Hong Kong’s government is receiving final submissions of public proposals for how to introduce universal suffrage for the election of the autonomous Chinese territory’s next leader in 2017, writes VOA’s Michael Linn.
Officials will end the five-month consultation exercise on Saturday, and will release their own electoral reform plan sometime in the next year. That plan must win the approval of two-thirds of Hong Kong’s legislators before it can take effect for the 2017 election of the chief executive, the city’s top job….
Pro-democracy activists fear the government will propose forming a nominating committee dominated by pro-establishment members who will block the candidacies of anyone deemed insufficiently loyal to Beijing.
Veteran pro-democracy campaigners and former lawmakers Anson Chan and Martin Lee raised that concern in meetings with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and members of Congress in Washington in early April.
In an interview with VOA at Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy, Chan accused Beijing officials of trying to exert undue influence over the electoral reform process. In recent months, those officials have said chief executive candidates must “love the country (China) and Hong Kong,” a controversial phrase not explicitly stated in the Basic Law…..
She said Chinese “interference” is eroding the “core values” of Hong Kong, an international financial center whose residents enjoy greater freedoms of the press, religion and assembly than citizens of mainland China.
“We share these core values with the United States and many other trading partners,” Chan said. “And if we can no longer maintain these core values, then our business prospects at the end of the day will be adversely affected.”