Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 8 News List

HK democrats must not lose faith

By Paul Lin 林保華

On Nov. 18, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), an organization close to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), swept Hong Kong's district council elections, to the detriment of pro-democracy parties. DAB won 115 seats, 53 more than in the previous election; and the Democratic Party won only 59 seats, down from the previous 95.

Of the other pro-democracy parties, the Civic Party entered the elections for the first time and secured eight seats, scoring below expectations. The more radical Social Democratic Party won three seats -- three less than previously -- while the Association of People's Livelihood, whose focus is to raise the general standard of living, fell from 25 seats to 17.

From industrial commercial circles, the Liberal Party of pro-communist persuasion won 14 seats, up two from the last election.

Thus pro-Beijing outsiders defeated even councilors who have been devoted to grassroots politics for many years. Although the District Council is less important than the Legislative Council, the direction of public opinion is worthy of concern.

The analysis of academics and of those who are directly involved in Hong Kong's pro-democracy parties only tend to skim the surface of the phenomenon. The root of the problem is that after Hong Kong was taken in by China's deception of "democratic repatriation," it proceeded to accept the "one country, two systems" policy.

"One country" necessarily leads to a shrinking of liberal democracy and the pro-democratic faction.

Furthermore, "one country" Sinicizes politics, forcing Hong Kong to accept China's concept of "patriotism" so that opposition parties become branded as traitors.

Denying these charges is futile, since no matter what arguments they proffer to manifest their patriotism, that "patriotism" is defined by Beijing. Hence the situation only leads pro-democratic parties to entangle themselves in their explanations, while at the same time misdirecting Hong Kong's public into believing that Communist China must be revered.

Hong Kong's economy also relies entirely on China: not only on the Individual Visit Scheme, but also the incontrovertible Sinicization of the Hong Kong stock market has turned it into a "policy market."

For instance, China's announcement that the Hong Kong stock market is soon to be opened up to Chinese investment caused the Hanseng Index to rise by several thousand points. Yet when China worried over capital outflow and revoked related policies, and Shenzhen banks unlawfully limited daily withdrawals to 30,000 yuan (US$4,054) and weekly withdrawals to 50,000 yuan, the Hong Kong stock market fell by several thousand points. If this continues, how can Hong Kong still be considered an international financial center?

The Hong Kong media are worst of all. They indiscriminately praise China and portray China as Hong Kong's savior -- regardless of the fact that relying economically on China is the equivalent of substance abuse. The media never considers how to make a healthy transition and has lost its democratic spirit altogether.

When China violates the Basic Law and intervenes in Hong Kong's internal affairs and forces unsafe products to be sold in Hong Kong, the media does not even raise any objections. When Shenzhen banks operated illegally, the media joined the protests only after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) openly expressed his disapproval. Where has the freedom in Hong Kong's free market gone? Even anti-communist media reports sycophantically on "General Secretary Hu [Jintao]" (胡錦濤) and "Premier Wen."

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