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Plutocrats Against Democracy

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.

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  1. scl2
    October 24th, 2014 at 10:09 | #1

    You are an idiot if you think the Western “elites” are any better than their counterparts in Hong Kong. BBC reported that the demonstration had been planned at least one year in advance, and as many as 1000 core agitators received “special training” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29708917

    P.S. This article is also interesting http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/CHIN-01-231014.html

  2. pug_ster
    October 25th, 2014 at 05:47 | #2

    @N.M.Cheung,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Chief_Executive_election,_2012

    As I recall, there were 3 candidates for Hong Kong Chief Executive Election at 2012 and one of them is pro-democratic. The problem with the Chief Executive candidates is that CYL and Henry Tang are both pro business people while Albert Ho is an American lackey. So 3 candidates who doesn’t really represent Hong Kong people’s interests.

    I agree it might be time for Beijing to start getting someone who can address social and economic issues of Hong Kong and perhaps that it might be a good idea for CYL to considering leaving or implementing some social policies that people want.

  3. raffiaflower
    October 26th, 2014 at 06:52 | #3

    Leung Chun ying may come out of the turmoil as the Mr Teflon of Hong Kong. The mud from the UGL transaction has not stuck.
    Leung even found his cojones and blamed foreign interests as black hands behind the protests. Expected lame response from Washington is that they are not involved. Read that as a message to Lai, Joshua, and other US flunkeys that you are now on your own?
    The protests were never about improving the lot of the poor and marginalized. It is a power game for bigger stakeholders, and the poor do not come into the radar, while the gormless students are foot soldiers and cannon fodder.
    It’s pukeworthy to hear these brats talking about the sacrifice of their time and studies, or getting tear-gassed, for `democracy’.
    Generations of brave men and women have debated and fought for freedom and the ideal form of governance for China through the 20th century.
    They have been starved, tortured, terrorized, bombed, killed, maimed, by internal and external enemies. These clueless gremlins in Hong Kong are having nothing more than a Woodstock love-in.
    Anyways, look like Game Over and fading soon.
    When the dust has settled, China really needs to introduce a bit of patriotic education to foil the religious/political indoctrination of Hong Kong students in the system.

  4. October 28th, 2014 at 05:10 | #4

    Ignorance is truly bliss. Thought I’d also give the link to Krugman’s article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/opinion/paul-krugman-plutocrats-against-democracy.html

    According to the Krugman, the CCP is afraid of the people, the masses, the poor … the 99% – while democratic regimes like the U.S. is not. But history tells a very different story. In the U.S., democracy started out as a regime to prop out the small minority of male, white, land owners. And after over two hundred of presumptively “progressive” history that saw “universal suffrage” – we are not sure if things are much better (e.g. Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens).

    PRC – on the other hand – arose from Mao’s appeal to the poor masses of China. The PRC was able to defeat the U.S.-backed ROC despite ROC having all the arms and money …

    If one must go back further to how democracy was formed, one sees that democracy was always about a finding an acceptable platform for the major powers (e.g. church, royals (“state”), aristocracy, and the merchant class.) to share and distribute powers among themselves, with the “people” deemed the pawns. The “people” had never had real power: they have always been too fragmented, poor to fight for what is good for them. Instead the “people” have been lied to, manipulated. Truth be told: the “people” have always relied on noble, good rulers to create a just and peaceful and prosperous society … but with western democracies, they are sold expensive reality t.v. shows that devolves all responsibilities of the “rulers” back to the unwitting masses. The West has been lucky with the historical windfalls of colonization and industrialization. If we must worship the West, we should worship colonization and industrialization … not the rosy crap that is spewed out by the Western elite.

    The narrative that the CCP is afraid of the masses? I don’t think so…

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