THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY HONG KONG AND CHINA AFFAIRS SOCIETY 

The Constitution (as of 1 March 2019)

1. NAME

1.1. The name of the society is the Hong Kong and China Affairs Society (hereinafter referred to as the Society).

1.1.1. The previous name of the Hong Kong and China Affairs Society is the Hong Kong and China Affairs Group. Therefore the words Group and Society should carry the same meaning throughout this constitution. However, whenever possible, the word Society should be adopted.

1.2. In the Constitution, unless the contrary intention appears, (a) words importing the masculine gender include the feminine; (b) words importing the feminine gender include the masculine.

2. OBJECTIVES

2.1. To promote concern, interest and discussion mainly, but not exclusively, among students in Cambridge regarding the social, economic and political affairs of Hong Kong and China.

2.2. To provide information and materials related to the social, economic and political developments in Hong Kong and China.

2.3. To promote human rights and democracy in Hong Kong and China through rational and non-violent means.

3. MEMBERSHIP

3.1. Any person who agrees with the objectives of the Society may apply to the executive committee (see Section 4, hereinafter referred to as Exco), to become a member of the Society. Applicants who are not members of the University of Cambridge can only become a member of the Society on the approval of the Exco.

3.2. Any member may terminate his or her membership at any time by giving notice in writing to the Exco.

3.3. The Exco has the right to suspend until further notice the membership of any member of the Society if it deems such a measure appropriate and necessary, and must inform all members as to, and the reasons for, this suspension as soon as reasonably practicable.

3.4. Members who are students in Cambridge University shall retain their membership as long as they remain as students of the university. Members who are not students of the University have to renew their membership every year by giving notice to the Exco in writing.

3.5. There shall be no refusal of an application for membership on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or political views.

4. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Exco shall consist of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Internal Secretary, the External Secretary and the Publicity Officer.

4.1. OBLIGATIONS

4.1.1. President He is the head of the Society and therefore represents the Society in all formal occasions. He shall prepare the agenda and chair every Exco and any other formal meetings whenever possible. In his absence, the Vice-President shall be the Acting President. If the position of Vice-President is left vacant, another Exco member (usually the Internal Secretary) shall act in his place.

4.1.2. Vice-President He is the acting President when the President is not available and shall represent the Society on the President’s behalf in all formal occasions in his absence. He shall assist in the President’s decision-making and oversee all activities of the Society under the direction of the President. This position should be left vacant if fewer than seven people have been nominated for election.

4.1.3. Secretary He is in charge of taking minutes in all Exco and any other formal meetings. He shall keep all official records for the Society.

4.1.4. Treasurer He shall be responsible for the appropriate use of the Society’s funds and assets. He shall set a budget for the Society at the beginning of his term of office and seek donations and sponsorships for the Society.

4.1.5. Internal Secretary He is in charge of the internal affairs of the Society. When the position of Vice-President is left vacant, he shall be the Acting President when the President is not available, unless another Exco member is named by the President. He is responsible for managing the library of the Society.

4.1.6. External Secretary He shall represent the Society to maintain frequent contact with other organisations. He shall portray a positive image of the Society to the public.

4.1.7. Publicity Officer He shall be in charge of publicizing the Society’s events and a special editorial board which issues the Society’s publication. He may at his discretion invite any members to join the editorial board.

4.2. ELECTION OF THE EXCO

4.2.1. The Exco is to be elected every year in the Annual General Meeting (hereinafter referred to as AGM) of the Society.

4.2.2. Any member shall have the right to nominate any other member for election, and any member who has become a member of the Society for more than fourteen days shall have the right to stand for election to the Exco.

4.2.3. The regulations of the election are described below in ‘Regulations for Election’ under Section 7.

4.3. POWERS OF THE EXCO

4.3.1. The Exco has the right, on behalf of the Society, to express political opinions provided that they are consistent with the objectives of the Society stated above.

4.3.2. The Exco may, when it deems necessary, delegate to any member of the Society (including incumbent Exco members) such powers of the Exco as may be specified (such as the right to express political opinions as described in Section 4.3.1), but excluding the power of sub-delegation in all cases. The Exco furthermore possesses the power to end any such delegation of power when it deems necessary.

4.3.2.1. The Exco must notify members within seven days when any power described in Section 4.3.2 is being used, providing details of the delegation of power and the name of the delegate.

