HK starts nomination of NPC deputies; clear political atmosphere ensures SAR better represented in national democratic structure
By Zhang Han and Chen Qingqing Published: Nov 23, 2022 09:30 PM
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Wednesday started nominating candidates as deputies to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and the voting date was set on December 15.
According to the election method, 36 deputies will be elected by a 1,423-member electoral conference in Hong Kong.
With the local political environment being much improved in the past three years, observers noted the people's congress mechanism is expected to play a bigger role in the HKSAR's democratic practices and the city's NPC deputies will better represent Hong Kong in the national democratic structure.
The electoral conference held its first plenary session on Monday. A 19-member presidium including HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee and member of NPC Standing Committee Tam Yiu-chung was elected to preside over the conference, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Hong Kong residents with Chinese citizenship aged 18 or above are eligible to contest for the candidacy, and they need to obtain at least 15 nominations from electoral conference members to make their registration effective.
The newly elected deputies will then vote for Hong Kong's member of the NPC Standing Committee, according to the method.
Tam, 73, earlier announced he would not participate due to his age.
Tam confirmed the decision with the Global Times on Wednesday and said he expected a new generation of deputies who love the nation, understand the nation and have a sense of responsibility to be elected.
"I hope that they can act as bridges and help Hong Kong get better integrated into the nation's development, facilitating the city's residents to better understand national policies and solve their problems and difficulties," Tam said.
Yang Zhenwu, secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee who came to Hong Kong to preside over the election work, said at Monday's plenary session that electing NPC deputies in the HKSAR is a practice of One Country, Two Systems, showing that Hong Kong compatriots are the masters of their own affairs.
Yang stressed the need to perform the duties as enshrined in the Constitution and the HKSAR Basic Law and to be aware of the bottom line of safeguarding national security.
Efforts should be made to ensure that patriotic deputies, who represent the public and have strong abilities to participate in and deliberate on state affairs, can be elected, Yang added.
Those requirements are important to ensure the deputies have both ability and integrity, and keep in mind Hong Kong's local affairs while having a big picture vision, analysts said.
Fan Peng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Political Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the implementation of national security law for Hong Kong and the electoral reform in HKSAR have greatly improved the political atmosphere in Hong Kong, so that the One Country, Two Systems policy can develop on the right track.
The election of NPC deputies in Hong Kong usually receives far less attention than the election of the Legislative Council and the chief executive, because for a long period, Hong Kong's local politics dominated and the SAR's participation in national political life was at the margin, observers said.
The cleared political environment allows the SAR's political practices and national political practices to be bridged and operate in a positive manner, so that Hong Kong residents can be represented in the nation's democracy and participate in national politics smoothly, Fan said.
Such smooth interactions can also ensure Hong Kong to play its part in the country's development and continue to shine under the central government's support, the expert said.
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