J Michael spent some time on China's first ever White Paper on Hong Kong.
China on June 10 issued its first-ever white paper on “one country, two systems” and the current state of things in Hong Kong, the former British colony that was re-unified with the Mainland in 1997. While the document contains little that is unexpected in terms of rhetoric that expounds the virtues of the system or calls for patriotism, the timing of its release — this summer promises to be eventful as activists prepare for a series of sit-ins, “unofficial” referenda and other escalatory measures in defiance of Beijing and its allies in the territory — is very telling. The unintended message of the white paper is that Beijing is worried, and that further restrictions are to be expected. There are a few lessons and warnings in there for Taiwan.As my friend Tommy Patterson remarked on Facebook, it is not as though we didn't know that One Country Two Systems is a facade. Democracy in Hong Kong threatens Party control over China, while democracy in Taiwan keeps it free. Hence the paper says that Taiwan would be able to maintain its capitalist system -- note, not its democracy -- over a long time, which, as J Michael observes, is not indefinitely.
One common position held by pro-unificationists who are not Chinese is that Taiwan should annex itself to China now to get "the best deal" that it can. But Beijing wants Taiwan annexed and its democracy crushed. Cole writes:
Hence the several warnings in the white paper, such as: “The high degree of autonomy of HKSAR is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership. The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR is not full autonomy, nor a decentralized power.” [italics added by JMC.] We are told who is boss, and reminded that autonomy could be denied should things degenerate in the territory. More ominous is a passage in the section “Fully and Accurately Understanding the Meaning of ‘One Country, Two Systems,’” which emphasizes that China is, in the end, a “single-system nation” (中華人民共和國是單一制國家). The mask is off: one country lies supreme, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that Beijing is even willing to countenance a more permissive model when it comes to Taiwan, as was made perfectly clear late last month when the Taiwan Affairs Office shot down a “greater one China” proposal initiated on Taiwan’s side to help resolve the impasse in the Taiwan Strait.The resulting political system will depend on the "goodwill" of Beijing. Which has none. Beijing's treatment of Tibet (tearing up the 17 point agreement) and Hong Kong (delaying or not implementing agreements) shows that idea of "a good deal" is a delusion. In neither example has Beijing kept its promises. There is no good deal to be had from Beijing, it's Beijing's way or war.
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