Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Some Soul-Searching after the Occupy Central Movement | Human Rights in China 中国人权 | HRIC

A leading Hong Kong law professor and political observer explains that Hong Kong's growth has lagged.  Seventeen years ago it was well above Singapore in per capita gdp.  Now it lags sharply.  Its growth lags behind China's too.  But only greater, not lesser democracy, can move Hong Kong forward.  He concludes:

The Occupy Central Movement has awakened the political awareness of the people—the awareness that there is a democratic deficit in Hong Kong’s governance structure, that the deficit is fatal to Hong Kong’s future development, and that there is an urgency to fix it. The OCM also confirms the democratic determination of the people and the centrality of democracy as a practice in Hong Kong politics.
Some Soul-Searching after the Occupy Central Movement | Human Rights in China 中国人权 | HRIC

by Fu Hualing (傅华伶) 
University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Maintaining Hong Kong’s economic prosperity and political stability has been a thorny issue for Beijing. Seen from Beijing, Hong Kong has, since 1997, become not only an economic burden but also a political liability. The prevailing perception on the mainland is that Hong Kong’s continuous economic stagnation necessitates policy support from the central government and restriction of competition from other Chinese cities, in order to pump up the Hong Kong economy. 
Politically, Hong Kong’s persistent demand for democratization and its direct and indirect influence on the mainland may be posing a challenge to the mainland political system. Hong Kong’s resilient struggle for autonomy is seen as presenting similar challenges already apparent in China’s peripheries: terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, self-immolations in Tibet, and political agitation in Taiwan. 

The worry in Beijing is that Hong Kong may slip away from Beijing’s grip, and that a democratized Hong Kong may cause a chain reaction in other parts of the mainland. Indeed, the more conservative wing of the CPC may prefer to roll back China’s commitment to gradual democratization in Hong Kong, if at all possible, and would be happy to see Hong Kong vote the limited reform package. It is in this context that we understand the difficult relations between Hong Kong and the central government authorities.
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