• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:14am
PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 October, 2013, 2:08pm

Hong Kong needs a political exorcism

Alice Wu says political reform can't proceed if we don't address the 'inner demons' that bedevil ties between Beijing and democrats


Alice Wu fell down the rabbit hole of politics aged 12, when she ran her first election campaign. She has been writing about local politics and current affairs for the Post since 2008. Alice's daily needs include her journals, books, a multi-coloured pen and several lattes.

What is all this fuss over "inner demons"? Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, president of the Legislative Council, recently called Beijing out on what he believes to be its "inner demons" over allowing pan-democrats a place in the election of the chief executive. Once Beijing faces its "demons", Tsang said, vast horizons would open up for Hong Kong's political reforms.

Tsang's comment is spot on, though it has triggered criticism from Hong Kong's pro-Beijing newspapers. The fuss over Tsang's choice of words - "inner demons" - is truly bewildering.

Apparently, calling it "inner demons" has hurt some people's feelings. But what is wrong with calling it like it is? Given that our political reform debate has been stuck for months now over the nomination process, Tsang's comments could not have come at a better time.

Most of us know the impracticality of not having some requirements for candidates' eligibility. So, at its heart, the deadlock is not about the technicalities; its about the extent to which such rules will exclude politicians of a certain kind from candidacy.

Tsang's critics condemned his choice of words, saying it "demonised" Beijing. But Tsang said what needed to be said: he pointed out the crippling effect of such thinking. If "inner demons" - the mistrust between Beijing and pan-democrats - dictate the debate, we'll never get anywhere.

The insecurity bred by mistrust - on both sides, many would argue - is more human than demonic, to be sure. But Tsang was highlighting a problem, and the overreaction to his observation speaks accurately about how emotionally and ideologically crippling these "inner demons" remain.

Tsang spoke last year of the need for a "reconciliation"; this is consistent with the theme. Facing those demons is a first step in any sort of political reconciliation.

Addressing the need for party politics - which Tsang has also repeatedly talked about - should come next. The current system holds the office of the chief executive hostage. With little mandate and no political support in the legislature, the chief executive has little influence. At the end of the day, Hong Kong's progress will be held back as long as the office of the chief executive continues to be stripped of the power to lead.

The Beijing-sanctioned election of the chief executive by universal suffrage will come round by 2017. There is very little time left to figure out exactly how it will work.

Allowing political squabbles to continue to impede progress will spell doom not only for this city but for Deng Xiaoping's "one country, two systems". When we argue over and get stuck on language - like the usage of "inner demons" - not even our political differences, we make a mockery of Deng's principle.

It's time to get unstuck and address these "inner demons" that are debilitating the important questions and issues concerning the future not only of Hong Kong, but also of the "one country, two systems" formula.

Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Time to unleash the 'inner demons' deeply rooted in Beijing's rulers' hearts,
otherwise,how can our promised universal suffrage move forwards ?
The ban of any pan-democrat candidates from competing in the Election in 2017 of our Chief Execuitve is simply out of question !
Even before the so-called universal suffrage in 2017, any pan-democratic camp candidates were allowed to run for the top post in town------such as Lee Wing-tat and Leung Ka-kit and Albert Ho Chun-yan. Right ? Now how can our pro-democracy candidates not be allowed to participate in the upcoming Chief Executive election in 2017 which was promised to be a universal suffrage ? It is absolutely absurd once pan-democratic camp is not allowed to take part in the elections ? Totally unacceptable ! And most pro-democracy voters might resort to boycott the election ! Just wait and see.
RI is as self serving as it gets. I'd rather have Jasper over RI anyday. Jasper is pro-establishment so I don't think you'd have much to complain about. Besides I agree that the pan-dems are mostly idiots. I just don't agree that they should be screened out.
"The ban of any pan-democrat candidates from competing in the Election in 2017 of our Chief Execuitve is simply out of question !"

Exactly. HK doesn't need Iran style elections!

"And most pro-democracy voters might resort to boycott the election ! Just wait and see."

If such a sham package that allows the screening out of democratic candidates were to miraculously pass the Legco, it would make the 2017 CE election a total joke. The turnout percentage would be in the single digits!
Jasper Tsang should run for CE in 2017. He is smarter than all the democrats combined, and is a true moderate and patriot. He has backbone, and therefore he has my vote. He said what needed to be said.

If Beijing doesn't want a democrat in office, they should convince Jasper to run for CE. He would be acceptable to HK people and to Beijing.
No need to comment under breath
You should gulp fresh air in my reply to you in Ms Tu’s article
BTW, kevin below shows such impressive writing and thinking skills
he can’t be a local mainstream school graduate
Could your students or the peers you review do even better?
blue (re Iranian democracy)
Iran can’t be criticized for the lack of democracy
Its government is politico-culturally representative
In the words of M ElBaradei:
“The slow-moving, diffuse decision-making structure …
A negotiating culture shaped by the bazzar” (p262)
“Mir-Hossein Mousavi had received 33% of the vote …
were able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people …”
Arab countries with sham or no election are protected from western criticism
“because they are largely supportive of western policies” (p288)
* The Age of Deception” by M El B
“HK doesn't need Iran style elections”?
You will be surprised by the myriad styles of election practiced in the US
Hong Kong...what can I say about Hong Kong? It is one of the least friendly cities in the world, ranked the third least friendly city by the Huffington Post. Nobody likes Hong Kong, a bunch of whinging children. This place is a joke, there's no chance Hong Kong is going to achieve anything in a field other than greed or video games. I agree that there are demons in Hong Kong, but the demon is Avarice, and it is practiced every day by the same suits who place more value on making money than living a good life.
What can I say about Hong Kong? I slept with Isabel Marden...more than once...and I don't want to do that again. There's really not much else going on here, apart from a bunch of whining big girls playing number games on their computer screens, there isn't much. Rich people. There's a **** load of Rich people and something needs to be done about it, preferably without effecting me personally. Apparently Isabel Marden is an "A-Lister". I saw her in a recent issue of Tatler magazine. That is a joke. Who the hell are these "List" people anyway? What list am I on? I hope it's not the "Zegna" list because I'm not a "Zegna", I thought that was pretty obvious.
Jasper, Rita and Regina have all said things along similar lines recently. They are perceived to be friendly to Beijing and this probably marks the beginning of a shift in stance with regard to constitutional development. Its now high time for Beijing to allow CY to join the gang. Tough one-liners from the CE wont work.
It's time to get unstuck and address these "inner demons"?
RI just did that, in her “The winding course of true democracy”
To repeat the comment I posted there:
HK needs RI to exorcise the demons of MSMO “democrazy”
that is epidemic among self-hate bananas, imitation westerners,
rent-seeking sycophants of outlandish precedents, political carpetbaggers
self-righteous lib-dem cultists, self-important money-see monkey-dos
brainwashed scholarism, Filths, CIA’s NA and agents of 5, 6, etc
I’m sad to read her Mingpao column about US retirement facilities
I mean no disrespect to mention her with ChanEumo
But she must not go and leave HK behind with such insufferable !!!!


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