A new lawyers group said the National People’s Congress standing committee’s decision on Hong Kong electoral reform is only a “pre-emptive” guideline and does not have the force of law.
The committee’s power was limited to determining whether there was a need to change the election framework based on the Basic Law and and its 2004 interpretation of the mini constitution, Progressive Lawyers Group said in a submission to the government.
The Hong Kong government should not bind itself to the decision or have its hands tied because that would mean throwing the responsibility of reforming the election framework for the 2017 chief executive election to the the NPC standing committee, the group said.
The 50-member organization, comprising solicitors, barristers and law students, was established on Tuesday with the aim of defending Hong Kong’s core values of freedom, democracy and rule of law, according to Ming Pao Daily.
The group’s convenor is solicitor Kevin Yam, who made headlines last year when he launched a no-confidence vote against Law Society president Ambrose Lam.
The other two convenors are solicitor Jonathan Man and barrister Wilson Leung.
Yam said the purpose of the new organization is to provide another channel for young lawyers to express their views.
It will not act as a rival to the Hong Kong Bar Association or the Law Society of Hong Kong, of which he is a member.
Also, Yam said the group has no plans to contest seats in District Council and Legislative Council elections or the Chief Executive Election Committee.
Rather, it will use various means to spread its message directly to the community.
One of the group’s first official acts was to reflect its views on the proposed election framework which is undergoing a second round of public consultations.
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