Hong Kong’s Hopes CrushedPosted: August 31, 2014
From this weekend’s WSJ opinion pages:
The people of Hong Kong can plead or protest for democracy all they want, but they can only hold a sham election for Chief Executive in 2017. That was the ruling of China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress on Sunday.
“The threat to Hong Kong’s capitalism comes not from democracy, but from the cronyism and erosion of the rule of law that are infiltrating from the mainland.”
Moderates on both sides of the political spectrum in Hong Kong had urged compromise. They proposed nomination procedures that would satisfy Beijing’s concerns while still allowing the free election that China promised in 1997 when it made the city a self-governing special administrative region for 50 years.
“The tragedy for both Hong Kong and China is that the conflict is unnecessary.”
Beijing not only rejected these ideas, it seems they were never seriously considered. The Communist Party insists on absolute veto power over the choice of candidates. The result will be more frustration in Hong Kong.
“The city is manifestly ready for democracy, which would give Beijing fewer headaches rather than more.”
Since the handover from British rule, the city has suffered under mediocre leaders weakened by their lack of a popular mandate. This has angered parts of the population, particularly the young, and some are promising acts of civil disobedience.
The anger is likely to grow. The pro-democracy camp has enough votes in the local Legislative Council to reject Beijing’s sham democracy plan, and a poll by Chinese University in Hong Kong found that 60% of the city’s people want the legislature to vote it down. If Beijing’s plan is voted down, the next Chief Executive will be selected using the current nondemocratic system, in which a 1,200-member committee made up largely of China’s businessmen friends picks the leader. Their choice will face increased resistance from all but the most loyal pro-Beijing partisans.
Beijing is already giving a taste of how it intends to handle any dissent. In the People’s Daily and other state media Saturday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman accused some in the city of “colluding” with external forces….(read more)
- Protesters condemn Hong Kong ruling (bbc.co.uk)
- China rules out open elections in Hong Kong (theguardian.com)
- Beijing: China Legislature Rules No Open Nominations for Hong Kong Leader (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- CHINA’S Ticking Clock: Critical Hong Kong Vote Ruling by Beijing Coming Soon (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Showdown: China Warns Against ‘Foreign Meddling’ (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Pictures From Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Rally (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Beijing Gets Ugly in Hong Kong (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Hong Kong’s Occupy Central ‘Referendum’ Explained (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- ‘Insufficiency of Mutual Trust’: Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Protesters to Get Pro Bono Aid (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- The Visual Feast of Hong Kong: Through the Lens of Hong Kong Fong, Part 1 (punditfromanotherplanet.com)