Hong Kong Economic Journal
30th June, 2014
Lau Siu-kai: Under One-Country Two-Systems, Election Result has to be Predetermined
Lau Siu-kai, Vice President National Association of Study on Hong Kong and Macau and a member of the National Committee of CPPCC, said in his newly published book that Hong Kong’s democratisation can only accommodate and facilitate the execution of One-Country Two-Systems. He also said that Chinese government can never accept the “uncertainty” of an election, and the election result has to be predetermined or planned. Chinese Government, he added, will never allow anyone who is against Peking and against One-Country Two-Systems to become Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
Civil Party’s leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said he was shocked to hear Lau’s comments. He stressed that in any democratic election, no one can predict the result until the ballots are counted. Lee Cheuk-yan from Labour Party criticised Lau for legitimising a “fake referendum” for the Chinese Government and said that if Chinese Government wants to “100% sure about the result of an election” the best way is to “simply appoint (the Chief Executive)”.
In his new book “Hong Kong’s Unique Democratic Road”, Lau detailed Chinese Government’s views on Hong Kong democratic development based on his long term relations with the Government and he believes that it will not be far from what Chinese Government actually thinks.
Lau pointed out that Hong Kong’s democratisation and political reform are the goals but also tools of One-Country Two-Systems, but there are more tools than goals. He also stressed that Hong Kong’s democratisation can only exist as a toll that accommodate and facilitate the execution of One-Country Two-Systems to achieve political and social development, with an aim to construct a good relationship between China and SAR. Compared to other things, democratic development in Hong Kong “is not the most important goal”. Other more important goals, according to Lau, is to ensure Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and prevent Hong Kong from becoming the base of anti-Chinese Government.
Lau also added that Chinese Government and Western governments hold very different views on democracy. Western countries think that the core of democracy is the “uncertainty” of the result – as people agree upon on one election method, people also accept that any result that could come out of the election. No matter what the result is, and whether it will benefit oneself, the people will accept that the election is fair.
Lau said that to Chinese Government, however, sees that given One-Country Two-Systems was designed to ensure the fundamental and long term benefits of China and Hong Kong, it can never accept the “uncertainty” of the election result. “Under One-Country Two-Systems, the result of any election has to be predetermined and planned, and has to be a result that benefits One-Country Two-Systems and nothing else. Obviously, the result can never be against One-Country Two-Systems.”
For example, according to Lau, Chinese Government will not allow any political power that supports communism to govern Hong Kong via an election. Chinese Government, by the same token, will never allow anyone to be the Chief Executive if he or she is against Chinese Government or One-Country Two-Systems. “In short, Chinese Government will not accept political structure or election arrangement that will bring any uncertain situations and consequences”
Lau also thinks that HKSAR Government will ask the Chinese Government to response to the people’s demand despite the fact that it will damage its governance in order to boost its reputation and remove challenges when implementing policies. “Promising Hong Kong people universal suffrage in electing Chief Executive in 2017 is an example. Besides the opposition’s pressure, a lot of the pressure was introduced by Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.” However, Lau thinks that there is a massive gap between Chinese Government’s response and the opposition’s demand.
Lau emphasised that under One-Country Two-Systems, Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy but not complete autonomy. Even though if the democrisation process is completed in Hong Kong, Hong Kong will only have “partial democracy” as the Chief Executive will not have complete power like a sovereign state. He estimated that even if all Legislative Council members are elected by the people, functional constituency will continue to exist in some form.
Disagreeing with Lau, Alan Leong Kah-kit pointed out that Article 45 and Article 68 of the Basic Law did not specify “result certainty” of election. Leong criticised Lau for asking Hongkongers to knee before the autocracy to get One-Country Two-Systems, “Did Deng Xiaoping said any of these before?” Lee Cheuk-yan also said that Lau twisted the definition of universal suffrage and One-Country Two-System, “based on what Lau said, it is simply One-Country One-System that Communist Party controls everything!” Lee also said that functional constituency contradicts with a genuine universal suffrage and are mutually exclusive.