Final proposal sticks to Beijing’s rigid framework — and our analyses in the Journal of Democracy

[updated on June 1, 2015]

[May 31] Beijing officials stand firm on 2017 poll and say strict framework for Hong Kong’s democratic reform will stay even if lawmakers reject plan

Hong Kong government sticks to rigid Beijing framework in 2017 election proposal


Our more comprehensive and systematic analyses in one place: Journal of Democracy April 2015, Volume 26, Issue 2

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement: Beijing’s Broken Promises


China has gone back on its well-documented vow (and solemn treaty obligation) to allow Hong Kong genuine universal suffrage. Abrogated commitments and fake democracy are not the path to a thriving Hong Kong that feels at home within the People’s Republic of China. (HK JoD Davis Beijing’s Broken Promises)

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement: The Protests and Beyond


The demonstrations of late 2014 captured the world’s attention with their scale, passion, and resourcefulness, but in the end were unable to move dug-in local and national authorities. Yet time is still on the side of the demonstrators. (HK JoD Hui The Protest and Beyond)

Why HK should not “pocket” the fake “one person, one vote” proposal

Prodemocracy members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council are vowing to veto the August 31 decision (which requires a two-thirds majority), and they have just enough votes to do so. The authorities want to convince Hong Kong people that they should “pocket” a less than ideal form of suffrage as a “gradual and orderly step” on the way to genuine universal suffrage in the future. The flaw in the government’s line is that some steps create insurmountable hurdles rather than take people closer to the finish line. Once created, any undemocratic arrangement will become increasingly entrenched. If the Election Committee is not reformed now, it will become increasingly resistant to change later. The narrowly based “functional constituencies” that still control half the Legislative Council’s seventy seats furnish a hard and object lesson. They have proven resistant to all attempts to phase them out, and legislators who hold these seats are unlikely to back any reform that would force them to face direct elections.

In Chinese 從政府主導理論 看雨傘運動 


Andrew Nathan’s analysis also in the J. of Democracy: “China’s Challenge,” January 2015, pp. 156-170

[Beijing has been] Seeking to roll back existing democratic institutions or to stifle sprouts of democratic change in territories where it enjoys special influence. These are Hong Kong and Macau—two Special Administrative Regions that came under PRC control in 1997 and 1999, respectively, when they were returned to Chinese sovereignty by their former colonial rulers—and Taiwan, a territory over which China claims sovereignty and over which it has growing economic influence. In none of these places has China denounced democracy in principle, but in all three it has undermined it in practice.

See also updates on other posts, esp. why the freedom without democracy model is broken; polarization after occupy; the fallacy that nonviolence has not worked; and targeted boycott. Existing posts are regularly updated to reflect the latest developments.

We last paired up to conduct a webinar “Explaining the “Umbrella Revolution” for Political Rights in Hong Kong” on Oct. 7


[Mar. 26] Universal suffrage is ‘genuine’ if it fits within the law, CY Leung argues in Legco Q&A

“Different places have different electoral systems and rules, as well as their own [form of] ‘genuine universal suffrage’. Their system would be a ‘genuine universal suffrage’ as long as it is in accordance with their constitution, system and electoral law,” Leung said. “‘Genuine universal suffrage’ in Hong Kong is universal suffrage implemented according to the Basic Law and the national legislature’s relevant decisions.”

When Wong asked whether Myanmar, North Korea and the Chinese Communist Party are implementing “genuine universal suffrage”, Leung appeared to backtrack and said “universal suffrage is to be implemented according to the law of the place, and in Hong Kong … ‘genuine universal suffrage’ [includes] nomination by a broadly-representative committee”, as stated in the Basic Law.

In the same Q&A session, Leung Chun-ying went so far as to suggest that elections in China and North Korea, being in accordance with their election laws, are an exercise of universal suffrage. (Universal suffrage: How CY Leung is trying to confuse the issue)  This led commentators to tell him to take Political Science 101 at college: C.Y. Leung under fire over universal suffrage claims at question and answer session

“The UK has universal suffrage and I believe Ho would not say their election is fake democracy,” Leung said. “But [Britain’s] election method to choose the prime minister is very different from … the US president,” he added, saying that even the British PM is not popularly elected.


