BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) — Chinese authorities are steadfast in promoting a universal suffrage package proposed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) government and sincerely hope the city can seize the opportunity to advance its democratic development, said a commentary published on Friday.
The Hong Kong SAR government plans to submit the plan, which was revealed in late April, to the SAR Legislative Council (LegCo) for a vote on June 17, which means that the realization of a “one person, one vote” chief executive election in 2017 has come to a critical stage.
The package proposed by the SAR government is the most appropriate institutional arrangement for Hong Kong’s universal suffrage, said the commentary carried on the People’s Daily, China’s leading newspaper, adding it is in line with the Basic Law, decisions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, as well as national sovereignty, security and development interests.
The commentary said the plan has given consideration to interests of all social strata, conforms to the SAR’s reality and has won broad support from residents.
To realize the city’s universal suffrage is a goal set by the Hong Kong Basic Law and a solemn promise made by the Chinese central government to all SAR residents, said the commentary.
It said after its return to China’s rule in 1997, the central authorities have been steadily promoting Hong Kong’s democratic development in line with the basic law and Hong Kong’s situation.
The NPC Standing Committee, China’s top legislature, has clarified legal procedures, a timetable and roadmap for Hong Kong’s democratic development, laying a solid foundation for the ultimate realization of universal suffrage.
After the top legislature made a legal decision that Hong Kong can launch universal suffrage in 2017 on Aug. 31, 2014, central government officials in charge of the matter have talked to people from all walks of life in Hong Kong, explaining the decision. Meanwhile, the SAR government held several public consultations.
The measures show the central authorities’ firm stance in supporting Hong Kong’s democratic development, said the commentary.
To realize the “one person, one vote” chief executive election in 2017, members of the LegCo played a crucial role. However, some Hong Kong legislators hold different views about the universal suffrage package, threatening to veto the plan which states that candidates to be the next SAR chief executive will be picked by a 1,200-member nominating committee from four social sectors consisting of 38 sub-sectors.
Some trumpet so-called “real” universal suffrage with the real intention of seizing administrative power.
As the package must be endorsed by at least two-thirds of LegCo members, legislators are critical in deciding whether Hong Kong would reach the democratic milestone, which is now only a step away.
If they persist in vetoing the plan, not only will the right to choose for more than five million voters be annulled, the economic development of the SAR will also be affected. Such a prospect does no good for anyone.
The central authorities sincerely hope all the legislators use their vote in line with the best interests of Hong Kong and the nation, take into account the majority of Hong Kong people’s opinion and make historical contributions to the SAR’s democracy and social progress, said the commentary.