Tue, Jul 20, 2004 - Page 8 News List


China's HK policies fail

Chinese officials, such as Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星), use every opportunity to point out that there is more democracy in Hong Kong now, under Chinese rule, than when it was a British colony. They say that, since the people of Hong Kong did not complain under British rule, it is hypocritical of Western powers to accuse China of suppressing their human rights ("China snorts at Western concern for human rights," July 16, page 1).

At first blush, the rationale may seem reasonable. However, what Chinese officials are really saying is that if Western powers thought it was okay for the British to deny the people of Hong Kong a say in their future, then China should not be criticized for doing the same. In addition, the people of Hong Kong have no cause for complaint. After all, they have never had a say in their future so it should not matter to them if their oppressors are British or Chinese.

But the Chinese comparison of its rule with British rule is incomplete. During the past century, the British have de-colonized. Beginning with Canada in the mid-1800s, the British allowed their far-flung colonies to gain independence. The 53 members of the Commonwealth are former British territories who now govern themselves. If that practice continues, it is likely that when Hong Kong develops the desire for self-government, the British will also help coordinate its independence and membership of the Commonwealth.

On the other hand, I can think of no territory that China has let go of. To the contrary, in the past century, China has been absorbing territories that may once have paid tribute to the Chinese empire, but were actually self-governing. Its desire for Taiwan is yet another example of China's appetite.

To complete the comparison of the human right records of British and Chinese rule over Hong Kong, British de-colonization and Chinese expansionism must be considered. At that point, perhaps Chinese officials will find other arguments to justify their disregard for the concerns of Hong Kong's people.

Kenneth Choy

Hong Kong

Blinded by dogma

I am American living in Taipei, and I caution Taipei Times readers not to be fooled or swayed by Joel Linton's letter (Letters, July 18, page 8).

Unlike that writer, I did see Fahrenheit 911. There were no fabrications or lies in the movie. It was a compilation of public news coverage, interviews and legal documents about George Bush and the Iraqi war.

By his letter, it is clear to me that Linton is one of those members of the religiously fanatical far-right wing that has taken over the Republican party and pushes Bush's despicable agenda. I call that agenda "the will to believe and the will to deceive."

This is where unscrupulous individuals and groups (both in and out of political office) invoke God as they use fiction, misrepresentations and outright lies to control others through fear and blind faith. The Linton letter is a good example of this.

In the letter, the writer first states fiction and not fact about the movie. Then he misrepresents all those who oppose Bush and his war as aligned with communist China. Then he outright lies, saying anti-Bush people are all social manipulators who will destroy public education.

And of course as the clincher he invokes God in the end.

Don't be deceived and don't believe letters and statements like that. See the documentary yourself if you want. And make your own decisions -- based on fact, not fear.

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