Almost without exception, critics have cited “defending Hong Kong’s democracy” in their crusade against the electoral reform package adopted by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC). Politicians from Washington have even claimed in opposing the proposed reform that they stand by Hong Kong people. Ironically, the overhaul has received widespread public support. We know now by whom they stand.
A recent poll by the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre showed nearly 70 percent of the respondents support the NPC’s move to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system. Furthermore, a recent campaign by a non-government organization to rally public support for the NPC decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system collected 2.38 million signatures of Hong Kong residents within a short period of time.
A recent campaign by a non-government organization to rally public support for the NPC decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system collected 2.38 million signatures of Hong Kong residents within a short period of time
The popular support for the electoral overhaul suggests Hong Kong people prefer stability and good governance over lofty political ideas and slogans that do not suit the actual conditions of Hong Kong. The public in general, after years of excessive politicization, social division and frequent challenges to the rule of law by opposition groups, have become more rational and pragmatic than before and now understand the electoral system must suit the actual condition of Hong Kong.
In the Bauhinia survey, most respondents agreed that the overhaul plan has strengthened their confidence in the future of Hong Kong. This can be easily understood from the context that endless political wrangling, particularly inside the legislature, has crippled the SAR government’s ability to tackle deep-seated social problems, as well as the city’s ability to further develop and diversify its economy. The electoral reform will effectively plug the loopholes in Hong Kong’s electoral system, putting an end to the disruptive political bickering, restoring political order and creating a sustainable development environment for the city, which are essential for ensuring the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.
The experience from the past two decades, especially in the past several years, has helped Hong Kong people realize that democracy must progress gradually and according to the actual situation. After all, as the saying goes, “haste makes waste”.
Another reason why the electoral reform has been well received is that the plan adopted by the NPCSC is based on mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong, and has incorporated suggestions from various sectors of Hong Kong society.
Before the NPCSC adopted its plan for the electoral overhaul, the central authorities had listened carefully to public opinions in Hong Kong through various channels, including more than 60 focused discussions attended by people from all walks of life.
The NPC made the decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system and institutionalized it in the form of amendments to Annex I and Annex II of the Basic Law. The process conforms to both the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The reform plan passed by the NPCSC, the top organ of state power of China, provides the statutory foundation for the precept of “patriots governing Hong Kong”, which in fact has been part and parcel of “one country, two systems” ever since this principle was established in the 1980s, and makes the overhaul to be implemented by the Hong Kong SAR government above and beyond any challenge in terms of legality and constitutionality.
The author is a current affairs commentator.
Source：China Daily ［2021-04-08］