Presidium formed for Dec. 19 election of Hong Kong NPC deputies

November 23, 2017 12:33
Wang Chen, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said an NPC deputy must have national and patriotic awareness. Photo: China News Service

Most members of the electoral college that will elect the 36 Hong Kong deputies to the next National People's Congress (NPC) showed up at its first pre-election meeting at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai and selected a 19-member presidium, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and two of her predecessors, Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, were among those selected to join the presidium.

Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who is on bail pending an appeal to his earlier conviction of misconduct in public office, was dropped off the presidium list that used to include all former and incumbent chief executives.

The list saw eight new members, including Lam, former secretary for food and health Dr. Ko Wing-man, sitting NPC Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, sitting NPC members Maria Tam Wai-chu and Yeung Yiu-chung, former president and vice-chancellor of the Hong Kong Baptist University Ng Ching-fai, former lawmaker Chan Kam-lam from the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Dr. Tam Kam-kau, a sitting member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body.

The election of the Hong Kong deputies to the 13th NPC will be held on Dec. 19, with the nomination period beginning this Friday and closing on Dec. 4.

Giving a speech at Wednesday’s meeting, NPC Standing Committee vice chairman and secretary-general Wang Chen pointed out that an NPC deputy must have national and patriotic awareness.

Wang said the election criteria have changed, requiring all candidates to declare that they will safeguard the Chinese constitution and the Basic Law, uphold the “one country, two systems” principle, pledge loyalty to the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and accept no financial assistance concerning elections from foreign countries.

He also stressed that Beijing has zero tolerance for any speech or action pertaining to Hong Kong independence.

Such separatist advocacy violates not only the “one country, two systems” principle but also the Chinese constitution and the Basic Law, while seriously damaging national sovereignty, Wang said.

CPPCC standing member Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, spokesman of the presidium, told media after the meeting that the presidium has the right not to list a candidate as a nominee or to remove a candidate who is found to have behaved in a way that is contrary to the declaration he or she has signed, adding that all of its decisions will be fair and just.

Democratic Party lawmaker Dr. Helena Wong Pik-wan said the new requirements are “somewhat difficult” for candidates from the pan-democratic camp to meet and therefore she believes no democrat will join the election.

That said, she revealed the pan-democratic camp controls about 300 votes in the electoral college, enough to make some individual candidates get elected or not.

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