4.3.3. The quorum for any Exco meeting shall be four. Any decision of the Exco shall be made by the rule of simple majority. In case of equal votes, the President (or if the President is absent, the Acting President) shall have an additional vote.

4.3.4. The Exco possesses the power to establish and dissolve any subcommittee (see Section 5 below) – be it set up by a previous Exco or the incumbent Exco – at any time.

4.4 The tenure of each Exco begins from the last day of Lent term of the University of Cambridge and ends on the second last day of the next Lent term of the University of Cambridge.

5. SUB-COMMITTEES

5.1. A sub-committee is a group appointed by the Exco for the organisation and co-ordination of specified events of the Society, and any such sub-committee must only consist of members of the Society.

5.2. Sub-committees possess such powers as may be granted to them by the Exco, but no sub-committees shall have the power to establish and dissolve other sub-committees and the power to express political opinions.

5.3. The term of office of any sub-committee shall be for a period as may have been defined by the Exco at the establishment of the sub-committee, or as the incumbent Exco or any later Exco may decide. It need not automatically be terminated by the election of a new Exco.

5.4. The Exco must notify members within seven days when a sub-committee member is being appointed, including a full list of the sub-committee’s members.

6. MEETINGS

6.1. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)

6.1.1. An AGM is to be held annually during the Lent Term of Cambridge University.

6.1.2. The election of the Exco is to be held in the AGM. The regulations in connection with the election are contained in Section 7.

6.1.3. Every member shall be informed of the calling of the AGM at least fourteen days prior to the date of the meeting.

6.2. EMERGENCY GENERAL MEETING (EGM)

6.2.1. Calling of the EGM

6.2.1.1. The Exco may call for an EGM whenever it deems necessary.

6.2.1.2. Any ten members of the Society may also request for the calling of an EGM by giving written notice to the Exco, whereupon the Exco must hold the EGM within fourteen days of receiving such notice.

6.2.1.3. All members must be notified as to the calling of the EGM at least seven days prior to the meeting.

6.2.1.4. No EGM may be called outside the full term periods as defined by Cambridge University.

6.2.1.5. A quorum is required for an EGM to be valid. The quorum should be 15 members.

6.2.2. No proposal for any amendment of Section 2 i.e. the objectives of the Group and Section 6.2.2 shall be made or allowed.

6.3. AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

6.3.1. No amendment to this constitution intended to remove the position of Senior Treasurer, to alter its prerogatives and duties, or to change the criteria and procedure for the appointment of a Senior Treasurer can be put to a vote without the prior written agreement of the Junior Proctor of the University of Cambridge.

6.3.2. Proposal(s) for any amendment of the constitution may be made by any member of the Society. All such proposals must be announced at the AGM or else an EGM must be called, as described in Section 6.2, for this purpose.

6.3.3. A proposal is successful if it is supported by two-thirds or more of the members present at the AGM or EGM and the constitution shall be amended accordingly.

6.4. RIGHT TO VOTE IN AGM AND EGM

6.4.1. Only members who are present at the AGM or EGM concerned (including candidates running for election) may vote. There is no vote by proxy.

6.4.2. Only members who have become a member of the Society for more than 72 hours prior to the AGM or EGM concerned shall have the right to vote in it. The President reserves the right to determine a member's right to vote should any dispute arise.

7. REGULATIONS FOR ELECTION

7.1. CANDIDACY A candidate is eligible for election to the Exco only when he or she complies with sections 7.1.1-7.1.4. Non-compliance with sections 7.1.1.-7.1.4. shall render the candidacy void. Any such candidate(s) retain(s) the right to stand in any following elections.

7.1.1. Any candidate must receive a “first” and a “second” nomination from two other members to be eligible for election to the Exco.

7.1.2. Any member (including incumbent Exco members) shall have the right to give one “first” nomination to any member and any number of “second” nominations to any other members. There is no right to self-nomination. Any nominations cannot be retracted once the candidate has submitted their manifesto to the Exco.

7.1.3. Candidate(s) must submit a manifesto to the incumbent President (or any other Exco members appointed by the incumbent Exco) 60 hours before the AGM/ EGM. The manifesto should include the names of the members who have given their "first" and "second" nomination to the candidate. The candidate cannot amend the manifesto once it is submitted to the Exco.

