Cheung Chi-Kong is an Executive Councillor of Hong Kong. This means that he has a seat at the centre of power in Hong Kong and one would assume that he would know one or two things about governance, democracy and politics in general.
But his latest musing on the HKU popvote ‘referendum’ leave some room for doubt:
“An Executive Councillor has questioned the usefulness of Occupy Central’s unofficial referendum on how to elect Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017. Cheung Chi-Kong says it’s not a scientific gauge of public’s views. In an exclusive interview with RTHK, he said the ongoing vote was nothing more than a political expression.”
Can a public vote ever not be a political expression?
I’ve been trying for around a week now to vote online in the HKU popvote, which can apparently be done (or was meant to be done) at this website: popvote.hk
However, the site has been down most of the time and when it has been up, I was never able to get past the second page, i.e. where one selects language. I can only assume that this has to do with the ongoing cyber attacks against the the website, so as to prevent people from voting.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Young DAB, Holden Chow, reckons there is no evidence to suggest that Beijing is behind the cyber attacks. Of course, the whole point of cyber attacks is that they are anonymous, but apparently that does not stop people from reciting the obvious.
I have discussed the possible meanings of Article 45 of the Basic Law – dealing with universal suffrage – here before. One interesting peripheral point that came out from ‘In Conversation‘ with Anson Chan, is that Anson Chan has obviously spent some time thinking about the meaning of the article, and seems to have concluded that the term “in accordance with democratic procedures” applies to the actual nominating, i.e. that the nominating by the Nomination Committee must be done in accordance with democratic procedures.
Here is what Anson said: “[T]he nomination process has to be a democratic process”. When the interviewer put it to her that that was her view, she reminded him that that is in fact what the Article itself says – and she is right of course. So with Beijing’s constant insistence on doing everything according to the Basic Law (which is a perfectly valid point), why not do just that, starting with a proper construction of the term ‘in accordance with democratic procedures’.
In the end, in a few months or so, we will find that the government will chose some mechanism by which the nominating will not be done in accordance with democratic procedures, and there will be the inevitable JRs and the courts will then have to find a way to wiggle out of it all.
Last week’s ‘In Conversation‘ with Anson Chan was well worth the wait. Can’t say I am (or ever was) a big fan of hers (and she again reminded me why, e.g. when she tries to explain why she did not join the 1/1/03 march), but anyway, she does generally get it, particularly that CY has been an unmitigated disaster for Hong Kong.
Money quote: “I advise my children to give their children as many options as possible because given what I’ve seen happening in Hong Kong in recent years and particularly in the two years that CY has been in the post, I am really not very sure whether Hong Kong will remain the place that we all love.”
In other words, get out while you still can. Too true. I also fully agree with her sentiments about a shift in mentality – very much applies to me too, especially having seen first hand what CY is like:
“I’m beginning to see a little change (…) certainly amongst people in the professions, particularly people in their 30s and 40s who have young children – they really are worried what Hong Kong is going to like five years down the road, ten years down the road.”
You can watch the whole show here.
It’s been apparent for a while, with more and more juveniles getting into trouble for their pro-Hong Kong activism, and now the Hong Kong Economic Journal’s English edition has a piece that puts the puzzle piece together.
What all is this means of course is that locking up Long Hair is, as we suspected, entirely reactionary, and that there are many more Long Hair’s out there, just waiting to be heard. Things are getting very interesting in Hong Kong, although the outcome is already predetermined, which is to say that China will not cede control in any way whatsoever. The more paranoid its leaders feel, the bigger the backlash is going to be.