Chairman's Message
Chairman's Message - Promoting Gradual and Orderly Constitutional Development According to Law

Dr. Charles Yeung 【President】

Silver Bauhinia Star, JP

Premier Li Keqiang stated in his first work report that Hong Kong must promote democracy in accordance with the law. During the NPC and CPPCC sessions, Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), reiterated the Central Government’s stance that it firmly supports Hong Kong’s democratic development in accordance with the law. He also said that Hong Kong’s universal suffrage system must be in line with Hong Kong’s actual situation and the Basic Law, and that the Chief Executive (CE) must also meet the requirement of “loving the nation and Hong Kong”. I very much agree with these viewpoints, and hope all sectors in our society can seek a common ground and have rational discussions on the legal basis of the Basic Law and NPCSC decisions, working together towards a constitutional reform package widely accepted by our society.

Upholding Four Principles for Universal Suffrage

CGCC has repeatedly stressed that four major principles have to be upheld in deciding the CE selection method: (1) the CE election by universal suffrage must comply with the Basic Law; (2) it must be in line with the NPCSC’s interpretations and decisions; (3) CE must be a person who “loves the nation and Hong Kong” and “is not against the Central Government”; (4) a CE candidate must be nominated by a broadly representative nomination committee in accordance with democratic procedures.

As the head of the HKSAR, CE has a special constitutional status under the “One Country, Two Systems”. CGCC agrees that CE has to be a person who loves the nation and Hong Kong and is not against the Central Government in order to effectively meet the constitutional responsibilities and requirements for CE under the Basic Law. It is also a necessary procedure under the law that the CE-elect shall be ultimately appointed by the Central Government.

In our view, all sectors in society should strive to ensure that the method for selecting CE in 2017 will comply with China’s basic policies for Hong Kong, and avoid any violation of the Basic Law and deviation from the NPCSC’s interpretations and decisions. Otherwise, it will be difficult for Hong Kong to attain the goal of universal suffrage; furthermore, its rule of law and core values will be breached.

Holding Fast to Arrangement of Nomination by Nomination Committee

Article 45 of the Basic Law clearly states that the candidates for CE election shall be nominated by a broadly representative nomination committee in accordance with democratic procedures. After that, CE shall be elected by Hong Kong people on a “one person, one vote” basis. CGCC agrees that the power of nominating CE candidates is rested only in the nomination committee, and the nomination shall be conducted according to the “majority rule” democratic principle and procedures for reflecting the collective will of the nomination committee. Only by materializing the institutional arrangement on the nomination committee’s substantive nomination power can the CE election by universal suffrage meet the requirements of the Basic Law.

On the formation of the nomination committee, we agree that it can follow the existing Election Committee, which is made up by Hong Kong’s four major sectors that cover 38 subsectors representing various fields such as business and professional, working class, sports, arts, culture, education, social welfare services and religious groups. A nomination committee formed in this way can adequately represent the interests of all social sectors in Hong Kong, ensuring that a truly “broadly representative” CE is elected. The nomination committee should also draw reference from the proportions of the four sectors in the current Election Committee, serving as a fair, appropriate platform for “balanced participation” by all strata.

CGCC believes that our society should work towards the voting right to elect CE by universal suffrage on a “one person, one vote” basis. We should no longer linger on nomination schemes that fail to comply with the Basic Law and NPCSC decisions, nor should we focus on whether certain people can be candidates. Doing these will only hinder the community from reaching a consensus.

Respecting Hong Kong’s Rule of Law

Besides, we strongly oppose some people in society advocating illegal and confrontational actions, such as “Occupy Central”, to make their pleas. We are worried that these actions may end up in violent confrontations that will not only undermine our economy, business environment and social order, but also seriously hurt the rule of law - a long-standing spirit of Hong Kong.

As a member of the business community, CGCC cherishes Hong Kong’s hard-earned political system and economic achievements. Confrontational actions will do no help to achieve universal suffrage. Not only that, they will affect the normal operation of Hong Kong’s financial and commercial activities, shatter investment confidence, and weaken the long-term competitiveness of Hong Kong.

In conclusion, it is the common aspiration of the Central Government, the HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong general public to realize the CE election by universal suffrage in 2017 as planned. Hong Kong’s constitutional reform must go through the “five steps”, any of which is not easy. I therefore hope all sectors in society would work together for the overall interests of Hong Kong by having rational discussions in the light of the law and the actual situation and narrowing their disagreements. Let’s join hands to make a step towards the CE election through one-person-one-vote by Hong Kong people.