BY NORI MOY —
It has been over a decade since the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. Still accustomed to British rule, the people of Hong Kong have come to have certain expectations of their government. Although some citizens of Hong Kong considered British rule to be one of an inequitable colonial nature, Beijing has proven to be more of an oppressor than a friend of the people. Due to Beijing’s continuous disregard for a democratic system, Hong Kong politics are even less reliable than when under the Queen’s rule.
Former Chief Executive Donald Tsang met his demise with bribery scandals. Current Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying (CY) has proven to be a total puppet of the People’s Congress. As if his personal scandals were not enough, CY Leung refused to give his inaugural speech in Cantonese. He instead chose the Chinese national dialect, which is undeniably inaccessible to many of the citizens of Hong Kong.
The political structure of Hong Kong is continuously manipulated by mainland China. Beijing actively undermines the fiscal and civil liberties supposedly afforded to Hong Kong corporations and citizens. The Heritage Foundation recently noted that Hong Kong’s lofty position as the freest economy is due to be usurped by Singapore.
Hong Kong is a culture of protest; they protest for everything from free television to suffrage rights. Just this year, university students began protesting the inability of the Chinese government to issue public apologies. Pro-democracy leaders are kicked out of the chamber on a weekly basis. It is clear that Beijing has little tolerance for protest.
As the pan-democrats continue their petition for a legitimate democracy, Beijing is willing to go to new lengths to violate their liberties. Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, Secretary of Justice, warned that public nomination would threaten Beijing’s requirement of balanced participation. Hao Tiechuan, the publicity director of the central government’s liaison office, was also quick to note that Beijing has the ability, by the power of Article 18 of the Basic Law, to impose a state of emergency should national unity or security be compromised.
Could the legislation possibly be more ambiguous? From the perspective of Beijing bureaucrats, public nomination would ostensibly compromise national unity. Hong Kong has been a bastion of civil liberty and individual rights. It seems that there is a tension growing between the people of Hong Kong and their neighbors. As Beijing manipulates Hong Kong politics, the people have an increasing sense of animosity.
In a satirical review of the antipathy this year, the South China Morning Post stated, “To the Chinese, Hong Kong speaks with one voice. Take our trash, provide us with power and water, but don’t you dare, don’t you dare speak or eat publicly when you visit.”
There is a very real rift that is building between Hong Kong and the mainland. As the pan-democrats continue their three-point platform for public nomination, the fervor for a real democracy will spread. It is evident – the writing is on the wall. Eventually, empty threats of compromised national unity will no longer resonate.
When Hong Kong students raised their middle fingers to Pro-Beijing Chief Executive CY Leung during a commencement address, it was not a sign of endearment. Multiple local newspaper polls, the South China Morning Post among them, demonstrated that at least 90% of Hong Kong citizens would rather return to British colonialism than remain under the communist party’s thumb. The two-system agreement Beijing promised to uphold must be honored if Hong Kong is to remain a bastion of stability and equity.