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Hong Kong and Democracy

Calling it a “sad day for Hong Kong” one of the world’s prominent democracy scholars decried Beijing’s new restrictions on Hong Kong’s upcoming elections, saying they would fail to meet international standards for universal suffrage and could invite a public boycott.

This seems to be about the worst outcome imaginable. No progress toward democracy, not even a timetable toward democracy, and frankly, not even an effort to gesture toward democracy

Professor Larry Diamond

“This is a sad day for Hong Kong, and for democracy,” Professor Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said in an email interview. “This seems to be about the worst outcome imaginable. No progress toward democracy, not even a timetable toward democracy, and frankly, not even an effort to gesture toward democracy.”

Above quote was the first paragraph from South China Morning Post. Far for me to disagree with Professor Diamond, but he is from Hoover Institute, the noted conservative nest from Southern California, so I would take it with a grain of salt. As a Chinese American who lived in U.S. for over 50 years I think I have as much right as Professor Diamond to talk about democracy and Hong Kong. (I did lived in Hong Kong for 2 years and still have relatives there.)

Let’s review the history of Hong Kong. Cede to Britain after the First Opium War in 1842, Kowloon in 1860, and New Territories in 1898 for 100 years lease. Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 when the lease expired and after negotiation as the island itself was untenable without the New Territories. Note U.S. is still holding Guantanamo due to colonial conquest as they called rule of law or more like rule of gun. Over the years Hong Kong has been transformed from manufacturing center for low cost items to a service economy of finance and tourism. It is inextricably tied to China in everything. China agreed to the 50 years transition period and has been essentially left Hong Kong alone. Now it’s more than 1/3 over the 50 years, the disparity in living standards between Hong Kong and mainland has been decreasing, yet because over the years many of China’s political exiles has been sent to Hong Kong, it does generate a noisy democracy movement.

U.S.A., cradle of democracy, 2008, Obama, Hope and Change. Today, not much change and even less hope. Ferguson, Missouri, I understand 12% of African-Americans voted in the local elections there, with white mayor, city councilors, and police force. Voter ID laws everywhere to cut down minority votes. I am sure professor Diamond approves those laws as legitimate voice of the people. Neocons want Hong Kong to be the next Ukraine on the doorstep of China. It will not happen.

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  1. danielxu
    September 1st, 2014 at 20:14 | #1

    can’t wait to see vice president Biden, like in Ukraine, comes to Hongkong supporting those in the so called ‘Occupy Central’ demonstration; even better if flanked by Anson Chan and Martin Lee; bring the Falun Gong people as well, the more the merrier.
    Not joking, the Brit has started with their “influential” Westminster committee for carrying out an inquiry into the ongoing tensions in Hong Kong.
    Don’t worry, worse scenario the Aussie and Canadian will accept refugees from there. Maybe not to the State, too many migrants and gun violence.

  2. September 1st, 2014 at 22:00 | #2

    A lot of these protestors have dual citizenships. Many are those who migrated to Britain before 97, now coming back to wreck havoc.

  3. N.M.Cheung
    September 2nd, 2014 at 04:22 | #3

    I wrote back to a column in SCMP,

    “You should know where you stand. Everyone is spouting clichés about 1 country, 2 systems, and outraged that China dares to violate it, except you forget one thing. 1 country, 2 system was and is always a temporary state of affair. It was used to cushion the shock of eventually becoming 1 country and 1 system. China will never countenance a de facto separate city state looking askance at her fellow countrymen.”

  4. N.M.Cheung
    September 2nd, 2014 at 19:25 | #4

    I responded to the column in NYT with following letter;

    “Hong Kong was returned to China not because Britain wanted to, but because she has no choice as 100 years lease was expiring for New Territories in 1997, as Hong Kong island and Kowloon were untenable by themselves. Unlike Guantanamo Bay which U.S. still clings to against the wishes of Cuba. Such are the vagaries of rule of law and democracy. China agreed to the 1 country, 2 systems for 50 years transition period, which is a temporary measure transitional to 1 country, 1 system. Yet some still harbor the illusion of a de facto separation is possible by appealing to a U.S. type of pseudo democracy with unrealized campaign promises of Hope and Change. I am sure the residents of Ferguson, Missouri would beg to differ.”

  5. September 2nd, 2014 at 23:42 | #5

    American confidence in their congress has fallen from 42% in 1973 to the current record low of 7%. Yes, 7%! Can anyone claim that to be a “representative government” with a straight face? Helpless Americans are evidently waking up to the con game, but what can they do? Keep voting!?It goes to show Hong Kong copycats are pathetically behind time, monkeying an institution that has GLARINGLY (except to the blind and the Free Press) failed everywhere but a few small countries.


  6. curious
    September 3rd, 2014 at 22:51 | #6

    It should be pretty clear by now to most that this ideology – “democracy” that the US seems to champion is certainly bankrupt in the US of A. These “elections” held every 4 years to select the next US president currently cost each candidate some 1 billion dollars and going up. Where does this kind of money come from one should ask ? The US presidents and most Congress members are bought and paid for by the financial US elites and the Jewish/Zionist AIPAC Committee. Lots of promises are made during the politicians election campaign speeches to the voting public. Most turn out to be empty promises with the politicians never held accountable. The US has learned well over the past years to manipulate this political “democracy” tool.
    Of course the US and its Western puppets would like nothing better than to install this “democracy” ideology in all those countries currently not on their puppet strings. Once installed, they would know how to quickly bring them under control.
    These ideologies like “democracy”, religion, freedom of press, freedom of speech etc etc are political tools used by the US to make a country compliant to Western control.

    An interesting link to a discussion of US democracy and US matters –


  7. ersim
    September 5th, 2014 at 10:23 | #7

    What is laughable is how this “movement” in HK expect China to grant them something their British colonial masters have denied them for over 150 years. The hypocrecy(never ,”democracy) of it all.

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