Improving electoral system key to enhancing Hong Kong governance

Beijing: Chinese lawmakers on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The amendments are a systematic formation and improvement of Hong Kong’s democracy and a key guarantee of the full implementation of the “patriots administering Hong Kong” principle.

The overall system design was centered around the reformation and greater empowerment of the Election Committee of the HKSAR. Committee membership has been expanded from 1,200 to 1,500. The numbers of sectors and subsectors have increased from four to five and 38 to 40, respectively.

In this case, the new Election Committee will have broader social coverage and a stronger public opinion representation. It will better reflect and protect the overall interests of Hong Kong society.

The amendments also expand the HKSAR Legislative Council membership from 70 to 90. Among the members, 40 shall be returned by the Election Committee, 30 by functional constituencies, and 20 by geographical constituencies through direct elections. It captures the pluralistic and composite characteristics of Hong Kong’s democracy and will ensure social justice realization.

A democratic electoral system, suiting Hong Kong’s legal status and reality, has taken shape as a result. The two amended annexes demonstrate the resolution and will of the Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as the HKSAR’s constitutional order. Loopholes and defects in HKSAR’s electoral system were plugged, and the power to administer Hong Kong was put firmly in the hands of patriots.

There is no uniform model of democracy, and Hong Kong’s electoral system is not a replica of any other electoral system. It has a basis in local realities. It is conducive to Hong Kong’s capitalist economic development and aims to improve the administration efficacy in Hong Kong.

The legislative decision was based on a comprehensive summary of years of practical experience in Hong Kong’s elections. The optimization reflects Hong Kong’s social, political and economic development and the principle of balanced participation.

The central authorities have always been the promoter and defender of democracy in Hong Kong since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over the city in 1997. The legislation demonstrates the central authorities’ determination and sincerity in promoting quality democracy in Hong Kong. It illustrates the commitment to upholding and improving the system of institutions of “one country, two systems,” as well as maintaining Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.

After the overall upgrade and electoral system reinforcement, more patriots and people with governance capabilities will be able to join the HKSAR’s governance structure. Hong Kong will embrace a new, more harmonious and stable political and social environment. This pursuit would help it develop more steadily as an internationalized, diversified and highly-developed capitalist society.

Now the development of Hong Kong’s democracy has entered a critical stage. With the support of the motherland, Hong Kong will take more solid and firm steps to seize the historic opportunities provided by the improvement of the electoral system.