China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee ruled against the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong to elect their next leader in 2017 by universal suffrage without restrictions, and established instead a system of election among “two or three” candidates screened by a nominating committee.
Li Fei, sent from Beijing to Hong Kong to explain the decision said that the voters “would be confused” by multiple candidates. “People may not know what they advocate and what they have achieved before,” he said, according to the South China Morning Post. Later he said that “every aspirant could run in the race after securing enough nominations,” as long as they can obtain majority support from the nominating committee.
His words make no sense before an audience made up of people who know what a democracy is. They would have no problems in an election among multiple candidates. There are other reasons behind the decision: the will to control everything and restrict the promised democracy to the territory. So the principle “One Country, Two Systems” is at stake.
Protests have started, leaded by the group Occupy Central. And despite they are pacific, Li Fei warned that “Occupy Central is an illegal activity. If we give in, it will trigger more illegal activities.”
Occupy Central has announced protests, and other groups have called for civil disobedience. But the situation is not simple. If Honkongers reject Beijing’s electoral framework for 2017, they will stay as they are since 1997, with no democracy at all, but a Chief Executive elected by a 1,200 member committee and not by the polls.