Hong Kong Says More Action Needed on Universal Suffrage
Patience is running low in Hong Kong, with 27 lawmakers and 12 pro-democracy groups forming an alliance on March 21 to urge a direct election of their leader, without Beijing’s interference.
The Alliance of True Democracy aims to empower citizens to achieve what is commonly known as dual Universal Suffrage—election of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council.
The next election for the Chief Executive has been set for 2017, but increasing control from the mainland, hand-picking of officials and clamping down on democracy have angered the former British colony.
Lee Cheuk Yan, general secretary of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, says time is running out to turn things around.
“This is a critical time for Hong Kong citizens and the democratic movement fighting with the CCP regime and Hong Kong interest groups. The next few years are also very important because we have come to the point of no room to bear and no time to wait.”
Joseph Cheng, the convener of Alliance, believes the task of securing Hong Kong’s future lies in gaining the maximum amount of public support.
Leung Kwok-hung, member of the Legislative Council from the League of Social Democrats, said there is no doubt that every party has its own standpoint.
“Even though there are different ideas [between the parties], it should not be a big hinderance because all of us have the common goal that universal suffrage becomes true as soon as possible,” he said.
In the effort to promote political reform, an earlier alliance of moderate democrats was formed in 2010, known as The Alliance for Universal Suffrage. They pushed for a compromise that became known as the “one person, two votes” arrangement.
The deal aimed to allow voters to cast a ballot in a district council constituency even if they could not vote in any functional constituency.
However, Beijing’s push to alienate the more pan-democratic parties put a serious rift in the process.
Shi Zangshan, an expert in China issues in Washington, D.C., thinks that only if Hong Kong’s people unite together and cooperate sincerely can true universal suffrage be realised in Hong Kong. The CCP is well experienced in dealing with enemies and the key point is dissolving and then attacking separately. It is a very common strategy for the CCP to create problems and disputes in different groups.
Shi Zangshan said it took 10 years to increase the members of the Hong Kong Election Committee from 400 to 800 and then 1,200, and this was the so-called “progressive approach.” At this speed, universal suffrage in Hong Kong will take 10,000 years to realize.
He stressed the Alliance has to cooperate with different parties in Hong Kong, as well as democratic groups in Mainland China. As long as the CCP exists, Mainland China has no democracy and Hong Kong has no true democracy, either.
“Hong Kong democratic parties have to look to themselves as China’s democratic parties and the highest goal is to realise democracy in all of China. With the CCP, there is no true universal suffrage.
“In the current stage, the largest common goal is to fight against CCP dictatorship for all Hong Kong and Mainland China democratic parties and groups,” said Shi.
Translated by Aileen Wu. Written in English by Sonya Bryskine.
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