Issued on 1 September 2014
We are writing to urge you to monitor the constitutional development in Hong Kong and to pressure the Chinese Government to honor their promises to the people of Hong Kong under the principle of “One Country Two Systems,” stated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitutional document.
In June, the Chinese government issued a White Paper to set out an “official” interpretation of the Basic Law. The document demonstrates an attempt to undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong and to erode its core values, threatening the foundational faith in Hong Kong’s future.
The promise of “Hong Kong people running Hong Kong with a high level of autonomy” is replaced by new concepts such as “complete jurisdiction”, “oversight by the Central Government” and “judges must be patriotic”.
In July, the Hong Kong government submitted to Beijing a report on the selection of the Chief Executive in 2017 and the formation of the Legislative Council in 2016. On June 22, almost 800,000 people participated in a Civil Referendum, 90% of whom supported a proposal that involves civic nomination. The Report considered this too minor to be counted as “mainstream opinion” and nothing was said of how the public could be properly represented.
On July 1, over 500,000 people took their frustrations to the streets. However, the voice of the people has fallen on deaf ears. The failure of the report to aptly reflect Hong Kong people’s views seems to signify the shrinking likelihood of genuine universal suffrage. This is a huge step backward in Hong Kong’s constitutional and democratic development.
The Chinese People’s Congress Standing Committee yesterday released a draft of the rules to select the 2017 Chief Executive. A Nominating Committee continue to be composed of 1,200 mainly government appointees will be formed. Chief Executive candidate must obtain approval from the majority of the committee members and the number of candidates will be limited to two to three people. One people one vote to select a government-approved candidate is not election by universal suffrage. This indeed is a big setback. Hong Kong people’s hopes for democracy over the past 30 years are completely shattered.
Our Honorable Congressmen and Members of Parliament, the people of Hong Kong cannot rely on their government for a democratic future. It is not the case for the Chinese Government to issue a decree and the people of Hong Kong to comply. The United States and Canada need to take a strong stand in the preservation of the dignity of the Hong Kong people. Please demonstrate support of USA and Canada of their demand for genuine universal suffrage. We shall never let them stand alone.
North American Alliance for Democracy in China (NAADC)
Vancouver Society In Support of Democratic Movement
Toronto Association for Democracy in China
Canada Hong Kong Link
Movement for Democracy in China (Calgary)
Tiananmen Memorial Foundation, New York
Federation of Overseas Hong Kong Chinese, Washington, D.C.
Chinese Democracy Education Foundation
Boston Overseas Hong Kong Chinese for Democracy and Human Rights for China
Boston Friends of Hong Kong and Macau
Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles