All the talk is about how Hong Kong can introduce elements of democracy into its electoral processes, but some argue it’s too early for such details. Hong Kong must first establish the kind of model it wants – if for nothing else than to iron out the wrinkles in the current system.
"We still don’t know how the political system will work" said Christine Loh, a former legislative councilor who is now chief executive of the non-governmental think tank Civic Exchange. "What we want is a system that allows problems to be openly debated. What we have is a system directed by business interests through functional constituencies."
Half of Hong Kong’s 60 legislative councilors represent professional or special interest groups and Loh believes this means they effectively operate as lobbyists for particular firms or sectors.
"Sector interests can dictate legislative policy and this isn’t good for Hong Kong," echoed Dr Peter Cheung, head of Hong Kong University’s politics and public administration department.
This ties in to the lukewarm attitude towards universal suffrage of some in the business community. Their counter argument – that democracy in Hong Kong’s immature political environment would lead to more populist policies and potential instability – largely comes down to the role business plays in politics.
"Right now there is no universal suffrage so the business sector influences politics through other means," said Professor Anthony Cheung, who serves as a non-official member of the Executive Council. "Switch to party politics and the business sector will switch its tactics."
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