Hong Kong possesses mature conditions for implementing universal suffrage and China should respond to the voices of the majority of Hong Kongers, who have called for full democracy before 2012, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.
The third selection of Hong Kong's chief executive is going to be held on Sunday.
An 800-member election committee will vote on the new leader on behalf of the 7 million Hong Kongers. Chief Executive Donald Tsang (
This is the first time that a pro-democracy candidate has been able to compete with a China-backed candidate since the handover in 1997.
The council's consulting committee yesterday held a conference on Hong Kong and cross-strait development, and Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Director Tsai Jy-jon (
"Although the selection of Hong Kong's chief executive has the form of competition, it is still a selection within a `small circle' and `birdcage democracy.' It cannot break the political structure that China has imposed on Hong Kong," Tsai said.
China is worried that universal suffrage would increase Hong Kong's autonomy and decrease identification with China. Beijing claims open democracy would affect social stability and economic development, and has postponed its pledge to implement universal suffrage.
"In fact, Hong Kong's society is stable, its economy is prosperous and it has sophisticated legal systems. Hong Kong is totally qualified for implementing full democracy," Tsai said. "China simply ignores Hong Kong's conditions."
Tsai said that about 70 percent of Hong Kong's people have said they want to directly elect their leader before 2012, and the audiences for the two televised debates between Tsang and Leong were unprecedented.
"It shows the resolution of the people of Hong Kong to pursue democracy in spite of China's repression," Tsai said.
The committee said that the government should invite political experts and officials from Hong Kong to observe Taiwan's elections, and hold conferences on economics and press freedom in cooperation with Hong Kong.
According to a poll conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 66.3 percent of respondents said they thought Leong's participation in the election would have a positive influence on the development of Hong Kong's democracy. Only 7.6 percent said it would have a negative impact.
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