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Reform group warned of `lose-lose situation'

ColleenLee

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A senior Hong Kong-based mainland official urged lawmakers to set aside their differences and support the revised political reform package to avoid "a lose- lose situation."

Speaking at a constitutional forum comprising pro- Beijing heavyweights and supporters, liaison office deputy director Li Gang said: "There could not be any sole winner, but only all winners. If someone wants to be the single winner, it may turn out to be a lose-lose situation. What we sacrifice is Hong Kong people's welfare and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability."

City University of Hong Kong political commentator James Sung Lap-kung said Li's remarks yesterday were targeting the Alliance for Universal Suffrage, which represents moderate pan-democrats.

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"He is probably suggesting that the alliance is demanding too much as it calls for the scrapping of functional constituencies in 2020," Sung said.

"The central government can't agree with that. But if the alliance insists, its members will vote down the reform package. [Li] warned there is something [the alliance] can do, but also something it should not do."

Sung is optimistic that both the government and the alliance will make compromises, seeing the group has honored dialogue with authorities.

He also believes Li's remarks were made with good intentions and should be considered as "a friendly reminder" - not criticism.

Alliance convener Fung Wai-wah said: "It is not a matter of who wins and who loses ... What matters most is to make the political system more democratic."

At the same forum, held by the Alliance for Constitutional Development, Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying-yen said there is time to have an in-depth discussion on whether functional constituencies should exist, and how legislators should be elected under universal suffrage.

"It is undemocratic, unscientific and impractical to simplify the matter as `scrapping functional constituencies' and peg it with the 2012 political reform package," Tang said.

People will see the road to universal suffrage if they have "political wisdom and ethical courage" to make short-term compromises.

If they are shortsighted and led by "a small group of people who make most noise," they will only miss the chance of "kicking a ball into the goal," he said.


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