Violent democracy threatens HK prospects

By Zhang Dinghuai Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-4 22:33:03

The principle of "one country, two systems," despite its great inclusiveness, cannot tolerate bleeding "democratic politics."

If Hong Kong, an inalienable part of China, cannot maintain its stability due to controversies in the development of democratic politics and even witnesses turbulences that will further impact the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, then the original intention and objective of this principle will be violated.

Democracy is a great system, but with defects. In the political practices throughout the world during the past 300 years, some countries have achieved huge success in democracy, while others have ended up with chaos in their national order.

Democracy is thus classified by some into "good democracy" and "bad democracy." The former actually reflects the circumstances where the fundamental conditions of a society fully accommodate democratic politics.

In contrast, imposing such an institution in a nation which is not well prepared to accept democracy in terms of politics, history, economics, culture and social values will only plunge the country into long-term turmoil.

As a special administrative region under the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong enjoys a relatively, not absolutely, high degree of autonomy. This comes as a result of the central government's decision to realize reunification based on Hong Kong's status quo.

The central government therefore plays a dominant role in Hong Kong's political development, which is a basic logic in the "one country, two systems" policy.

The central government has been supportive of the development of Hong Kong's democratic politics. The modern democratic political reform in Hong Kong starting from the mid-1980s focused on changing the nature of the Hong Kong's Legislative Council.

The British pushed forward the reform with ulterior motives, but the central government of China did not propose objections in the light of the upcoming "one country, two systems" policy at that time.

The Basic Law further clarified the goals of Hong Kong's political reform after its return to China; universal suffrage will eventually apply to the election of Hong Kong's chief executive and Legislative Council.

The current row in Hong Kong over universal suffrage is not about whether to propel the process, but about what constitutes its basis and how to implement it.

After a series of debates, Hong Kong's extreme opposition recognized that there are certain moral risks in clamoring against the Basic Law and relevant regulations by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. They consequently altered their strategy by proposing public nomination of chief executive candidates which they insisted was the bottom line to realize "genuine universal suffrage."

To make the central government compromise, the opposition group has continued with the potentially violent concept of the "Occupy Central" movement as a threat.

They also collude with the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan with the intention to acquire experience in promoting "street politics."

Democracy and violence are two incompatible concepts. Violence is quite likely to occur if some ill-intentioned opponents attempt to achieve their shady purposes in the name of democracy.

Why are Benny Tai Yiu-ting, who initiated the Occupy Central campaign and his supporters so bold as to challenge the central government with a bloody proposal over the issue of chief executive election procedures? We can find the answer if we look at the movements of external forces.

Today's Hong Kong belongs to the Chinese, and any interference from foreign forces will end up in vain.

Under the framework of "one country, two systems," we must strive to push forward the democratic politics with Hong Kong-style capitalism in line with reality.

However, such a policy will in no way tolerate bloody "democratic politics" that uses violence as a way to pressure the central government.

The author is a professor and deputy director of the Center for Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, Shenzhen University.

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