Political reform package should be voted down, says law expert

May 26, 2015 13:19
Professor Michael C. Davis said the proposal will simply replace the current chief executive of no legitimacy with one of fake legitimacy. Photo: HKEJ

The Hong Kong government’s proposed political reform package suggests that citizens are not entitled to a genuine choice of their next leader in the 2017 election, and therefore legislators should vote it down to protect the city's core value of the rule of law, according to an expert in constitutional law.

Michael C. Davis, a professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an interview that the government's call for the people to "take it first for future development" is meant to quell their opposition and demand for genuine universal suffrage.

The proposal will simply replace the current chief executive of no legitimacy with one of fake legitimacy, Davis said.

Passing the reform plan is just the same as accepting Beijing's White Paper issued last summer, which insists that the central government has “overall jurisdiction” over Hong Kong, and admitting its claim that the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 is no longer valid, he said.

The fear remains that Hong Kong may lose its core values and high level of autonomy, Davis said.

Allowing each member of the nominating committee to have more than two votes is nothing but a strategy of public relations, he said. To let citizens have a genuine choice is to keep the threshold of nomination low, as seen in developed countries.

He suggested the threshold in the proposal, that “a candidate must gain the approval of more than half of the committee members”, be changed to one-eighth or a little higher.

On the other hand, “nomination by citizens”, as insisted by the pro-democracy camp, is too vague, Davis said, adding that legislators should come up with more concrete suggestions.

He blamed the Hong Kong government for not standing up before Beijing. Instead of asking the central authorities for genuine universal suffrage, the government is resorting to scare tactics, telling the people there would be no democracy if they did not pocket the reform package first, Davis said.

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