Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Is Hong Kong heading for irrelevance within the country?

Headed for irrelevance within country?        Courtesy SCMP
From the South China Morning Post yesterday.  Alex Lo is usually pretty astute. I hope he's wrong about this assessment... that Hong Kong will become just like any other Chinese city.
The article is behind a paywall, so copy it below:

Alex Lo 
Beijing has announced that the people of Hong Kong need to be re-educated, oops sorry, I meant "re-enlightened". At the same time, our naughty students are calling on us to mess up basic government functions by delaying payment of public housing rents and taxes.

The way things are going, Hong Kong will either become an orphan or a ward of the state. Neither outcome bodes well for our future.
A senior member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Zhang Rongshun , said over the weekend Hong Kong and Macau need "re-enlightenment" on "one country, two systems", national identity and national security after the disaster of the Occupy movement.
Visions of re-education camps pass before my eyes. Maybe we should have taken national education in our classrooms.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Federation of Students have started their Occupy follow-up: citizen non-cooperation with the government.
Call it passive-aggressive resistance. The post-handover government has already proved inadequate in formulating long-term policies that Hong Kong desperately needs in education, health care, welfare and economic competition.
If our young activists succeed, even basic government functions like tax collection will be challenged.
Where does this all lead? In fighting an imposed "fake" democracy, we will end up with no democracy at all.
We face the prospect of being permanently stuck in the 2012 regressive election system, with a government, no matter who heads it, being considered illegitimate, dysfunctional and unpopular by many people. That is if Beijing allows existing civil liberties to continue. Hong Kong may keep its freedom but become a basket case. Having concluded we are hopeless, it will just let major mainland cities eclipse and replace us.
Alternatively, Beijing will just say, "Enough is enough. Screw one country two systems." A cadre will become the new governor while the chief executive, democratically nominated or not, will become a ceremonial post.
But what about Western-style democracy? The idealists among us can dream on.