6th June, 2014
Anson Chan Back Pedal on Political Reforms: “There’s Room for Negotiation”
On 1/July, over 510,000 Hongkongers braved the blazing heat and rainstorms to demonstrate to the world their desire for true democracy. Former Chief Secretary Anson Chan thinks that Hongkongers have demonstrated their desire for a true democratic election to the Chinese and Hong Kong SAR governments and she urges the HKSAR Government to begin negotiation with the pan-democrats immediately. She thinks that given that Alliance for True Democracy’s (The Alliance) electoral reform proposal has won in the e-referendum, there are rooms for pan-democrats to negotiate with the government because the three pronged approach proposed by The Alliance is not “all or nothing”, and that people who voted on this proposal would agree that there are rooms to negotiate.
At a lunch held in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Anson Chan said that over 510,000 Hongkongers have expressed their desire for a truly democratic election instead of a Chief Executive that is appointed by the Chinese Government. Chan hopes that the Chinese Government and Hong Kong SAR Government will begin negotiation with the pan-democrats soon as she believes that there are still room to negotiate. She also thinks that both governments cannot on one hand deny civil nomination, but on the other hand refuse to response to a mild reform proposal, “there are only a few months left, (I) hope that the Hong Kong SAR Government can lead the people of Hong Kong and achieve a social consensus.”
Commenting on the e-referendum at which over 700,000 Hongkongers voted for proposals that support civil nomination, Chan said that “Hong Kong 2020” (of which Chan is the convenor) will not give up in promoting its proposal that does not include civil nomination because The Alliance did not say that its three-pronged proposal is “all or nothing” (i.e. civil nomination can be removed from the proposal) which means Hongkongers seek room for compromise and negotiation. Chan thinks that most people choose this proposal because they support negotiating with China, and she will continue to achieve consensus with other groups who put forward “mild-proposals” (proposals that allow a certain degree of screening by China and the absence of civil nomination).
Alan Leong Kah-kit, leader of Civic Party, expressed his concern over comments made by Zhang Xiaoming, director of Central Government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, “it looks like the Central Government wants to adopt an iron fist approach, which will lead to more damages. Chinese Government have the responsibility to provide a detail reform proposal and achieve a consensus with Hongkongers, this is probably the only way out.” Leong also warned that if China continues its iron fist approach, “I do not think there will be a good result.”
Global Times, Chinese Government’s organ, published an article yesterday commenting on the 1/July rally that “it is not a big deal, even though there were some isolated conflicts between the police and the people, it is nothing extraordinary.”