Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hong Kong: What's in Store For Taiwan

The great blog ESWN had an article translation that should send chills up the spine of anyone who wants Taiwan's future to be democratic:

... In the March 26 issue of TIME magazine, Hong Kong was on the front cover with the lead story being an interview with Chief Executive Donald Tsang. The local media obviously focused on this interview. In the same issue, there was a more important essay that nobody paid attention to. Not a single word was quoted by the Hong Kong media. This essay was written by the Executive Council convener Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) who is a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Consultative Council. ...

The essay covers the issues, from China's point of view, of what it means to be a "child of the motherland" -- and what is Taiwan's relationship to China, according to the pro-Beijing crowd? ESWN goes on to comment:

The title of Leung's essay is Child of Motherland. From the title, it does not seem to be any big deal. But the sub-heading pointed out the main point of the essay in a clear way: "As a part of China, Hong Kong cannot and may not autonomously determine its own democratic system." Leung wrote: "Unlike other colonies, Hong Kong did not become independent. It became part of a nation -- China -- and was given not full but a "high degree" of autonomy, under the principle of 'one country, two systems.'"

Two key points here. First, when Taiwan is part of China it cannot determine what government it should have ("As a part of China, Hong Kong cannot and may not autonomously determine its own democratic system."). That is for Beijing alone to say. And second, "one country, two systems" is a sham, for under that rubric, Hong Kong does not have its own system, it merely has a high degree of autonomy, which China is slowly eliminating. In other words, the "other system" of the "two systems" isn't another system, but the same system as China -- as I said the other day, "my system is my system, and your system is my system." If Beijing really wanted to lure the Taiwanese into the fold, suppressing democracy in Hong Kong is a bad move. What does that suggest about Beijing's strategy vis-a-vis Taiwan?


C said...

I am in total agreement. I am surprised that such a key point as this is often glossed-over in Taiwan. I am currently living in Hong Kong and watching Hong Kong culture and identity eroding before my eyes.

阿牛 said...

Par for the course. Beijing tries not to say these things all the time, but they've said them in the past and have been nothing but consistant.

The blue camp never even talks about Beijing's position when stating blue visions of a cross-strait future, and the reason is obvious. If they were listening to China was saying so coldly and cooly, even they would have to renounce any sort of unification in the foreseeable future.

channing said...

I'm amazed at how some high-striding expats can even talk about "erosion of culture and identity" in a city that they have no cultural attachment to.

As someone who grew up in colonial HK and still visits frequently, I would have to strongly disagree on these pessimistic views on "democracy" and "identity." The only thing HK has lost since the handover is its British sovereign status.

I am both optimistic and pragmatic about HK's democratic development because unlike some Taiwanese politicians' wild and uninformed fantasies, I have actually kept up with the policies and proposals of the HKSAR government. Meanwhile, the city continues to flourish as a growing trade centre and those pan-green die-hards in Taiwan will never understand a world-league international city, especially one that they're hell-bent on ridiculing.

Why? Ironically, it's really because they don't WANT to. They want to continue to use Hong Kong as part of their collection of "bad examples" of China, and will continue to make up negative, sensationalized "news" about how Beijing controls everything.

I encourage people to visit HK if they have not already, and see for themselves how free and civilized the people, the media and the culture are. It'll open up your eyes and it will prove that HKers run the city, not Beijing or the Gong-An.

I would also like you to know that I am of the 1980s generation, the generation that will miss the colonial era the most; we did not experience any of the brutal racism and persecution that our parents and grandparents did. Our generation will forever hold the colonial era with great nostalgia despite the fact that we are moving on.

To further open eyes, take everything I've said about Hong Kong and apply it to the rest of China. It's a vast, wonderful country that is hardly characterized by the awkward and corrupt Communist Party and its missiles. I am in no way advocating its threats against Taiwan, but before labelling the country with ridiculous terms like "Communist," one would do well to understand the country and its people more, especially the fact that "Communism" in China died in 1979. That fact is something that many of us are forgetting or purposely ignoring.

I do wish the best for Taiwan and its people, but my feeling is that while both blue and green camps have serious fundamental flaws in ideology and execution, my support does not lie with the pan-greens at this stage. Both are competing for charge of governance, and this time I don't believe the pan-green candidates have the merit...but that's not the point here; I read this out of interest and notice all the negative sentiment on one city that is way out of league with Taiwan. All my Taiwanese friends who have visited Hong Kong hold the city in the highest regard, and I do suggest a more comprehensive analysis of the sociopolitical situation in a country or other territory before believing all the flak.

All the best for you and for Taiwan.

Michael Turton said...

All my Taiwanese friends who have visited Hong Kong hold the city in the highest regard, and I do suggest a more comprehensive analysis of the sociopolitical situation in a country or other territory before believing all the flak.

Thanks, Channing. But I'm not posting on pan-Green views of Hong Kong or China. I'm posting on Chinese views of how it Beijing is suppose to govern Hong Kong.

For the record, I can't recall reading anything about what the pan-Greens have said about Hong Kong that remotely resembles what you say. Can you supply some quotes? Most of the Greens I know have good things to say about HKK, and stuff that comes out in the papers, like the recent comments to the effect that Hong Kong has everything needed to be a democracy, is approving. Any citations you have to support your claims would be great.


channing said...

I did leave out many specifics, but I felt that my post was getting to be quite long. I noticed that Taipei Times is a relatively common read in the "Taiwan Matters" blogring, and in T-Times I've seen numerous occasions of pan-green politicans and raving editorials say various baseless things about HK.

I went slightly off-topic with my points (Sorry!) partly because the commentary on the TIME article makes many suggestions and implications with regard to the media, the democratic situation, etc. in Hong Kong. Also, I noticed that this topic of democratization in HK has caught a fair amount of attention in your circles. It may be more fair to apply my points to the entire "Taiwan Matters" blogring than to just your site, but I'm not sure if that's possible.

I am at a loss to provide specific, concrete examples and for that I must apologize. Have a good day!

C said...

I'd like to correct an earlier comment, substituting "political autonomy" (though I'm still grasping for the correct term) for the words "culture and identity". Given that this article really has nothing to do with culture and identity, I'm chalking this up as one of those lazy slips one makes after 9 consecutive 14 hour workdays. My apologies!