• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 5:12am

CE election linked to the drama in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2012, 12:00am

Let's forget the heated drama of the chief executive election for a moment. I think a lot of people are missing the big picture here.

It is crucial to understand that the election is not decided by universal suffrage. It is controlled by a small circle of people - namely, some of the 1,193 representatives receptive to the commands of Beijing.

Let's turn to the drama in Beijing. The ousting of Chongqing leader Bo Xilai has been widely reported in the Western media.

This highlights a deep divide within the Communist Party leadership that is not often discussed: the split between 'princelings' and the Communist Youth League.

Princelings, the offspring of party leaders, are heavily influenced by former president Jiang Zemin and are represented by Vice-President Xi Jinping. President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao influence the youth league faction. Bo's ousting is no isolated incident; it is a power struggle between the two groups. And the prize? Influence over the upcoming change of leadership in the Politburo Standing Committee, a nine-member body that controls China.

Hong Kong's election is connected to this struggle. Up until last month, Henry Tang Ying-yen was thought to be the only acceptable candidate for the party leaders. This has everything to do with Jiang's influence.

In a recent twist, the leadership now seems to favour Leung Chun-ying. This may have something to do with the pressure the youth league has exerted over Xi and, not coincidentally, comes as Bo loses power.

In short, the Communist Party's internal struggles affect the city's chief executive election.

The election is still up in the air, even as March 25 nears.

But one thing is certain: until Hong Kong achieves real democracy, future elections are not going to be any less dark, polluted or unclear.

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