Tag: HK SAR

Hong Kongers have chosen political stability in the past 17 years. That is changing rapidly

DARKER TIMES AHEAD

In two days, Americans will unite and celebrate July 4th, full of pride, with parades. Across the ocean, Hong Kongers commemorated July 1st – the city’s Establishment Day since the 1997 handover – in an entirely different fashion: divided, and for many, filled with anger and shame.

On one end, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stared onto the flags of China and Hong Kong, as the Chinese national anthem is played in the background, and will sure enjoy an extravagant firework display across the Victoria Harbour later that evening.

For Leung, his bureaucrats, and (no doubt) many patriots, July 1st is of as great significance as the Independence Day to Americans. But for all that, Leung has distanced himself further away from people across the aisle, who took the streets of the city under an uncanny storm to show their discontent towards, amongst all things, China’s vision for the city’s political future.

A resolute march

Tens of thousands of citizens went on a protest to support the pro-democracy call to make the next Chief Executive election in 2017 to meet international standards for democracy. The protest, in the form of a march through Hong Kong’s Central district, is an annual event to voice citizens’ mixed demands of democracy, universal suffrage, rights of racial and sexual minorities as well as to show resentment towards the administration in Hong Kong and it’s puppet masters in China.

The number of participants is expected to match or exceed the benchmark set in 2003 when a crowd of 500,000 marched in light of a proposed anti-subversion law, Article 23, combined with the fact that the government handled SARS poorly. Prior to that, 1.5 million gathered sympathising the victims of 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China during its immediate aftermath.

Turnout this year is proliferated by a recent white paper from China which said that Hong Kong’s autonomy under ‘one country, two systems’ is restricted and comes solely from the authorisation of the leadership in Beijing. This document exacerbated the effects of the city official’s misplaced economic priorities (which are, themselves, shortcoming) and repeated, bureaucratic call for ‘stability’ coupled by words (but not action) of ‘trying hard to forge consensus’.

Change is desperate

Many citizens also feel misrepresented by the parliament of Hong Kong which, because nearly half its seats are only open to a small number of voters belonging to an assigned professional or special interest group, is largely occupied by pro-Beijing legislator. Though even the most outspoken patriot amongst these legislators silent this night and refused to defend Leung’s unhurried political reform on television amidst strong opposition voice.

Leung’s legitimacy is no better than the parliament’s because he was elected by a 1200-small council which makes up for a pitiful 0.017% of Hong Kong’s population. This council is also largely occupied by special interest groups and thus, unlike the rest of Hong Kong, has a strong Beijing-bias; in the most recent 2012 vote Leung received a mere 689 votes because of infighting within the pro-Beijing representatives combined with infidelity reports of his opponent, not because there was genuine competition.

Protesters are numbed by the state’s failure to deliver change which had momentum back in 2012 but fell quickly on its feet due to officials’ successful delaying tactics. Many feel that the government is unable to deliver and consequently their altitude has been radicalised despite the fact that Hong Kong is by tradition a socially conservative city and intolerant towards change, particularly among its large elder population.

Young student groups are among those which are radicalised. Scholarism, led by 17-year-old Joshua Wong, has emerged in 2011 when the group opposed a proposed scheme of ‘Moral and National Education’ which aimed to elevate patriotism amongst youngsters but in its textbooks included bias and often fictitious language that favoured the Communist Party of China.

An uncertain future

This frightened the public and brought politically inexperienced students to the front stage of opposition through speeches and silent protests. Three years has passed that even but when Beijing insisted that the next Chief Executive to be ‘patriotic’ recently, fear of a Communist crackdown reignited. Only this time it is met with an increasingly aggressive crowd.

Growing in number and strength, strong believers of democracy such as professor Benny Tai sponsored a plan of civil disobedience as their last resort if they fail to achieve their goals. Some 10,000 citizens are organising sit-in protest in Central which will cripple Hong Kong’s financial district. The student group Scholarism has planned for a trial run of such occupy movement after today’s protest and they fully expect to be arrested.

It will be a shame if government’s neglect is met with violence and violence is met with arrests in order for progress to be made. The first of its kind, Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ promised 50 years of autonomy and is designed to make the city flourish economically as well as socially and politically, and act as a shining example for Taiwan – which China wants to overpower under a similar system but has gotten nowhere – and to the world.

America will mark their 238th anniversary of independence on Friday; Hong Kong’s political system is only 17 years old. Yet the city is already exceedingly divided and politicised, and a gloomy future seems set for the three decades ahead.

Hong Kong SAR is Not a Democracy!

Could anybody out there give me a quick introduction to the Hong Kong government and its political landscape? I’ve always had the impression it had a democracy and there are like dozens of political parties in the city.

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous city that is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) within China under the Basic Law (HK’s mini-constitution).   In essence, Hong Kong SAR is semi-democratic since it does not have universal suffrage, a basic tenet of a democracy.

The Chief Executive, currently CY Leung, is the head of the government in Hong Kong SAR and is answerable directly to Beijing.

According to the Basic Law, the Chief Executive (CE) must be a Chinese citizen who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR with no right of abode in any foreign country. The person must be at least 40 years old, and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of no less than 20 years

The Chief Executive is elected by 1200 members drawn from functional constituencies and government officials.  There are no direct elections for the CE post as explained below:

However, because so many of the functional constituency parties are instructed by Beijing for whom to vote, the outcome was already known regardless of televised debates and campaigning.

