The Plight of Hong Kong without a Democratic Political System
Since the Handover in 1997, the progress towards a democratic government in Hong Kong has been stagnant.
At present, the Chief Executive C. H. Tung is selected by only 800 members in the Election Committee, which in turn had an electorate of a mere 150,000 (out of a population of 7 million). Most of them being professionals or owners of large enterprises, they are not representative of the population. Constitutionally, Tung is accountable to the People?|s Republic of China Central Government and National People?|s Congress, not Hong Kong people. By the same token, one cannot expect the ministers appointed by Tung to be held accountable to the general public for their gross negligence or incompetence in carrying out their duties. As a result, Tung and his ministers can afford turning a deaf ear to the public outcry against unfavourable policies or criticisms on blunders. For ordinary citizens, there is simply no way of making these incompetent officials step down.
Take the outbreak of SARS as an example. Due to the sluggish response of the authorities, and the repeated assurance from the Secretary for Hygiene, Environment and Food that an outbreak at the community level was unlikely, Hong Kong and the rest of the world suffered from the devastating epidemic, killing more than 270 and infecting more than 1,700 in Hong Kong alone. Yet the Secretary responsible could still head an ?independent? inquiry on the matter, despite an obvious conflict of interest.
Had there been proper checks and balances in place, unpalatable policies would not be passed and such incompetent ministers would not have remained. Sad to say, it is not the case. Only a third of the members in the legislature are elected through universal suffrage. In sum, the Legislative Council is ineffective in monitoring the government, blindly approving virtually every policy submitted to it by the government, even if these are against the wishes of the public. The rushing through of the notorious National Security Bill, which is set to severely undermine freedom of speech, press, assembly and access to information, despite the lack of immediate threat to the stability of the state, illustrates the case vividly.
All of the above clearly demonstrates the urgent need for a democratic political system to be adopted in Hong Kong. Otherwise the freedoms and rights that Hong Kong citizens have long enjoyed will be eroded inevitably, as the safeguards are gradually withdrawn. Setting up a democratic system in Hong Kong successfully benefits not only Hong Kong citizens; it can serve as a role model for China to follow. For the sake of the future generations of Hong Kong, we are calling for a truly democratic system for the government, lifting constraints placed on the legislature, as well as fostering a system that will hold the Chief Executive and his ministers accountable to the people.
Please support our petition for a democratic government system in Hong Kong and China by signing below, and
2. forward this message to friends in your contact list
3. Participate in the July 1 demonstration in Hong Kong commencing at 3 pm in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, calling for a halt to the legislation of Article 23 and a democratic government or
4. Organize a demonstration outside the local Chinese Embassy on July 1, calling for universal suffrage and a democratic political system in Hong Kong.
Student Union, CUHK