• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:39am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:12am

Beware risk of challenging China's 'one country' concept for Hong Kong

You say one country, I say two systems. I am afraid there is no definite right answer to this debate. Only disaster awaits if we fail to reach an understanding and compromise over electoral reform.

The whole concept of "one country, two systems" is an artificial, even self-contradictory construct; it resembles a house of cards that requires all sides not to fight because it could easily topple. It is a bit of a confidence trick that is best left alone, not to be probed too deeply lest it fails to withstand close scrutiny.

Yet both sides are now testing each other, demanding recognition that their interpretation of the concept is the one set in stone. One side comes up with civil nomination, Occupy Central and the June 20-22 referendum. Now the other side has produced a white paper, in the name of the State Council no less.

Beijing is unequivocal about where Hong Kong gets its power, privileges and prerogatives. They all come from the central government. And what Beijing gives, it can also take away. Under this so-called unitary state theory, there are no inherent or "residual" powers for Hong Kong.

I am not sure this is right. At least that wasn't how the Basic Law and "one country, two systems" was sold to us.

But the pan-democrats of Occupy Central persuasion have also overstepped the mark by insisting Beijing should have no or minimal say in how the political system is to be reformed to bring about universal suffrage. This is not only unrealistic politically. If the central government is constitutionally empowered to approve the final reform package to be presented by the Hong Kong government, it's untenable to insist it should have no say in the process.

Who's responsible for this dangerous stand-off? We all are. But powers, once granted, cannot easily be taken back. Hong Kong is run more like a city-state than a city - with our own currency, borders and passports, legal and tax systems, fiscal and budgetary independence, and separate representation in many world bodies. Such powers are not something Beijing can take away without destroying Hong Kong. But would Beijing risk destroying the golden goose if its "unitary" power is seen as being challenged and undermined? Yes, it would.

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This article is now closed to comments

honger
mr lo has the right to state his opinions on his comment page. this is basic democracy, the right to express oneself.. too bad u don't agree with him. u have the right too not to agree with him, but try to be civil.
chau98sg@gmail.com
When the British was in control, I did not see these so-called Democrats told the British that they wanted more control of HK. We were just busy making money and left the politics and government to the British. Only when the British was leaving, suddenly the British wanted to promote democracy and select a few of these people and encouraged them to get involved with politics. I do not trust these politicians really are putting we common folks' interests as their top priorities. They keep pushing and over step their boundaries, and eventually break this golden goose, which is our home. We all will lose, us common folks in HK and also the China government. It is to nobody's benefits if these politicians force their hands. The only ones will gain benefit are the West like U.S. and Britain. At that time, do you think these politicians will stay in HK? I bet they will immediately seek asylum in the West and move themselves and their families to U.S. or Britain.
whymak
Minbao reported yesterday on something that Benny Tai said. He wants to hurt HK bad so that China would comply with his wishes. 佔中發起人戴耀廷曾經同人講過,佔中係要傷害香港,咁就能逼中央就範喎。 When questioned, he didn't deny it because he couldn't.
What conclusion do you draw from this cutting the nose to spite the face intent? A strong hatred for China, plain and simple.
Readers' comments below reflect exactly the same sentiments. Are there any constructive agendas on how to manage HK's political economy other than demand for chaotic free-for-all nominations and elections? NONE. Even in the most dysfunctional democracies -- and there are more of them than well functioning ones, political activists and candidates ask to be elected because they claim having strategies to rebuild government. Allowing people with nothing but hate and resentment to participate in a rational discussion is a travesty of speech freedom.
Ironically, even Benny Tai realizes that China cares for Hong Kong. How else do you interpret his confidence that China will accede to his blackmail by holding HK hostage?
Before any hate mongering reader attempt to reply to my post, ask yourself if you're not a knee-jerk cheerleader of Tai-Chan-Chu trio.
321manu
"At least that wasn't how the Basic Law and "one country, two systems" was sold to us."
---perhaps not. But whatever snake oil the CCP was selling, many Hkers were buying, if for no other reason than to hope against hope that they might have 50 years where they could be left alone before the true day of reckoning had to come.
Now, realistically, I don't think anyone really expected a full 50 year reprieve. But the idea sounded nice, and it wasn't like HKers had any choice in the matter. Although everyone knows the CCP's true colours, I'm still surprised the wheels are falling off already even before the 17 year mark.
Mr. Lo is sitting pretty. He has passport in hand, and can parachute onto Dundas and Spadina and feel right at home. There, he can continue his admiration of the CCP from afar, without the ickiness of actually having to live under it. That seems to be the preferred arrangement for most CCP admirers on the intertubes. For most HKers, however, such a sweet arrangement will not be availed to them. Instead, for those less fortunate, the downward spiral of HK becoming just another Chinese city starts now.
pslhk
To me, 1C2S seems like a political version of Jim Crow.
-
I crossed Checkpoint Charlie a few times
and experienced the differences between E and W Berlin
Did Germany need a transitory period
to facilitate the reunion of the country’s two systems?
-
In all practical realities
people are neither born nor bred equal
But we’re all born in this “democratic” paradigm
where political equality is the standard
If misapplied, 1C2C would become perverse double standard
-
If 2S was originally meant to preserve HK’s “advantages”
it’s quite clear that in the past decade and a half
HK’s “advantages” have been wasted
by yellow scalps, scholarism, democrazy, lo cust hunters, and cultural defeatists
Childish worship for the english language has undermined local schools
-
An idealistic functionalist, I’m for meritocracy
If HK had the leaders and resources,
HK might attempt independence
But the fact is,
HK's "resources" are all dependent on China
and HK’s “leaders” are clownish and foolish
thanks to colonial education
nothing to compare with what we see in the mainland
honger
"the pan-democrats of Occupy Central persuasion have also overstepped the mark by insisting Beijing should have no or minimal say in how the political system is to be reformed to bring about universal suffrage."
Yeah, Benny Tai et al wants the "international community" - and themselves - to have the final say.
No nation would stand for that.
How About
Alex, good take!
.
No two persons are born equal, not even twins. Thus every syllable in all constitutions and charters in the world saying they are, mean ideals, so drafted to homogenize the iniquities. Sadly not all 7.2B souls on this earth today know they have this right, even more do not enjoy this right, but they should, and rightly everyone who has it should aid those who don’t, to understand and enjoy it. The 50 years of 1C-2S is to merge the C and S at some point, whether it be the C closing on the S or vice versa. But before that convergence, to encourage anyone in HK to have to “fight for it”, violently if needed, is baloney, the old Bastille cliché, 99% of the commentators here do not want that and neither do 99.999% of HK folks. Whoever you are, don’t do this at the expense or pretense of the 7 Million+ HK residents.
.
xiaoblueleaf
Reality is that as China becomes "stronger", HK enjoys more benefits bestowed by the "parent" while suffering from the illusion that HK can be a separate part of China which HK is not. Such is the reality that HKers are living on borrowed time so value the 50 years or whatever are remaining while hoping China will change for the better.
blue
So are you telling us Hong Kong is another Congress Poland?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congress_Poland

"One country, two systems" isn't a new concept. It was used on a piece of Poland that was in a "real union with the Russian Empire" to create a protectorate. The Russian Tsar was Poland's sovereign.

Congress Poland lasted about 15 years before it lost its nominal sovereignty and autonomy and was absorbed to become a province of Russia. Is this Hong Kong's future? At least the SAR lasted longer than Congress Poland.
wonderkov
Why don't you just state the obvious, that "one country, two system" is charade, meant to delude people in Hong Kong?

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