China parliament head warns of western-style democracy for Hong Kong

Hong Kong Photo:

The head of China's parliament warned on Thursday that importing western-style democracy for a planned direct election in Hong Kong in 2017 could lead to "disastrous" results, a delegate who attended the closed-door meeting said.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with wide-ranging autonomy, an independent judiciary and relatively free press under the formula of "one country, two systems" - along with an undated promise of full democracy, an issue never broached by the British during 150 years of colonial rule.

China has agreed to let Hong Kong elect its next leader in 2017 in what will be the most far-reaching version of democracy on Chinese soil. Specific arrangements, however, have yet to be decided including, crucially, whether public nominations of candidates including opposition democrats will be allowed.

In a sign of Beijing's hardening stance, however, Zhang Dejiang, the head of China's parliament, or National People's Congress (NPC), told Hong Kong delegates attending the annual NPC meetings in Beijing that western-style democracy couldn't simply be transported to Hong Kong.

"You cannot just move or copy (the electoral system) from abroad, otherwise you might very easily find it can't adapt to the local environment and become a democracy trap... and possibly bring a disastrous result," said Ma Fung-kwok, a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, citing comments made by Zhang in the two-hour meeting.

Ma didn't give any specifics on what such a disaster might be. China's state media also didn't immediately report the comments by Zhang, one of China's most powerful men on the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee.

Other delegates in the meeting said Zhang had re-emphasized three key criteria for the poll, including that candidates must "love" China and abide by the city's mini-constitution that states all candidates must be approved by a "broadly representative nominating committee" that would more than likely be dominated by pro-Beijing loyalists.

"This direct electoral system cannot damage the motherland's sovereignty, safety and future development, nor damage the China-Hong Kong relationship," said Rita Fan, an NPC delegate who also attended the meeting, citing comments by Zhang.

Explore Hunan Promote Hunan
Related Stories
Share this page
Touched Sympathetic Bored Angry Amused Sad Happy No comment
About us

Rhythm Media Group is a multi-media company, operating a US-based Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, and the paper's website - (which has mobile-app version), as well as a Beijing-based English website The group boasts 15 branch offices across the US, and a number of cultural centers focusing on culture-related business in the North America, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Launched in September 2012, the is designed to serve as a bridge between China and the US, and to keep its readership inside or outside China better informed by providing news and insights on China's current affairs, culture, life, business, people and sports.

Our Partners

About us - Contact us - Copyright - Terms of use - Privacy policy

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved