A senior mainland official said on Sunday that there is no need for Beijing to make any promises regarding a possible revision of Hong Kong’s universal suffrage mechanism after 2017.
Zhang Rongshun, vice-chairman of the legislative affairs commission under the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said at a forum in Beijing that the central government doesn’t need to make any promise to assure the pan-democrats in Hong Kong of an amendment of the universal suffrage mechanism, Ming Pao Daily News reported.
The comments came as pan-democrats are skeptical of the political reform proposal that has been tabled by the NPC on the Hong Kong 2017 chief executive election.
Lawmakers fear that if they accept the bill, the election methods proposed for 2017 will be used forever.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Zhang said he remains optimistic that the political reform plan outlined by Beijing will be passed by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.
There is no need for any assurance that the laws could be revised later, he was quoted as saying.
Lau Siu-kai, a vice-chairman of the semi-official Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said Zhang’s comments fully reflect the central government’s stance that it will not promise any timeline or plans to revise the political reform proposal.
However, he added that although Beijing is unwilling in making promises for the future, it has never said that things could not be changed later if the existing proposal is accepted now.
Civic Party chief Alan Leong said Zhang’s remarks were off the mark. He added that he is confident that the pan-democrats could vote down the political reform proposal.
Democratic Party’s Emily Lau reiterated that the universal suffrage proposed by Beijing is not a genuine one.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same event in Beijing Sunday, Huang Lanfa, deputy director of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said there is no other way to pursue universal suffrage other than abiding by national laws.
Huang added that opinion polls in Hong Kong are increasingly pointing to the public’s view that the political reform proposal that is currently on the table must be accepted by the city’s lawmakers.
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