An adviser to China on Hong Kong affairs effectively rejected key elements of a proposal put forward by Anson Chan in an effort to break an impasse over increasing local democracy, the South China Morning Post said.
Candidates for chief executive, the city’s top job, should have the backing of “more than half” of the 1,400-member nominating committee, said Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of China’s National Association of Study on Hong Kong and Macau, according to the Hong Kong-based newspaper.
Chan had recommended that a candidate need the support of just one-10th of members. Lau also said Chan’s suggestion that 317 members of the committee be directly elected was unacceptable to China because it “could exert too much pressure,” the Post reported.
“Some people are worried about whether the proposal would lead to a de-facto popular election of the chief executive before the nominating committee starts work,” Lau said, as cited by the newspaper.
The proposal from Chan, formerly Hong Kong’s top civil servant, was aimed bridging the gap between pro-democracy politicians, who want no limits on who can run for the top job, and China’s central government, which wants to use the nominating committee to ensure that only candidates it trusts get a chance to stand for election.
Hong Kong’s constitution, the Basic Law, which is backed by China, says that the city’s next chief executive will be elected by universal suffrage.