7.1.4. Only members who have become a member of the Society for more than 14 days prior to the AGM or EGM concerned shall be eligible for election to the Exco.

7.1.5. If the candidate decides to withdraw his/her candidacy after the submission of manifesto to the Exco, the nomination(s) he/she received is/are rendered void.

7.2. PROCEDURE FOR GENERAL ELECTION The Exco shall be selected by general election as follows:

7.2.1. Each member shall receive a ballot on which he may vote either ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Abstain’ for any eligible candidate. The number of ‘Yes’ votes cast by a voter must not exceed the number of vacant seats on the new Exco, nor can any voter place more than one vote on any candidate. Ballots in violation of this Section will be rendered void.

7.2.2. Candidate(s) with the number of ‘Yes’ votes being more than or equal to the number of ‘No’ votes shall be ranked according to the number of ‘Yes’ votes they have received. Any candidate(s) excluded by the ranking shall be considered under 7.3.

7.2.3. The candidate(s) with the highest number of ‘Yes’ votes according to the ranking shall be allotted a seat on the new Exco, followed by the candidate(s) with the next highest number of ‘Yes’ votes. Candidates are allotted their seats in descending order of votes received until all seats on the new Exco have been filled, or when all ranked candidates have been allotted a seat, whichever is applicable.

7.2.4. If the number of candidates tied for seats on the new Exco exceeds the number of remaining vacancies, the tie shall be resolved by repetition of steps 7.2.1, 7.2.2 and 7.2.3 for those candidates contesting the remaining seats.

7.3. PROCEDURE FOR SPECIAL ELECTION If any candidate(s) is/are nominated for the election but not allotted a seat in the Exco, and if there remain vacancies in the Exco following the general election, a special election would take place as follows:

7.3.1. Candidate(s) nominated could choose to continue running for office. A question-and-answer session shall take place in which voters present may put questions to the candidate, after which a second vote in shall be taken, with the same procedure as described in step 7.2.

7.3.2. Any candidate(s) who fail(s) to be allotted a seat following the general election and special election shall no longer be eligible to hold office in the incoming Exco.

7.4. PROCEDURE FOR NOMINATION TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY After all the Exco members are elected, they are to nominate representatives from among themselves to take part in the presidential election.

7.4.1. Each incoming Exco member shall receive a ballot on which he may nominate at most two candidates from the new Exco. Candidates are allowed to nominate themselves. Any ballot nominating the same candidate twice will be rendered void.

7.4.2. The two candidates who receive the greatest number of nominations shall be pronounced eligible for presidential election. If only one candidate receives nominations, then only the candidate receiving nominations shall be pronounced eligible for presidential election and section 7.4.3 below will not be triggered.

7.4.3. If three or more candidates are tied for the most nominations, or if two or more candidates are tied for the second-most nominations, the tie shall be resolved by repetition of step 7.4.1, nominating only the candidates concerned.

7.5. PROCEDURE FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION The presidential election shall take place via single transferable vote (STV) by members of the Society present at the AGM.

7.5.1. Each member shall receive a ballot on which all presidential candidates and “re-open nominations” (RON) are available as options. These are ranked in order of preference with numbers rather than check marks. Any other response will render the ballot void.

7.5.2. The first-preference votes are counted and the candidate with a simple majority of votes shall be elected as President of the Society.

7.5.3. In the event that no candidates achieve a simple majority of first preference votes, the candidate with the least number of first preference votes is eliminated from the election, and ballots carrying his first-preference votes are transferred to their respective second preference candidates. This procedure shall apply until a candidate obtains a simple majority of votes, who is then elected as President of the Society.

7.5.4. If at any stage RON receives a simple majority of votes, the nomination process for the presidential election shall restart from step 7.4. All candidates already elected to the new Exco shall retain their seats.

7.6. Loss of the presidential election will not affect a candidate’s chances of taking up any other post in the incoming Exco.

7.7. Having elected the incoming President, all other posts shall be allocated by the incoming Exco among themselves.

7.8. Should a situation arise in which the Exco contains vacancy/vacancies at any one time (excluding vacation periods), an EGM must be called to fill the vacancy/vacancies.

7.8.1. The vacant seat(s) shall be elected in accordance with the procedures laid out in section 7.

7.8.2. Where no nomination(s) are submitted for any vacant seat(s), the EGM should be terminated.

7.8.3. If a vacancy remains following the procedures set out above, the Exco must call an EGM within 28 term days if any eligible member(s) is/are nominated to fill the vacancy/vacancies.

