Beijing is sincere in pursuing universal suffrage for Hong Kong and is willing to listen to the views of different parties on electoral reform, a senior Beijing official said on Thursday.
“Never before has the central government spent such a long time [five months] to conduct consultation on political reform in Hong Kong, and held three consecutive symposiums, inviting such a wide range of interested parties, to discuss the issue,” Li Fei, deputy chief secretary of the National’ People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee and chairman of the NPC Basic Law Committee, said in a speech opening a meeting with Hong Kong members of the NPC and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Shenzhen.
Li also said it was an unprecedented act for Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, to visit Shenzhen and meet with representatives of Hong Kong political parties last month, RTHK News reported.
He reiterated that Hong Kong’s next chief executive to be selected by universal suffrage must “love China, love Hong Kong”.
Li said he was told by many NPC Standing Committee members that they want to implement universal suffrage in Hong Kong but oppose the idea of civil nomination in choosing the candidates to the 2017 chief executive election.
They also expressed concern over the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement and that it would hurt Hong Kong’s economy, he said.
When asked by a reporter whether one must get more than half of the vote of the nominating committee to be able to run in the chief executive election, Li said the NPC standing committee has not yet made any decision and will discuss it next week.
He added that the nomination of chief executive candidates must reflect the “collective” will of the nominating committee, and therefore, it is likely to follow the principle of “the minority is subordinate to the majority”.
Central government officials were scheduled to hold another symposium with members of the Legislative Council in the afternoon and also meet separately with representatives of the pan-democratic camp.
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