Thursday 28 May 2020

Hong Kong national security law: pro-democrats lost their chance, now city is paying the price

Your columnist Yonden Lhatoo hits the nail on the head when he asks, “Is Hong Kong American or Chinese territory?” (May 23). Since World War II, US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific has not been seriously challenged, not because they are right but simply because of their might. Now we have two bullies in the playground, the People’s Republic of China and the United States. So what does the US offer that makes the black-clad protesters wave the Stars and Stripes?As yet, neither the pro-democratic camp or the protest leaders have clearly defined what system they want. None has yet produced a workable, coherent and concise manifesto outlining an alternative system.
Do they want a democracy modelled on the US that effectively has only two legitimate parties; where citizens can enter a shop or even a house of government carrying dangerous weapons; a system in which to be elected you need massive financial backing? It is a system where the rights of the individual so far exceed that of the community that the community often suffers.
How about the UK? Yes, anyone can stand for election based on certain criteria. But again, only two parties have a realistic chance of winning. Do the “people” get to choose their leaders? Not really, as the parties decide internally who stands in which constituency and who their leaders are. The voters only get a choice by default.
Closer to home, there is the benevolent dictatorship in Singapore – a democracy only in name. Their reaction to protests would be much harsher and swifter. There would be no “slap on the wrist” sentencing from their courts.
I would suggest that Hong Kong’s system, and the offer that was on the table for the chief executive’s election prior to the Occupy Central movement, was a decent compromise between the overbearing control of the Communist Party and the skewed system we see in the US. It wasn’t ideal, but it was a step in the right direction.
Now, thanks to the rejection of that, and the current violent protests and belligerent pro-democrats, we are facing down the barrel of much greater oversight by the Chinese authorities. The protesters and the pro-democrats have cut off their noses to spite their faces and all Hongkongers will be worse off because of it.
Yours etc
ADDED: Another case of “perfection is the enemy of the good”. Or the “good enough”. Or the “a little bit is better than nothing”. They, the protesters, the pan-Dems, didn’t get 100%, so they refused the 60%. Foolish.