7.9. Members reserve the right to scrutinise the casting and tallying of ballots in each election.

8. VOTE OF DISTRUST

8.1. A ‘Vote of Distrust’ on the Exco or any specified member(s) of the Exco may be put on the agenda of an EGM which may be called for by ten or more members.

8.2. Vote of Distrust of the Exco

8.2.1. If two-thirds of the members present in that EGM make votes of distrust against the incumbent Exco, it will have to call for another EGM for the election of a new Exco, and during this period before the successful election of a new Exco, the incumbent Exco can no longer enjoy any power of the Exco stated in this constitution. The nomination and election procedure shall be the same as described in section 7 of the constitution.

8.3. Vote of Distrust of specified member(s) of the Exco

8.3.1. If two-thirds of the members present in that EGM make votes of distrust against the specified member(s) of the Exco, the Exco will have to call for another EGM for the election of new Exco member(s) replacing the role of the outgoing member(s), and during this period before the successful election of new Exco member(s), the outgoing Exco member(s) can no longer enjoy any power of the Exco stated in this constitution. The nomination and election procedure shall be the same as described in section 7 of the constitution.

9. DISSOLUTION

9.1. The incumbent Exco may call for an EGM for the dissolution of the Society whenever it deems appropriate provided that at least twenty-one days written notice of the intention to dissolve the Society has been given to the members. If two-thirds of the members present at the EGM agree with the dissolution proposal, the Society will be dissolved.

10. LANGUAGE

10.1. Both Chinese and English are the official languages of the Society and they have equal status and authority unless otherwise explicitly stated.

10.2. Any business of the Society, including proceedings of the Exco and meetings, may be conducted in Chinese or in English.

11. SENIOR TREASURER

11.1. A Senior Treasurer shall be appointed by the Committee each year to audit the Society’s accounts.

11.2. The Senior Treasurer must be a member of the Regent House of the University of Cambridge or other person approved by the Junior Proctor of the University of Cambridge. The Senior Treasurer shall not be held liable for any financial debt or other obligation of the society unless he has personally authorised such a debt in writing.

12. FINANCE

12.1. Withdrawal of any sum from the Society’s bank account can only be effected by the joint authorisations of the President and the Treasurer.

13. CHINA FUND

13.1. The China Fund, the origin of which is explained in Annex I, can only be disposed of if the conditions set out in Sections 13.2 – 13.4 have been fulfilled.

13.2 Any part or whole of the China Fund and its interests should only be dedicated to the promotion of democracy in Hong Kong and China through rational and non-violent means.

13.3. Proposal for the disposal the China Fund

13.3.1 Any ten members of the Society may move a proposal for the disposal of any part or whole of the China Fund and its interests by giving written notice to the Exco, whereupon the Exco must announce a referendum on the proposal within seven days of receiving such notice.

13.3.2 The Exco shall announce the referendum to all eligible members, as described in Section 13.3.4. The voting period shall begin upon the announcement. The voting period shall end no earlier than seven days after the announcement and no later than fourteen days after the announcement. The Exco shall decide the length of the voting period, subject to the abovementioned limits, and announce the end time of the voting period in the announcement of the referendum.

13.3.3 The announcement and the voting shall be held electronically to ensure that all members have equal access to the referendum regardless of location. Once the voting period begins, there shall be no amendments to the proposal, nor changes to the length of the voting period. However, a member shall be allowed to change his vote before the end of the voting period.

13.3.4. Only members who have become a member of the Society prior to the notice of the proposal shall have the right to vote in it. The President reserves the right to determine a member's right to vote should any dispute arise.

13.3.5 A proposal is approved if it is supported by at least 20 percent of all eligible members and at least two-thirds of the members who voted in the referendum, with the consent of the Senior Treasurer. The proposal will be given effect by the Executive Committee accordingly.

Annex I The Origin of the China Fund The China Fund was raised in 1989 by a group of Cambridge students with a view to support the student democratic movement in the People’s Republic of China. Due to change of circumstances, the Fund has not been used and has thereafter been held by the HKCAS. The Fund can therefore only be used in appropriate circumstances compatible with the original aim of promoting democracy in China through rational and non-violent means.

 

Last Revision: 1/3/2019