Shortly after Hong Kong’s legislature voted down a controversial Beijing-backed election proposal earlier today, calling it nothing more than a “fake universal suffrage proposal,” China’s National People’s Congress responded in exactly the way that you’d expect, via Xinhua:
“Chinese top legislature on Thursday said its decision on Hong Kong’s electoral reforms last August will remain in force in the future, despite Hong Kong Legislative Council’s veto of the universal suffrage motion.”
Short, sweet and totally logically consistent. What more could one want? Still, for some reason, Xinhua felt compelled to give some additional context later in the day, via RTHK:
“The direction towards universal suffrage and the legal principles laid down in the decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, must continue to be upheld in future efforts to pursue universal suffrage,” the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the NPC Standing Committee.
“The decision shall continue to serve as the constitutional ground for Hong Kong in the future as it enforces universal suffrage in the chief executive election, and its legal force is unquestionable,” it said.
The statements would seem to indicate that the central government does not plan to revise the electoral reform framework it handed down last August, despite the whole veto fiasco, and instead plans to just move right on along like nothing happened.
China’s brand new Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang also reiterated Beijing’s rigid support for the proposals, telling reporters, “That the chief executive of the Special Administrative Region’s government should not be elected as such in 2017 is a result we are unwilling to see.”
Beijing’s plan would allow Hong Kong’s five million voters to choose their chief executive from a selection of two or three Beijing-vetted candidates in 2017. The government required 47 of the 70 lawmakers to vote in favor of the proposal. A total of 28 voted against the plan and 34 members didn’t vote. But again, not really a problem.
The NPC’s reform proposal remains the only option for electoral reform, if it is not approved – one way or another – then Hong Kong just goes back to where it began, with a 1,200-member committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists choosing Hong Kong’s chief executive, as has been the case since 1997.
— Gady Epstein (@gadyepstein) June 18, 2015
— Carmen Ng 吳嘉文 (@Carmen_NgKaMan) June 18, 2015
by Alex Linder
[Images via Tiexue]