On today’s New York Times, Paul Krugman has a column on democracy in Hong Kong.
“It’s always good when leaders tell the truth, especially if that wasn’t their intention. So we should be grateful to Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader of Hong Kong, for blurting out the real reason pro-democracy demonstrators can’t get what they want: With open voting, “You would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month. Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies” — policies, presumably, that would make the rich less rich and provide more aid to those with lower incomes.”
I want to correct that Leung was Beijing backed leader. If my recollection is correct, there were 2 candidates for the chief executive, and Beijing backed the losing candidates Tang, and Leung was the candidate of the plutocrats and won. I also differ on the implied nature of “Occupy Central” is for the poor. Looking at the backers of OC, their platform is not more progressive tax and more service for the poor, but more independence from China, more pro U.S.. I suspect the OC leaders are now more worried about losing control as younger students may veer farther left and question the whole foundation of society.
As for China, with 1 country, 2 systems in place, with 50 years horizon and problems in governing the whole nation, Hong Kong was ignored. Even with some minor education reform to be more patriotic was shouted down 2 years ago. Now with the protests I think Beijing will take more interest and direct role. Resignation of Leung may be beneficial to both sides, and I expect Beijing to beef up popular support for more progressive tax system, invest in more education and low cost schools for the poor and curriculum emphasis on China. Hong Kong may be a good place to start experimenting without affecting stability of the whole nation. One concession maybe to lower the nomination committee to 20-25% rather than 50% for more candidates of chief executive.