Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa urged pan-democrats to follow the will of the majority by voting for the government’s political reform proposal for the 2017 election, Ming Pao Daily reported on Thursday.
Speaking in a press conference on Wednesday, Tung, who is vice chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said pan-democrats should not be afraid of being labeled as “traitors of democracy” and instead consider the interest of the seven million Hong Kong people.
Tung’s appeal was immediately rejected by leaders of the pan-democratic camp, who said that by rejecting the government’s “rotten proposal”, they are simply listening to their conscience.
They likened the reform package to a street scam intended to cheat the people, and said it is their duty to reveal the truth to the public.
In his fourth public appearance to comment on political issues in seven months, Tung said the government proposal offers genuine universal suffrage which is constitutional, legal and reasonable by any measure.
He also said so-called international standards for universal suffrage never existed, noting that there are always different sets of rules for different places.
Tung said members of the pan-democratic camp could be eligible to run for chief executive, noting that the proposal allows up to 10 candidates to be nominated in the qualification round.
He said pan-democrats should have the courage to give it a try, but stressed that whether they can really become a chief executive candidate will depend on their performance.
Pan-democrats should consider the proposal independently without having to conform with a collective decision or position, which could be risking the future of Hong Kong people.
Democratic Party chief Emily Lau urged Tung to relay the actual situation in the territory to the central government, and lobby for a proposal that is acceptable to all parties in Hong Kong.
Civic Party’s Alan Leong said pan-democrats have a united stand on the issue because everyone knows the government proposal offers nothing but fake universal suffrage under the political framework set by the National People’s Congress Standing Committe on Aug. 31, 2014.
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