election processes. This arrangement can also well take care of the legitimacy, fairness and competitive nature of the election.

Mainstream Public Opinion Supports Rational Discussion on Universal Suffrage According to Law
In fact, it is the common aspiration of the vast majority of Hong Kong people to see the CE election by universal suffrage happen in 2017. Results of many opinion polls indicate that more than half of the respondent citizens agree that despite diverse views on the nomination process, a 2017 constitutional reform package should be “accepted for the time being”, and that a reasonable universal suffrage package should be sought through rational discussion and negotiation instead of confrontational means.

In addition, the “opposing violence and Occupy Central, supporting peace and democracy” campaign organized by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy a month ago has received support from the political and business sectors and the general public. In just one month, the organizer collected over 1.5 million signatures. Moreover, some 193,000 people participated in the “March for Peace and Universal Suffrage” to express their desire for peaceful, rational discussion on Hong Kong’s constitutional reform.

Opposing Illegal Confrontational Means in Pursuing Demands
CGCC disapproves of some people in society using illegal confrontational actions, such as Occupy Central, to pursue their demands. What they do are not only unconstructive to candid dialogues among various sectors, but also negative to Hong Kong’s economy, business environment and financial and commercial activities, dampening businesses’ investment confidence and undermining Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness. We are worried that the Occupy Central movement would disrupt social order, block the traffic and affect people’s daily lives. Worse still, it may cause unnecessary conflicts and erode the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Through different channels, we have voiced our opposition to Occupy Central - an illegal confrontational action that will do harm to the rule of law and social order. We have also aligned ourselves with other chambers and friendly groups to publish statements on newspapers and actively joined activities such as the “Sign for Peace and Democracy Movement” and the said march. By doing these, we have demonstrated our commitment to maintain Hong Kong’s economic prosperity and stable social development. More importantly, we hope to make it clear our unwillingness to see an impasse in Hong Kong’s constitution reform, and our eagerness for the realization of the “one-person-one-vote” CE election in Hong Kong.

In conclusion, the realization of the 2017 CE election by universal suffrage will mark an important milestone in Hong Kong’s constitutional development. It will also carry far-reaching implications for the country’s sovereignty and security, as well as Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability. We sincerely hope that all sectors in society can put aside their prejudices and be rational and pragmatic in forging the biggest consensus based on the Basic Law and the NPCSC framework decision, so that a constitutional reform package that is widely accepted by society can be worked out. Let’s work together to drive Hong Kong’s democratic development forward.