HK signature campaign gathers mass support for reform package

Updated: 2015-05-19 07:40

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong(China Daily)

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More than 1.2 million eligible voters in Hong Kong signed their names during a citywide campaign to show support for the government's electoral reform package, the group that organized the campaign, Alliance for Peace and Democracy, said on Monday.

The alliance said the high number of signatures indicates Hong Kong people's strong hope to see a one-man-one-vote Chief Executive election in 2017. The alliance is urging opposition lawmakers to vote according to mainstream public opinion and pass the reform plan with a sense of historic responsibility.

Robert Chow Yung, the alliance's spokesman, told reporters that people in Hong Kong had come forward to join the "Sign for Universal Suffrage Movement" simply because they love peace, want better development and oppose deeds that are destructive to Hong Kong.

Compared with figures in the last Legislative Council election in 2012, in which the pro-establishment camp obtained 800,000 votes while the opposition garnered 1 million, there is a big jump in support for the former.

Chow said the results of the campaign indicated a widening support base for the pro-establishment camp in future elections, a trend of particular significance as voters head to the polls for district council elections in just six months and the Legislative Council election next year, he said.

The opposition accused the reform plan, which was proposed by the Hong Kong government after a decision by the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Hong Kong's 2017 Election, of being a "fake universal suffrage" for filtering candidates and being institutionalized.

Opposition lawmakers vowed to veto the package in pursuit of a "genuine democracy". If that happens in the final voting in June or July, Hong Kong will keep its election committee system, in which only 1,200 people from various constituencies can cast their vote to elect the city's Chief Executive.

In the last citywide signature campaign last November, which called for a restoration of law and order and support for the police during the Occupy Central movement, the alliance had gathered 1.83 million signatures.

The Occupy Central movement, which was intended to pressure the Central Government into granting an electoral system that "satisfies the international standards of universal suffrage" in Hong Kong's Chief Executive election in 2017, paralyzed some of Hong Kong's main roads from September to December

Chan Yung, Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress and chairman of the New Territories Association of Societies, was one of the front-line organizers. He reported a number of disturbances by opposition members at some of the alliance's booths, including chanting slogans and stopping the alliance's volunteers from carrying out their work.

On the other hand, Chan said, it was encouraging that many people who were passing by went out of their way to sign their names.

Wong Kwan-yu, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers and executive member of the alliance, said the campaign was a platform for the city's "silent majority" to speak up and not be controlled by the "loud minority".

(China Daily 05/19/2015 page4)