Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s legislature vetoed an election-reform package that was backed by mainland China but strongly criticized by pro-democracy lawmakers and activists. In an email interview, Michael C. Davis, professor at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, discussed Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
WPR: What do democratic advocates in Hong Kong fear from China’s proposed electoral plan?
Michael C. Davis: China’s democratic reform proposal essentially provides for a vetted election for Hong Kong’s chief executive. Under the Aug. 31, 2014, Beijing decision and the Hong Kong legislative bill to carry it out, a heavily pro-Beijing 1,200-member nominating committee would select by majority vote three candidates to be presented to the voters. Democracy advocates view this as a fake election and fear it is part of a larger pattern of interference from Beijing that will ultimately undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and, with it, the rule of law.