08/29/2014, 00.00
CHINA - HONG KONG
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As Beijing gets its draft for Hong Kong "democracy" ready, democrats pledge to boycott it

by Wang Zhicheng
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress praises the draft rejected by the Occupy Central movement. Even the most flexible democrats will not vote for it. There are fears of social unrest.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Hong Kong's democratic reform is starting in Beijing in accordance with the will of the Party, which Hong Kong democrats have pledged to block in parliament.

Late last night, Xinhua reported, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) decided that it would vote Sunday on the government's draft proposal for the election of Hong Kong's chief executive. Members of the NPC, which usually rubberstamps Politburo's decisions, welcomed the draft that "conformed to the realities of Hong Kong."

The draft provides for universal suffrage in 2017, but candidates vying for the office of chief executive must be chosen by a committee of 1,200 members, made ​​up of people chosen by Beijing and the local government, as well as representatives of the business world.

The city's Occupy Central movement and pro-democracy parties have repeatedly criticised the committee, which gives Beijing a powerful veto, and promised huge albeit non-violent demonstrations and sit-ins.

Various prominent figures defended the Chinese government, saying that Beijing must ensure that future Hong Kong chief executives are "patriotic" and not opposed to the central government.

"Universal suffrage is not just a political issue," said Wang Zhenmin, Tsinghua University law dean. "It also means redistribution of economic interests."

The draft proposal is expected to face an uphill battle. After the approval by the NPC, it has to go to Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo).

In order to be approved, pro-Beijing forces need at least four votes from the democratic opposition. Democrats, even those more open to dialogue, have already said that they would not support the draft in question.

Imposing a new structure is likely to trigger social unrest.

Whilst calling for dialogue, the Catholic Church supports nonviolent civil disobedience if the proposals violate the principles of human rights.

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