Our [US’] own current leader, after all, was “elected” not by a majority but by an antiquated system that vitiates the overall voice of the people. Our electoral college produced Donald Trump; Beijing’s functional/geographical representation system produced Lam. Enough said.I don’t like the scare quotes around “election”. After all, the fight was over Electoral College votes not the popular vote. And in Hong Kong the functional constituencies were set up by the UK, not Beijing. Quibbles aside, there’s more than a skerrick of truth here: that the US system is far from direct democracy and Hong Kong has democratic elements. District Councillors elected by universal suffrage (I’ve voted many times) in turn vote for the selection committee that nominates Chief Executive candidates. That developed since the handover. Thus, two imperfect systems, with elements of democracy. It’s a far from perfect analogy, sure, but it’s a skerrick of truth.
I’m bearing this in mind when reading this article by David Zweig, who makes some good points. The main one being that Hong Kong troubles are redounding to Beijing’s benefit. I was always sceptical of that, but maybe. The argument is vandals in Hong Kong show mainlanders the downsides of its system vs the peace and good order and economic growth of Beijing’s authoritarianism.. He’s certainly right about Chinese fear of chaos. In Chinese it’s luan (乱) as in pa luan to be afraid of chaos and it’s one of the first things you learn about in Chinese history. A deep and abiding fear of chaos. (亂 in traditional Hong Kong yellow-ribbon approved format).
Further on Zweig says:
These are the precise institutions – a free press, an independent judiciary which affords citizens fair trials, the right to elect a parliament and leader through a free and open process – that pro-democracy forces here in Hong Kong are fighting to preserve if not expand. And these are the same institutions whose curtailment by Beijing has helped foment the current crisis.My comment: free press continues. Hong Kong has the forest press in Asia and one of the freest in the world. That’s just not the English language, like the Post, that I often recommend. The Chinese press is wide, deep, bristling with robust contention. Ditto the government broadcaster RTHK. So I don’t know what Zweig means when he says “curtailed”. Perhaps he’s thinking of the kidnapping of several booksellers a few years ago. But as I said then and seems to be the case, that was likely a rogue operation, not approved by Beijing, shut down and not repeated.
Independent judiciary continues. As shown in the very article linked in Zweig’s quote above.
As for the third, the right to elect parliament, I refer back to my comment above on Tom Plate. Not perfect but better than pre-1997. Moreover suffrage could have been increased in 2015, but was voted down by the Pan Dems because it wasn’t perfect. The same Pan Dems who are encouraging the “yellow ribbon” protesters and enabling rioters.