Tue, 13 Apr 2021

HONG KONG, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Friday started deliberating a draft decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Why is it imperative?

In recent years, especially after the turbulence over the proposed amendment bill in 2019, anti-China, destabilizing forces and radical localists in Hong Kong have openly called for "Hong Kong independence."

They used the electoral platforms of the HKSAR and the deliberation platforms of the Legislative Council (LegCo) and the District Councils or their position as public servants to blatantly carry out anti-China and destabilizing activities.

The rioting and turbulence that occurred in Hong Kong reveals that the existing electoral system in the HKSAR has obvious loopholes and deficiencies, which the anti-China, destabilizing elements jumped on to take into their hands the power to administer the HKSAR.

Necessary measures must be taken to improve the electoral system and remove existing institutional risks to ensure the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body. What is HKSAR's current electoral system like?

The electoral system of the HKSAR includes the methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and for the formation of the LegCo.

According to the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the Chief Executive is elected by the broadly representative Election Committee and appointed by the central government.

The Election Committee is composed of 1,200 members from different sectors.

The LegCo has 70 seats, with 35 returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections, and the other 35 by functional constituencies. What is the design?

The overall design will be centered around the reformation and greater empowerment of the Election Committee. The size, composition and formation method of the Election Committee will be adjusted and improved.

The Chief Executive will continue to be elected by the Election Committee. The Election Committee will be entrusted with the new function of electing a relatively large share of LegCo members and directly participating in the nomination of all candidates for the LegCo. Through the Election Committee, the balanced and orderly political participation will be expanded and broader representation ensured in the Hong Kong society. Relevant elements of the election will be adjusted as appropriate, and a mechanism of qualification review will be established throughout the entire process.

This design is aimed to form a new democratic electoral system suited to Hong Kong's realities and with Hong Kong characteristics. How will it be carried out?

A two-step approach, namely, "decision plus amendment," was proposed.

In the first step, the NPC makes the decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR, which lays out the basic principles for revising and improving the electoral system as well as the core elements of such revision and improvement. Meanwhile, the NPC authorizes its Standing Committee to amend Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law in accordance with the decision.

In the second step, the NPC Standing Committee amends Annex I: Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, and Annex II: Method for the Formation of the LegCo of the HKSAR and Its Voting Procedures of the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

The amended Annex I and Annex II will contain specific and express provisions on the new democratic electoral system of the HKSAR.

After the amendment of Annex I and Annex II at the state level is completed, the HKSAR will amend relevant local laws accordingly.

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