Date
22 October 2017
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has singled out Benny Tai and other organizers of Occupy Central for not helping the cause of political reform in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has singled out Benny Tai and other organizers of Occupy Central for not helping the cause of political reform in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

No international standard required for HK elections, Leung says

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has pointed the finger at Benny Tai and other organizers of Occupy Central for not helping the cause of political reform in Hong Kong by their words and action.

Talking about universal suffrage, Leung said nowhere in the Basic Law is there any mention of an “international standard”, Ming Pao Daily News reported Wednesday. Nor is there any abstract representation of the need to fulfil any international standard.

Leung said Hong Kong has never complied with international standards when it comes to voter rights as well as the relationship between the central and special administrative region governments.

In Hong Kong, while the chief executive has to be appointed by the central government, foreigners who have permanent residency are given voting rights.

If international standard is applied, do we disqualify those with foreign passports from our five million plus voters, Leung asked.

Leung’s speech has drawn criticism from some scholars who specialize in elections and international politics.

Professor Johannes Chan, dean of the faculty of law of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), said the international standard mentioned by the Occupy Central movement is to ensure that people with different political affiliation can become chief executive candidates, and that there should not be unreasonable restrictions on the nomination mechanism.

Chan questioned Leung’s logic of assuming universal suffrage in Hong Kong need not be compliant with international standard because there is no such standard applicable for Hong Kong’s one country, two systems.

Both Professor Michael Davis and Professor Simon Young from HKU said that despite the unique one country, two systems, the Hong Kong government still has the obligation to comply with the International Human Rights Treaties.

Legislator Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party, who is also an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, cited the case of Scotland where residents are qualified to vote on September 18 to determine whether it would become an independent country.

“Voters need not be Scottish to be eligible to vote and here we are talking about seeking independency for a country,” Chan said.

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