Hong Kong also has a unicameral legislature popularly called the LegCo, or Legislative Council. The LegCo consists of 70 elected members with a fixed 4-year term. Lawmakers in the LegCo, are either elected by direct elections for the 35 seats representing geographical constituencies (districts) or by functional constituencies representing  professional or special interest groups (numbering around 230000) for the other 35 seats in the 70-seat LegCo.

The major functions of the LegCo are to enact, amend or repeal laws, check and approve budgets, approve taxation and public expenditure, and review the work of the government. Due to the design of the Legislative Council, the majority of elected officials tend to be from pro-Beijing political parties or groupings, which often work together for corporate-government interests.

Currently, two groups are fighting for influence in the Hong Kong SAR government:

Pro-Beijing coalition: political parties united by the political ideology of being closer to Beijing government, but differ on other issues.  Since the handover, the Pro-Beijing camp have never lost being the majority in the LegCo, thanks to support from functional constituents and collaboration among the Pro-Beijing parties.  Notable parties include the DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong), Liberal Party, and FTU (Federation of Trade Unions).

Pan-Democrats: political parties united by calls for democratic reform, universal suffrage and human rights.  Pan-Democrats are often labelled an “opposition camp” by various groups and media aligned with the mainland Chinese government, since the Pan-Democrats goal run counter to values promoted by the Chinese Communist Party.  Recently, 27 democratic legislators formed the Alliance for True Democracy, a formal coalition to show solidarity for genuine democracy. Notable parties include the Democratic Party, Civic Party, and People Power.

Support Hong Kong Independence!

Support Hong Kong Independence!

By Chapmun Chan

I am a Hong Kongese citizen and I support the independence of Hong Kong from China. As you know, Hong Kong has suffered greatly as a Chinese colony known as the “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” or HKSAR for short. Our great city, which was once an Asian metropolis, has been stripped of all its assets and reduced to a cash cow for the communists. After much careful research and following the arguments set forth by Taiwanese independence groups, I have made the following arguments for independence.

HISTORICAL GRIEVANCES

China has never cared about Hong Kong. In fact, it has hurt Hong Kong on numerous occasions. Before the Opium Wars, China just thought Hong Kong was a piece of barren rock left to a few fishermen. During the Opium Wars, China was only too ready to give away Hong Kong to appease Great Britain because China got itself into trouble when it incinerated the opium shipped by English merchants for Chinese consumers without first asking for permission. They made up for this breach in etiquette by simply throwing Hong Kong away.

During the Second World War, Japan stepped in to bring Hong Kong into its Greater Asian Economic Co-Prosperity Sphere. China did everything it could to sabotage prosperity during that period to make life miserable in Hong Kong. Under British rule, there was a two-tiered racial system: white people on top and “yellow people” at the bottom. The discrimination extended to all walks of life, and China did nothing to protect the rights of people of Chinese descent.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, China negotiated for the United Kingdom to return Hong Kong. This caused the calamity known as the Great Real Estate Crash of 1997, in which many Hong Kong citizens became negative equity owners. Since 1997, China has done absolutely nothing for the people of Hong Kong. The major accomplishments noted by the international media are the frequent presence of Chinese navy flotilla in Hong Kong harbor to intimidate the citizens; military parades held in Hong Kong by the People’s Liberation Army to intimidate the citizens; and forcing citizens to go out and march in the streets in the July heatwave of 2003.

CULTURE AND LANGUAGE

As an independent nation, Hong Kong will no longer have links with the feudal Chinese culture. Over time, Hong Kong already has its own hybrid language in place: the people of Hong Kong speak an English that no one else in the world understands; they speak Chinese that no other Chinese speaker can understand; and most importantly, they speak a form of the Cantonese that people would kill for to speak like that. This new language is called Hong Kongese: a mix of Cantonese, Chinese and English.

The Hong Kongese language is used informal forms of writing. Our language is used in tabloids, in movie subtitles, and in other forms of communication. Our writing system has evolved over time from a process of modifying Chinese characters to the Hong Kongese language just like how Japan modified Chinese characters for Japanese. These characters have become so important that the Hong Kong government has incorporated them into a special Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS) for computer input.

NATIONHOOD

When the Commonwealth of Hong Kong is established, there will be new changes in our society. Many of these changes will help us better separate ourselves with communist China. All ethnic Hong Kongese have to take an oath that they will commit themselves to the Commonwealth of Hong Kong, and will never say they are Chinese. All of them should be referred as Hong Kongese and Hong Kongese will be made the only official language. Chinese and English language will be only taught as a foreign language in schools while the medium of instruction of all schools must only be Hong Kongese.

We will encourage all Hong Kongese to marry with Hong Kongese of other ethnic backgrounds. This is to make Hong Kongese a true race, with an aim of purging Hong Kong of Chinese blood. However, we will deport those Hong Kongese who were born in the People’s Republic of China, unless they deny being Chinese or can prove that they would never betray the Commonwealth of Hong Kong. At least twenty years should be allowed to check if those people concerned satisfy the requirements before they can be given the status of a Hong Kong citizen.

The Commonwealth of Hong Kong will not recognize the People’s Republic of China until they grant Tibet independence, give up the right to “liberate” Taiwan and give Inner Mongolia back to the Republic of Mongolia. Also, the Commonwealth of Hong Kong will be an independent nation within the British Commonwealth with Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State. The Queen shall be referred to as “The Queen of Hong Kong” in all official documents.

Conclusion

China has never done anything right for Hong Kong, and therefore we must become an independent nation. Hong Kong must be independent because it has suffered from countless historical abuses from the communists, we have our own culture, and we have a plan for nationhood. So this is the time for the people of Hong Kong to take their fates into their own hands and become their own masters.