This is not from a news article but The Real Hong Kong News believes that without providing a clear overview of Hong Kong’s political system, it is impossible for people to fully understand nor to analysis the situation in Hong Kong.
Below is a brief introduction written by the editors at The Real Hong Kong News:
Hong Kong’s political system has a number of peculiar characteristics: registered voters (residents above 18 years of age) can vote for their representative in the territory’s Legislative Council (Legco – Hong Kong’s government is unicameral, unlike those of most western democracies with a junior and senior house). These elected members then serve their geographical constituencies and can be re-elected at subsequent elections, or replaced if they fail to please their electorate. Separately, but still sitting within the legislative council, and matching the numbers of representatives of the geographical constituencies at 35:35 are the “functional” constituencies’ representatives. These are elected by special-interest groups in the business community (reference here for more details) who are largely pro-Peking (Hong Kong’s business community has always put its own profits ahead of social good, ever since the first traders settled in Hong Kong, peddling opium in return for silk, tea and porcelain). Since government bills need a simple majority, while private members’ bills need a majority, separately, within 1) the functional and 2) the geographic constituencies, the business lobby holds an effective power to steam-roller government bills into law, and to veto private members’ bills.
To institute a free, fair, and representative electoral process, “functional” constituencies need to be abolished.
Above the Legislative Council sits the Executive Council (Exco) – made up of members invited or ‘appointed” by the Chief Executive. Exco is the equivalent of the US president’s special advisors, but rather different to a “cabinet” in a British-style electoral system in that the cabinet can only be made up of elected parliamentarians, whereas the US president and Hong Kong’s chief executive can nominate whomever they choose to fulfil these roles.
The chief executive (CE) himself is elected by a “closed circle” of 1,200 electors from a shortlist of candidates they themselves have selected. The 1,200 electors are themselves elected from within the functional constituencies with additional members from religious groups and about 8% nominated directly or indirectly by Peking. Thus Hong Kong’s “democracy” is set up cynically to disenfranchise its people.
To institute a free, fair and representative electoral process, the “closed circle” voting system needs to be abolished, as does the pre-selection process, such that anyone can stand on his or her own merits, and be elected on a first-past-the-post one-man-one-vote “universal suffrage” model.
Both of these necessary pre-requisites for free, fair and representative elections have been moving in reverse over the past ten years with more functional constituencies being added to the legislative council, and more electors being added to the “closed pool” CE election committee.