++++++++++++++"Scouts" from China’s central government and members of the pro-Beijing Democratic Party are meeting about whether or not to push forward Article 23 of the Basic Law. The article states “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets.” Before the end of the year Beijing would like to use the measure to crackdown on dissidents from the mainland that now enjoy freedom of speech and association in Hong Kong. Some Democratic Party members of the legislative council, like Chang Wen-kuang, are hesitant, however. In comments carried by the Ming Pao he gave four reasons his party should oppose the law: (1) there is no imminent need to increase state security; (2) it will weaken the Hong Kong peoples’ confidence in the legislature; (3) Hong Kong’s special administrative region's chief executive Donald Tsang does not have enough support from lawmakers; (4) if forced forward, the measure might cause a public backlash making Taiwan more resistant to unification.
Editor’s Note: Article 23 has long been a political hot potato in Hong Kong. In 2003, Beijing first tried to push it forward and as a result, Tung Chee-hwa, then Hong Kong’s chief executive, faced 500,000 street protesters. About a year later, after being branded a Beijing stoolie, Tung agreed to a series of compromises to weaken the measure before he "stepped down owing to foot pain."
Comments like this show how important Taiwan is in enabling Hong Kong to retain some its democratic rights. They also show what Beijing's ultimate plans for Taiwan are.
Another thing that is shown here is how Hong Kong was not returned to "China" but given to the PRC in all its authoritarian glory. An important function of the constant use of "China" rather than "PRC" in this discourse is that it blurs over what is actually going to occur -- Taiwan is not going to become part of some mystical, transcendent "China" but instead Taiwan will be annexed to the very concrete PRC and will suffer whatever fate PRC officials determine for it.
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