Press Release 23-12-03
Green Paper Delineates the Contour of Future Political Reforms
Today, Power for Democracy and Hong Kong Democratic Foundation jointly release the "Green Paper: Review of the Political System in the HKSAR", which delineates the options of political reforms in the coming years. It will be delivered to all political parties, civic and professional groups to facilitate community-wide discussion.
Hong Kong has been returned to China for more than six years. It has witnessed not only severe economic downturn but also deteriorating governmental capability. The need for political reforms has begun to generate serious debates in the society. Political reforms in Hong Kong are to a certain extent a matter of regional concern, and has significant implications for Mainland China, Taiwan and the "one country, two systems" model.
In the eyes of Mainland China experiencing growing wealth and political diversity, although Hong Kong has made a huge amount of investment in it in the past twenty years which has transformed both the livelihood and mind-set of the people, the territory now encounters increasing difficulty because of its stagnation in political reforms and the accompanying social confrontation. Hong Kong's appeal as a modern democratic society is gradually declining.
Accordingly, Hong Kong cannot avoid discussion on the political development beyond 2007. Now that we are approaching the year 2004, a prompt start on public consultation concerning political reform to realize gradual and orderly progress towards universal suffrage as stated in the Basic Law is probably the most significant undertaking.
In this connection, Power for Democracy and Hong Kong Democratic Foundation jointly present the Green Paper in order to facilitate the advance from the current stage of slogans and general demands to meaningful deliberations. It is believed that serious discussions will be valuable for the reference of the Government in its review of the political system in terms of the scope of the review, methods of consultation, options of reform, etc.
The Green Paper is the joint effort of Dr. Sonny Lo, associate professor at the department of politics and public administration at Hong Kong University, and Prof. Joseph Cheng, professor of political science at City University. Members of the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation and Power for Democracy have also offered their invaluable inputs. The two authors started to draft the Green Paper in September 2003 and finished the work in mid-December.
The Green Paper has 22 pages in total, which provides a discussion framework for the public by outlining a list of possible reform options concerning the relation of the Chief Executive and those of LegCo. The two authors simultaneously examine the effects and political outcomes under different political systems.
In addition to the above, the Green Paper also offer suggestions on other fields such as relations between the Executive and the legislature, the role of political parties and the development of civil society, local government and the methods of public consultation. Through the generation of discussions, it is expected that the general public will have a more comprehensive understanding of the feasibility and advantages/disadvantages of various reform options. On this basis, a consensus of the community may gradually be forged.
If financial resources are available, the two organizations will launch various activities in the coming year following the release of the Green Paper. The Green Paper will be distributed to all political parties, civic organizations, professional groups, etc. for comment. Summary of the Green Paper in leaflet form will also be distributed by District Councillors to facilitate discussion of the political issues at the district level.
The two organizations now plan for the holding of a number of public forums on different aspects of political reforms. A constitutional convention will be convened with the participation of politicians, professionals, business leaders and civic groups. Deliberations at the convention will be put together into a position paper for the reference of the Government and the public. On the basis of the views expressed by the community, the Green Paper will be further revised and released again. The two organizations also intend to conduct large-scale opinion polls to study the views of the general public.
Download the Green Paper in MS Word format