A satire of CY Leung’s understanding of universal suffrage:

西環遊記-尋找他鄉真普選的故事: 悟空跟師傅打算捨西天,改往北人蔘國取經,尋找他鄉的真普選故事,因為傳聞中,北人蔘國實行一人一票真普選,還可以投反對票!有票,總好過「白票守尾門」。(尋找他鄉真普選的故事)

Beijing representative calls the 8.31 proposal “democracy with Hong Kong characteristics” 以制度自信推進有香港特色的普選 

Here is a scholarly definition of what democracy is and is not: Philippe C. Schmitter, Terry Lynn Karl, “What Democracy Is… and Is Not,” Journal of DemocracyVolume 2, Number 3, Summer 1991, pp. 75-88 [available here]

[June 1] Beijing’s reform package for Hong Kong is an insult, US scholar Larry Diamond says

A prominent American scholar in politics has dismissed as “an insult to the intelligence of the Hong Kong public” the political reform package Beijing has tailored for the city. Professor Larry Diamond, citing the election systems in Iran and pre-US-invasion Iraq, said universal suffrage without “real choice” was meaningless.

[Apr 4]  In an extensive interview with state news agency Xinhua to mark today’s 25th anniversary of the Basic Law’s promulgation, Zhou Nan questioned whether universal suffrage could guarantee the election of a leader who loved the city and the country, as Deng had insisted. Zhou was Beijing’s top negotiator in Sino-British talks on the city’s future and led Xinhua’s Hong Kong branch, Beijing’s de facto embassy before the handover. (Hong Kong Basic Law turns 25 – and ex-Beijing negotiator hints at some of its implications for today)

Lau Siu Kai says that electoral results in HK are for reference only while Beijing retains the final say on appointments of the Chief Executive  劉兆佳:中央有實質任命權 港選舉只是「參考材料」

[May 31] Wang Guangya: those from the pro-democracy camp must be screened out 王光亞:要篩走反中央者;  Li Fei : there is no room to revise the August 31 proposal forever, thus pocketing now means pocketing forever 李飛稱人大8.31決定長期有效

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Tsang Yok-sing suggests that there should be an answer to the doubt that “pocketing first” would mean “pocketing forever” 曾鈺成:中央須回應「袋一世」質疑

Beijing is said to prefer 70% popular support for the proposal so as to put pressure on pro-democracy legislators  論撐政改民意 京消息﹕需七成

3 university research centers join forces in conducting a rolling poll on the 8.31 proposal. The Q is: Do you support or oppose the government’s proposal on CE election of 2017? Results are updated on this page. See also Joint-University Rolling Survey on 2017 Chief Executive Election Proposal / 2017年行政長官選舉辦法三間大學聯合滾動民意調查; Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Pao attack the survey 【輸打贏要】左報抨擊三大民調  鍾劍華 : 無意做政治宣傳.

不存在的「主流民意」 ——以最嚴謹的統合分析了解「袋住先」民意調查

It does not look like there is room to reach a compromise:  Corporate voting in proposed Hong Kong nominating committee won’t be abolished, Beijing official says

Government promotion activities seem to have backfired Why officials are having a tough time during district visits政改宣傳 高官暫停落區


[June 15] Debate on Hong Kong political reform turns many in audience against government’s plan

A televised debate on political reform turned many of those who viewed it against the government’s plan for the 2017 chief executive election, polls taken before and after the broadcast showed.

An audience of 188 people attended the forum, organised by RTHK and the University of Hong Kong and pitting three pan-democratic lawmakers against three Beijing loyalists. On the way in, 49 per cent said they wanted lawmakers to vote down the package when it is put to a vote, while 42 per cent supported it.

But after hearing pan-democrats Emily Lau Wai-hing, Charles Mok and Alan Leong Kah-kit give their reasons for opposing the plan, and support for it from Starry Lee Wai-king, James Tien Pei-chun and Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, their views changed. Some 54 per cent wanted the plan voted down, while just 38 per cent supported it.

[June 12] Civil servant group urges ‘no’ vote on political reform bill : A group of civil servants on Friday published an open letter in a local newspaper calling on lawmakers to veto the government’s political reform package; 一群公務員登報指通過方案「香港光輝到此」

Professional groups counter government promotion:


Christians against fake one person, one vote 「反對假普選 堅拒政治謊言」一群香港基督徒聯署聲明


11073351_818757391544419_7167213940926982211_n source



[June 1] HK’s Chinese newspapers have the same cover page: “HK needs stability; HK needs development” [source]



Filed under Umbrella Movement

3 responses to “Final proposal sticks to Beijing’s rigid framework — and our analyses in the Journal of Democracy

  1. Pingback: How Hong Kong’s Government “Constructed” the Umbrella Movement | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  2. Pingback: The fallacy that nonviolence has not worked–“we thought if we could keep the revolution peaceful, it might lead to some changes” | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  3. Pingback: After occupy: Divided over strategies; time for targeted boycott | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

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