For all his talk about “following the law”, it is shocking but surprising that Dear Leader CY Leung has signed the anti-Occupy Central petition. Benny Tai, a legal scholar from the University of Hong Kong quite rightly has come out to say that CY has shown poor judgment. Again, given CY’s track record, nothing surprising about that.
I brought up the “law” in this context as, by law, the Chief Executive may not be affiliated to a political party, i.e. he has to be politically neutral. This is enshrined in Article 31 of the Chief Executive Election Ordinance (Cap 569):
(1) A person declared under section 28 as elected at an election shall, within 7 working days after the declaration-
(a) publicly make a statutory declaration to the effect that he is not a member of any political party; and
(b) lodge with the Returning Officer a written undertaking to the effect that he will not, if appointed as the Chief Executive-
(i) become a member of any political party; or
(ii) do any act that has the effect of subjecting himself to the discipline of any political party
Then again, by law, the Chief Executive has to be a person of integrity:
Basic Law Article 47
(1) The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must be a person of integrity, dedicated to his or her duties.
The following story appeared today on RTHK’s news website:
Petition by mainlanders acceptable
State-run newspaper, the Global Times, says it is reasonable to let mainland citizens take part in a petition to protest the Occupy Central campaign. It said its citizens in Hong Kong were also stakeholders in the local community and had the right to express their views.
Occupy Central is planning a sit-in protest to push for democracy. The Alliance for Peace and Democracy in Hong Kong said it has collected 380,000 signatures since Saturday against the Occupy Central campaign.
What is RTHK trying to say? My best guess as to what this article is trying to tell us is that the Alliance for Peace and Democracy in Hong Kong has stationed its signature collectors in places with many Mainlanders and that most of the signatories are in fact Mainlanders. As all of this is informal, it is not really a question of whether it is acceptable or not. But if my interpretation of what RTHK is trying to say is correct, then the whole story only reinforces what so many Hongkongers are complaining about in the first place, which is that outsiders are running their city.
Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress, has apparently elaborated on the meaning of “loving Hong Kong and China”.
The conventional wisdom is that the meaning of “loving Hong Kong and China” is not analogous to, say, an American “loving America” or an Italian “loving Italy”. Instead, “loving Hong Kong and China” is cipher for saying “supporting one-party rule”.
This conventional wisdom has now essentially been confirmed by Zhang, who is quoted as saying that NOT ALL pan-democrats would be considered as people who don’t love Hong Kong and China (emphasis added).
Presumably he means that, potentially, there are a few pan-democrats who may not object to one-party rule in China, provided that Hong Kong were afforded some limited measure of democracy. But the mere fact that Zhang basically equates being a pan-democrat with not loving Hong Kong and China says it all.
Yesterday marked the third time in the past 18 years that a major air disaster has happened on 17 July.
TWA 800 on 17 July 1996
TAM 3054 on 17 July 2009
and now MH 17 on 17 July 2014.
It would be interesting to look at the statistical meaning (if any) of these accidents all happening on the same day of the year, as well as more general statistics of whether, for instance, air crashes are more likely in the summer months etc? The results could then also be sorted by cause, i.e. mechanical failure, human error, terrorism etc.
At least everyone is now in agreement that the key issue in Hong Kong’s universal suffrage discourse is the nominating committee, it’s composition, it’s procedures and it’s role – these are the key questions.
The next step for pro-democracy advocates is to focus on the details of Article 45, as discussed here, and explain to the public that Article 45 does not say what Beijing thinks it says, and that the nominating committee must act ‘in accordance with democratic procedures’.