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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:01pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

People must not be hijacked by these pro-democracy dissidents

Lau Nai-keung says pro-democracy dissidents put own interests first

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 August, 2013, 5:50am

In 2010, after the Democratic Party struck a deal with the central government's liaison office to let the constitutional reform bill pass, it was ostracised by the rest of the dissident camp. The party paid the price, losing members as well as seats.

Now, suddenly, entering into direct dialogue with the central government has become the vogue, so much so that the dissidents are now organising the Occupy Central campaign to coerce the central government into coming to the bargaining table. The difference is that this time the Democratic Party cannot enjoy the privilege of monopolising the dialogue; it is now absorbed into part of the Alliance for True Democracy, which the central government must negotiate with. Problem is, this alliance does not speak for all dissidents and there are many proposals floating around.

Whether members of the alliance, which is supposed to comprise 26 pan-democratic Legislative Council members, will vote en bloc for a compromise reform bill is still unclear. At the moment there does not seem to be a one-size-fits-all solution on the horizon.

From a practical point of view, the central government will still have to target the Democratic Party as a bloc. There is no use scavenging votes from splintering political groups in Legco, as it is not cost-effective and, after all, totally unreliable, as demonstrated by the sad experience in 2007 when what originally appeared to be just short of one vote turned out to be a total flop.

To get the bill on universal suffrage passed, the SAR government needs to secure five bloc votes from the dissident camp in the Legislative Council and they conveniently lie in the pocket of the Democratic Party.

It would appear foolhardy for the Democrats to step forward to be hurt a second time in exactly the same situation. But the expectation to exercise the right of universal suffrage among the public is so high that striking a compromise with the central government the second time despite the previous political setback could be painted as an act of principle, and thus an act of bravery.

The party might even go on to win a landslide victory in the district council elections in 2015 and Legislative Council election in 2016; who knows? This is politics. Alas, maverick is what our Democratic Party isn't.

If they fail to secure the bloc vote of the Democratic Party, there are only two options left for the central and SAR governments. Either yield to dissidents' demands, or, as Benny Tai Yiu-ting et al threaten time and again, face another Tiananmen Square incident.

The fatal shortfall of this ploy is that the dissidents see only two players in this game: them against the central government. Despite their demand for "genuine" universal suffrage, our dissidents never have the people in their hearts and minds.

They see people as pawns on the chessboard. From their self-proclaimed moral high ground, our dissidents think that they are empowered to sacrifice our welfare at will to achieve their objective, which they insist should be good for us.

The citizens of London can afford to wait several hundred years to enjoy a fully elected Greater London Authority, formed as recently as 2000.

So why should Hong Kong citizens be hijacked by a bunch of second-class politicians and academics and forced to pay the high price of another Tiananmen Square incident just to create an electoral method to ensure dissidents must enjoy an entry ticket? How dare this alliance claim that they represent our wishes?

You call this democracy? Last time such nonsense took place, it was called fascism. Though it is politically incorrect and therefore highly unpopular, I would remind our readers that Hitler was also popularly elected.

Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development

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This article is now closed to comments

