Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Letters:

A slap in the face for Tung

The citizens of Hong Kong have spoken.

With a turnout of 44 percent, more than one million people voted in Sunday's District Council election. It comes as no surprise that the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong lost about 20 seats. In fact, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) should be thankful that the opposition did not get more votes. He must realize that if there had been an election for chief executive, he would have been defeated, regardless of opponent. That sums up the discontent and disillusionment the people in Hong Kong feel towards Beijing, Tung and his administration.

It is ironic that before the election, Tung urged voters to select a candidate who best reflected their ideas in government. That is outright fudging from someone whose only interest was to fulfill the agenda of his superiors -- the Chinese government.

In the face of problems such as high unemployment and diminishing property prices, the Hong Kong people sent a message that they want democracy as much as economic security. It might just be true that only with democracy as its core governing value will Hong Kong gain its economic reward.

Six years after the handover, Hong Kong has failed to progress a single step forward economically or socially; indeed it has taken two steps back. It is a situation which Taiwanese voters should note carefully.

Tung's main impediment in governing the territory is his over-reliance on the Chinese government. He has no sense of independence in governing Hong Kong, and merely nods in agreement to whatever his superiors say. There lies the difference between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The destiny of Taiwan rests in the hands of voters in less than four months' time.

At this moment, I feel happy for the citizens of Hong Kong, who have clearly taken a step forward in pursuit of democracy. I do not want to feel otherwise for Taiwan, if Beijing's preferred candidate wins the election in March.

That would be a black day for Taiwan and democracy in general.

JASON LEE BOON HONG

Singapore

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