The recent “campaign” for the small-circle “(s)election” of the Hong Kong chief executive witnessed a lot of interference by Beijing. Virtually everyone who commented on this saw it as being destructive of the principle of “one country, two systems” (一國兩制) (OCTS), assuming that OCTS is somehow a bulwark against intrusion on Hong Kong’s “core values.” I think this view is mistaken.
OCTS is a formula that diminishes autonomy, not augments it. Under OCTS, Beijing is supposed to interfere and OCTS facilitates that interference. The surprise would be the absence of such interference.
Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) called the Hong Kong Basic Law his “creative masterpiece” and said that OCTS is attributed to the Marxist-Leninist dogma of “dialectical and historical materialism.” Within the dialectic, the political liaison between Hong Kong and Beijing is dynamic but not equal. The center manipulates the “actual situation” of the periphery in perpetual tension (historical materialism).
As Karl Marx put it, the connections within this dialectic “must be forced to dance.” This is how stability and security are maintained. Some writers refer to this as “connecting doors.” Some of these are back doors. Few of them are as visible as the electoral meddling in Hong Kong, but they are nevertheless real.
Deng asked his party comrades: “Who decides which of the classic international principles of communism are applicable to China?” We do, he answered. In this view, “forcing the dance” does not constitute interference or meddling at all.
This model of OCTS predicts that the center’s influence will intensify as time goes by until ultimately, Hong Kong will assimilate to the image of Beijing, however that image evolves. The Basic Law is a socialist document. Hong Kong’s supposed “high degree of autonomy,” as well as the promises of universal suffrage by “gradual and orderly progress,” democratization, judicial independence, freedom of expression, academic freedom and a host of other concerns, must always be understood in this context.
As history speeds toward the summer of 2047 (the 50-year term limit given by the Basic Law), and as rights and freedoms, like Hong Kong’s autonomy, continue to wither away, the inevitability of this predictive model will be determined.
It is reasonable to assume that applying OCTS or any similar “connecting door,” such as the “one country, two areas” (一國兩區) policy, to Taiwan would yield the same result.
Robert J. Morris
Holding the editorial line
Is there Google in the land of Cilliers Landman (Letters, April 26, page 8)?
Landman accuses the Taipei Times of not reporting on rising international oil prices and solely blaming the Ma administration for raising gas prices. Yet the editorial line on the price hikes has been consistent — that they are necessary but that the Ma administration has handled them incompetently.
See, for example, the editorials of April 12, 14, or 18. The April 14 editorial is especially good, instancing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) price hikes and noting that cheap, subsidized electricity is a relic of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMIT) industrial policy.
Landman also says the Chen administration sunk CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) so deeply into debt “it took them years to recover.” According to CPC’s 2011 financial statement, easily found on the Internet, pre-tax income was positive in 2007, negative in 2008, and positive again 2009. Furthermore, the ratio of current assets to liabilities is lower for the 2008-2010 period than the 2006-7 period. Landman’s claims are sheer fantasy.