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“I will resolve the question of universal suffrage totally”

Put off today what you can do tomorrow, or in a decade

There seems to be a variety of ways to put off the goal of achieving a democratic Hong Kong.  The…

By Aaron Tam , in A Lighter Shade of Red: Hong Kong politics , on January 13, 2009 Tags: , , , , ,

There seems to be a variety of ways to put off the goal of achieving a democratic Hong Kong.  The following is one of them.

"I will resolve the question of universal suffrage totally"
"I will resolve the question of universal suffrage totally, completely, within my next term." - Donald Tsang (pictured above)

“I will resolve the question of universal suffrage totally, completely, within my next term.” said Donald Tsang in an interview with Time Magazine, while campaigning for re-election as Chief Executive of Hong Kong in March, 2007.

If kept to his word, Tsang should be able to realize the ultimate goal of the region’s mini-constitution: the right to vote for all legislators and chief executive by the end of his term in 2012, but that is unlikely to happen.

Within the first two years of his term, Tsang’s efforts to bring universal suffrage to the region has been pushed back by Beijing from the year 2012, to a tentative 2017.

Beijing’s decision, which came in the latter half of December 2007, did not comply with Tsang’s self-imposed deadline and sparked major criticism from many Hong Kong residents.

Sadly, the chief executive seemed perfectly satisfied with Beijing’s decision.

“The timetable for universal suffrage has been set.  Hong Kong is entering a most important chapter in its constitutional history,” Tsang said in responding to Beijing’s decision.

Instead of following up by continually pressuring Beijing for an earlier date to Hong Kong’s universal suffrage, the Tsang administration approved the design and construction of a new base of government operations within a month of Beijing’s decision.  Maybe this was their way of patting themselves on the back and saying “a job well done” for agreeing upon a date that is way past the end of Tsang’s term and rejected by many local residents who were promised democracy by 2012.

The approved plan, which will abandon the traditional British styled chambers of the current LegCo building, will move the legislative council and important government offices, including the chief executive’s office, to the new complex by 2011.

This move is seen to be an unnecessary move and a waste of money by many of the government’s critics.

Hopefully the new “glass-wrapped” LegCo chamber complete with its ability to involve residents in the “lively debate of an open and trasnparent government,” as claimed by its developers, will instill a sense of urgency for the Tsang administration in the last year of its 5-year-term.  If not, Mr. Tsang may just have to win another election to see his promise through.