Beijing has confirmed that Hong Kongers will not be allowed to select their own candidates for the city’s 2017 election. Only two or three candidates will be allowed to stand and each will require the support of half of a 1,200 strong nominating committee.
Article 45 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, states that the city’s leader should eventually be selected by “universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures”. However, democracy activists argue that the nominating committee will not be reflective of local opinion. Furthermore, Beijing has sought to postpone and redefine its take on ‘democracy’ and ‘universal suffrage’ since the 1997 handover.
In 1993, the then director of the Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office clarified that Hong Kong would be able to independently decide the nature of its democratic election system…
Lu Ping speaking in 1993
Three years later, then Prime Minister of Britain, John Major, promised action should China fail to live up to its handover promise.