24 March 2019
A mass resignation of pan-democrats from the legislature remains an option, James To says. Photo: Reuters
A mass resignation of pan-democrats from the legislature remains an option, James To says. Photo: Reuters

Pan-democratic lawmakers slam govt report to Beijing

Pan-democratic legislators said the Report on the Recent Community and Political Situation in Hong Kong, which the government submitted to Beijing Tuesday, was totally unsubstantiated and amounted to the “rape” of the public’s views, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.

They vowed to veto any proposal for electoral reform based on the ruling in August by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

In the 158-page report, the government concluded it is the “common aspiration” of the central authorities, the Hong Kong government and the people of Hongkong to have universal suffrage in 2017 “strictly in accordance with” the Basic Law and Beijing’s decisions — despite earlier declarations by senior Hong Kong ministers that the report would be purely “descriptive” and not take a specific stance or arrive at any conclusion.

Lester Shum, deputy secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, called the report “rubbish”.

The report was submitted to the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and made available online a day before the government begins its second round of public consultation on political reform.

It summarizes major events and protests between August 31 and December 15 in time sequence. The main body of the report takes up 18 of its 158 pages, and the rest consists of appendixes. It includes statements from different groups and the results of published opinion polls.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said people understand after the experience of the past few months that universal suffrage in 2017 can be realized only based on the NPC’s decisions and that it is useless to try to force the government or Beijing to do otherwise.

Alan Leong Kah-kit, leader of the Civic Party, said the so-called “common aspiration” applied only to the Hong Kong and central governments and urged Leung and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor not to drag all citizens along with them.

Leong reiterated that all the 23 pan-democratic lawmakers will veto any election plan confined to the NPC’s framework.

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun said what the pan-democratic camp should do now is find ways to gain support from citizens for a restart of political reform from scratch.

To said it remains an option that pan-democratic lawmakers resign en masse from the Legislative Council to trigger a de facto referendum on political reform.

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