Students’ Strike Declaration: The University of Hong Kong Students’ Union


HKU Student Union, Students’ Strike Declaration

1. We insist on Civil Nomination
2. We urge the Legislative Council to veto over a proposal that does not comply with the International Standard
3. We demand a directly elected on all seats of Legislative Council by 2016

On 31 August, 170 members of NPCSC passed a resolution and ruled out any further amendments to the electoral method of Legislative Council in 2016 and a strict compliance of the composition, and selection method of 2017 Nominating Committee with those of 2012 Election Committee for Chief Executive Election. The number of Chief Executive candidate is restricted to two or three, each of whom is required to gain majority support from the Nomination Committee. The decision was welcomed in Beijing in a big round of applause, yet stirred up anger among Hong Kong citizens. As NPCSC imposes these three barricades, Hong Kong’s dream for genuine democracy and the realization of Universal Suffrage simply diminish into a fantasy. 

At the beginning of public consultation on political reform last year, the officials claimed that there would be no presumed “position”. Local tertiary institutions thus initiated a student referendum, in which over 15,000 students voted in support of “civil nomination”, a Nominating Committee to be elected based upon “one person one vote”, and “equality in vote worth”. As such, the Students’ Proposal was premised on these principles. For half a year, we keep promoting our belief and the rationales behind the proposal to the general public. Despite of this, the State Council issued the “White Paper on the Practice of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Policy in Hong Kong”, with an intention to repudiate understanding of Basic Law. What followed were the 22 June Civil Referendum with approximately 700,000 votes endorsing civil nomination and 1 July Protest with 510,000 marching on the street amid heavy rainstorms.

Over the past three decades, HKU students have always been playing an active role in the democratic development of Hong Kong. In 1984, our predecessors wrote to Zhao Ziyang, the late Premier of the PRC at the time, to reaffirm the importance of “people ruling Hong Kong by democratic means” and to propose a universal suffrage to elect the government and its Chief; Zhao gave a positive response to these appeals. During the drafting of the Basic Law, HKU students were appointed as student representatives in the Consultative Committee. Thirty years elapsed, the once young activists are already in their middle age; sadly, the democratic development in Hong Kong remained stagnated.

Our students risked their future in the July 2 protest, whereas the government simply turned a blind eye to and even suppressed the call for democracy. “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”. The student strike will lift the curtain on the upcoming disobedience activities. As the Hong Kong government surrenders and kowtows to Beijing, ignoring the voice of local voice, we students pledge to arouse public awareness on the democratic development of Hong Kong by means of strike:

1. We insist on Civil Nomination   

The composition of Nominating Committee, consisting of 1200 people from the four sectors, resembles that of the Election Committee. This practice is no less than putting old wine in new bottle, an insult to every local citizen. The universal suffrage that we demand must affirms equality of right to be nominated, to be elected and that to elect. We have zero tolerance to the idea of “partial democracy enjoyed only by some people”, nor that only the rich and powerful could dictate Hong Kong’s future. Shall the composition of the Nominating Committee remain the same as that of the Election Committee for Chief Executive in 2012, where the privileged ones will always screen the candidates before the general public could vote, there will never be fundamental changes to remedy the current governance crisis. Civil nomination ensures public will and support, while preventing the emergence of political privileged class. This marks a step towards achieving genuine universal suffrage.

2. We urge the Legislative Council to veto over a proposal that does not comply with the International Standard

In 6.22 Referendum, about 700 thousand people demanded veto over an universal suffrage proposal that fails to fulfil the International Standard. However from the draft resolution of Standing Committee of National People’s Congress or the written explanation by Vice Chairman of the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPCSC, Li Fei, it is evident that the importance of the right to be elected and elect has been downplayed. Not even a word in the proposal mentioned that the election method can be amended after 2017. Clearly, short-term and superficial interests should not outweigh our strong demand for true democracy.

3. We demand a directly elected on all seats of Legislative Council by 2016

The purpose of the Legislative Council is where councillors represents the unheard, serve the needy, and practice justice. It is ironic that Functional Constituency and the existing voting mechanism allows the pro-establishment camp to manipulate the Council and protect the authorities. It leads to a ridiculous situation where the minority overriding majority opinion. In recent years, motions to protect core values like press freedom were vetoed by pro-establishment power. Many diminishing industries such as Agriculture and Fisheries Constituency also count a lot of seats in the Council, manifesting the obsoleteness in Functional Constituency. Political Reform shall not be limited to only Chief Executive election, but also the method selecting Legislative Councillors that have great influence on Hong Kong’s destiny. The pursuit for true democracy practising in universal suffrage has started thirty years ago, and we believe Functional Constituency shall be eliminated and all Legislators be directly elected.

We students all share a simple dream: to pursue knowledge in stability. We certainly enjoy various hall and society activities; we are as well, concerned about the very place that we are living in. In times of crisis when truth is distorted, our school motto “Sapience and Virtue” reminds us to cling onto justice, stand up for virtues we truly treasure. When justice and freedom are being flagrantly abused, we strive to put on students strike to show our determination.

Despite that Standing Committee of National People’s Congress set the definitive tone for universal suffrage, we now wish to unite all students and voice out for our fellows. We encourage every member from local universities to raise against our corrupted government. We urge all teachers, professors and tutors to support the students by not penalizing them for their absence, but arrange make-up tutorials sessions for them and even join the the strike to amplify the voice. We call for the participation from each and every citizen to join our assemblies, all shops to put on banners, posters or any means which shows the support to student strike. Student Strike is our last warning to the regime. If they continue to act against public’s will, we will step up to a stronger disobedient action. We are determined to stand firm and hold on to our belief, for we it is not just for our time, but the many generations to come.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
3 September 2014