香 港 人 權 監 察
HONG KONG HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR
港 上 環 孖 沙 街 二 十 號 金 德 樓 4
4/F Kam Tak Building, 20 Mercer Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
電話 Phone: (852) 2811-4488 傳真 Fax: (852) 2802-6012
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Paul Harris Deputy Chairpersons:
John Clancey & Vivian To Treasurer:
Lai Wing Yiu Secretary: Dr.
Founder members: Johannes Chan John Kamm Phillip Ross Ho Hei Wah Andrew Byrnes Charles Mok Paul Harris Christine Loh Dr. Stephen Ng
Director: Law Yuk Kai Organiser: Ida Tse Education & Project Officer: Kit Chan Executive Officer: Ivy Fung & Poon King Yin
statement for immediate release (2 pages)
Enquiries: Mr. Law Yuk Kai (Director)
Major Setback for Democratization
(Hong Kong: 7
Jan 2004) The Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor condemns
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa for his lack of action to address the
strong demand for universal suffrage expressed so vividly by the huge
crowds which took to the streets last July and on New Year’s
Day. Tung appears to have purposely shelved the previously announced
constitutional review, apparently to wait for instructions from the
Central Government. This is a major setback both to Hong Kong’s
democratization and to its autonomy.
The failure of our current political system has led to an unprecedented strong demand for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Huge crowds of people took to the streets last July and tens of thousands of people turned up again on New Year’s Day this year to express their demand for full democracy. Various survey results1 have confirmed the strong demand of the general public to elect the Chief Executive in 2007 and the entire Legislative Council in 2008 by universal suffrage.
In response to the call for universal suffrage, the Government, in particular Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Mr. Stephen Lam, previously promised to release the constitutional review timetable at the end of last year and begin the public consultation in 2004.
As a result, the media had speculated that Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa would at least announce the constitutional review timetable in his seventh Policy Address. Unfortunately, Tung did not even take this minimal step to respond to public expectation. Instead, what he has promised today is only a task force to carry out comprehensive research, which the Constitutional Affairs Bureau has already claimed to be doing for years. The Monitor sees the task force as a mere device for further delaying constitutional development. We are very concerned at Tung’s complete indifference towards the public demand for full democracy and see a continuing and intensifying crisis of governance as a result of his refusal to listen.
Tung’s Policy Address highlighted his visit to Beijing and stated that President of the PRC Hu Jintao had “pointed out” to Tung “the serious concern and principled stance of the CPG towards the development of Hong Kong's political structure.” It has also highlighted that “some Mainland legal experts and certain individuals in Hong Kong have also expressed their views on the matter.” After recapping on these, Tung concluded, “We definitely need to understand the full implications of these important issues, before making appropriate arrangements for the review of constitutional development.” He therefore announced the setting up a task force to consult the Chinese authorities. In other words, he and his administration are not even prepared to consult the Hong Kong public until they have first obtained instructions from the Beijing Government.
The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs has admitted that the Central Government has asked the Hong Kong Government not to start the consultation before discussing this issue with the Central Authorities. It is quite clear that the Central Government has successfully, at least at this stage, stalled the consultation and dictated what happens next. This is a clear blow to the autonomy of Hong Kong.
Public consultation on constitutional review should start NOW, or there will be insufficient time to complete the whole process. The Monitor demands the Government commence the public consultation, with substantive proposals, on constitutional review immediately, and conducts the consultation in an impartial manner so that the conclusion will truly reflect the views of the Hong Kong people. The Monitor also warns the Government not to delay the constitutional review any more and then use time constraints as an excuse for manipulating the consultation process.
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1 According to the HKU POP survey results released in December 2003, 73% and 78% of the respondents supported general elections for the Chief Executive in 2007 and all Legislative Councillors in 2008 respectively. Even youngsters are anxious to have universal suffrage. A Hong Kong Caritas survey showed that 89.8% and 93.8% of the 15 to 24 years old respondents respectively supported direct election of the Chief Executive in 2007 and for the entire Legislative Council in 2008.