Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hong Kong: Beijing Delays Full Democracy for Hong Kong

Here's the latest from the ongoing wrangle over government in Hong Kong. Plenty of people are furious, and protests have sprung up in HK. You will remember that China had pledged eventual full democracy to HK after the 1997 handover, but no date was actually set, and, as usual, Beijing's proving to be less than fully forthcoming.

Now Beijing has said that greater HK democracy and universal suffrage will be granted in 2017 -- ten full years away. HK pro-democracy activists and lawmakers are pushing for a faster schedule -- 2012. In any case, full democracy from HK is by no means guaranteed by the latest dicta. Really, Beijing's ultimate goal, I dare say, is to stall indefinitely. Who is naive enough to believe Beijing's promises about granting democracy to anybody? Democracy is too much of a threat, and so are the trappings of a fully free, open, democratic society -- just look at China's infamous censorship of media.

Now for a little look at the news media. Come and see:
You'll remember the status of things in HK. HK residents can directly elect only half the members of their legislature, and the HK chief executive is appointed by a committee packed with Beijing loyalists. The ongoing struggle in HK is for HK to elect directly all of its legislators and also its chief executive. I don't know about you, but if I weren't able to elect my own political leadership, I would not call that government "democratic." Anyway, the delay tactics in HK reinforce a conviction long felt by many in my Taiwanese circles: "We don't want to be a second Hong Kong."

Anyway, I really like this quote, taken from banners held by pro-democracy protesters: "Democracy delayed is democracy denied."

UPDATE: Am I wrong about Chinese "democracy"?

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