lawrencexerrypaomey@yahoo.com
Democracy isn't something you simply declare and then everything is fine. A majority can make bad decisions, and minorities can have better ideas. And everyone risks being manipulated.
Democracy is not the goal as such. It is a never ending process, and it does not necessarily solve problems. Paradise is not something for democrats on our Earth because in a pluralistic democracy there are always some people who DISAGREE.
It takes time to learn from the lessons of recent history - with its "trial and error" of good and bad experiences to build up a nation with trust in society and its institutions.
Winston Churchill once said: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other form that have been tried from time to time.”
reubenm
"...forced to pay the high price of another Tiananmen Square incident..."?!! Sounds like an open threat of state violence from an NPC member.
alec.lee.756
Please read carefully on the author's background: Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development.
Another CCP propagandist to curb the Occupy Central campaign? The more they do so, they more they prove that Occupy Central does work.
caractacus
What is Mr. Lau saying? That all those who believe their city is being ruled by a squalid, parcel of corrupt position seekers and greedy tycoons are dissidents? That those who want to be able to freely elect or remove those who govern them must accept the present rotten political system or be crushed by force?
By the way, read your history. Hitler was NOT popularly elected; nor was the Chinese Communist Party. Hitler came to power as the result of a shabby, under-the-table deal after his party's paramilitary thugs had turned Germany's streets into war zones and rendered the Republic ungovernable.
Once in power, Hitler and his gangsters turned Germany into a one party state under absolute dictatorship, free elections were disallowed, civil liberties were suspended, freedom of speech was forbidden, the rule of law was ignored and the citizens could be deprived arbitrarily of their property, lives and liberty with impunity because they had no legal protection. That was fascism; which country today does that most remind one of, Mr. Lau?
I expect the SCMP to give the people targeted in this ignorant article a fair opportunity to respond.
lucifer
It also creates a system of checks and balances and a mechanism for getting rid of those politions who do not perform as expected and prevents them from getting comfortable and looking at thier poolitical office as their right. It also serves the need of the people as elected politions feel the obligations of their constituents or they face losing their office. It is also a major bar to corrution, but no system can get rid of it totally. But under a system where all are equal, favors and aspecial treatment, which are endemic in Chinese culture, cannot flourish.
sinclairgreg
The analogy with the London Assembly is absurd. London has not been separated from the rest of the UK under a different political system for 100 years. London does not have a separate currency or border with the rest of the UK. Londoners have voted in both local council and national parliamentary elections for a very long time. The idea that Hong Kong having universal suffrage is equal to London getting a city-wide assembly shows complete ignorance.
chuchu59
Mr. Lau,
The comparison to Hitler is absurd to say the least. I hope you could suggest ways for the democrats to entice the central government to come to the bargaining table. I also do not support 'Occupy Central' but when you hear the trash from the current administration 'We shall arrange a proper consultation when the time is ripe' repeatedly so understand how frustrating this can be. Meanwhile I cant resist a swipe at you for your earlier statement where you said that 'according to those advocating democracy it is the panacea for all evils' I dont think the democrats ever mentioned this nor do they think it will cure all ills.
caractacus
Hitler was NOT elected to any office and, once in power he did not misuse democracy, he destroyed it. I suggest you read an excellent account in: "Hitler, a Study in Tyranny" by Alan Bullock, but you are correct to ridicule Lau's shallow suggestion that dictatorship is an inevitable risk of democracy. The more strongly the institutions of democracy are upheld by the people and by those in office, the lower the chance of a dictatorship.
lawrencexerrypaomey@yahoo.com
There's always a loophole in every political system. No political system that is perfect or superior to one another. A system of checks and balances has its loophole as well.
Look at my country, U.S. In no uncertain terms, our democracy is an illusion. It is as real as 'Professional Wrestling'. The two parties have consistently followed the same policies, giving American citizens only the illusion of choice
There is no trade-off of liberal and conservative agendas in the Executive branch, as the public is led to believe. Rather, Democrat presidencies are designed to placate the populace and give cover for some of the more covert aspects of The Agenda, such as continuous erosion of our civil liberties.
The political elite understand that American 'democracy' is just a game. At the end of the day, they all follow the same agenda who is the 'man behind the curtain'.
Equality never exist in history of US.
KwunTongBypass
Ha ha ha ha ! What a silly, misguided man!
yellow_lynx_cat
In a democracy, silent majority's choice of "silence" meant they give up their own rights and agree to go along with the ones that speak up.
Silent majority is a oxymoron... if they are silent, who can you tell they are majority ?
johnh
If anything, Hitler's rise to power should prove to be a great example for democracy advocates of what to avoid when living in a democracy. Democracy doesn't fail, society does. It is the worst form of government, except for every other one that's been tried.
Remitting Prosperity
Something tells me (could it be your bad English?) that you are not actually an American........
lawrencexerrypaomey@yahoo.com
My English is bad for you? SORRY!
lucifer
Exactly! So to avoid another Hitler, we must have a dictatoship of self interested Party memebers.
lawrencexerrypaomey@yahoo.com
I'm afraid you actually have no idea what "democracy" means. Yes, CCP & Hitler wasn't elected. But "democracy" by definition is ruled by the interest of majority. That's how CCP & Hitler took power.
Corruption, human rights, freedom of speech, etc.. all this issues hardly relevant to "communism" or any certain political structure you had. In the process of nation building, one should realize that democracy is a method, and it is the CONTENT of the process that matters.
You know what? To lift half a billion of the world’s poorest and most ignorant Chinese from abject poverty is nothing short of miraculous.
I thought Chinsese could at least learn from 70 years ago. That political system isn't necessarily could solve human problems. Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Anarchism, etc.. all of those may be a laudable utopia if people could applied it honestly.
shuike
History is written by he victors to favour themselves. If Hitler won, history would be written differently.
aplucky1
OMG
stop spreading this lie
HITLER WAS NEVER ELECTED TO ANY OFFICE
only retards keeps perpetuating this canard to suit their narrative
Prof.Sencha
Fully agree ... democracy does not means the hijacking of views for vested interest. What about the silent majority ?
In many countries around the world ...some thousands of noisy dissidents will capture the news headlines, but are all their issues valid ?
lucifer
America is not even a democracy - its a Republic.
lawrencexerrypaomey@yahoo.com
But look at the reality. I live in U.S. and our system is heavily corrupt to the core. Since FED came in at 1913, this country is no longer a Republic anymore.
caractacus
Yes. History written by the Nazis would be as truthful as that written by the CCP.
partridge
The logic here escapes me. Yes, Hitler was elected, but that does not prove that democracy is bad. All it proves is that democracy can be misused, because Hitler was allowed to turn himself into a dictator. And there have been others, by other means, who have been allowed to turn themselves into dictators, and we should question those means also -- dictators much closer to home in this case.

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