My Take

Don't destroy Hong Kong for democracy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 3:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 3:14am

"It became necessary to destroy the town to save it." This was one of the most famous quotes from the Vietnam war.

For Occupy Central, it looks like they are ready to undermine Hong Kong's stability and reputation to save it. Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting has said as much.

This is what he pitches to business leaders in an interview with The Wall Street Journal: "Occupy Central would cause serious disruption and hurt business, and you have a very high cost to pay for that. And exactly because there's such a high cost, you should convince Beijing not to allow Occupy Central to happen … Talk to Beijing and say to them, 'Let them have their democracy. I want to protect my business more'... For your own interest, it's better to give us civil nomination."

It sure sounds like extortion, except you are going up against the greatest extortionist in history, the Chinese communist state. This week, Tai said they were "planning wave after wave of struggle, that at its climax will be an all-out blockade of Central". They don't stand a chance playing hard ball. Occupy will manage to cause a lot of damage and disruption. But they just won't get the kind of democracy they demand.

They are always banging on about international standards. But it's a city election, not a country's. There is no higher arbiter or authority than Beijing to decide what form of democracy Hong Kong can have. But don't automatically assume what the National People's Congress Standing Committee hands down will violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It won't.

Try reading through all 53 articles, especially article 25 on the right of citizens to vote and take part in public affairs. Hong Kong actually measures up pretty well. But because Occupy's leaders and their supporters are true believers, they can't compromise. This is despite the many civil liberties Hong Kong people already enjoy, making the city one of the freest in the world.

Poll after poll has shown most Hong Kong people could accept one person, one vote even if the choice of candidates is dictated by a nominating committee. This committee may or may not be widely representative, but it's sure better than any such election group Hong Kong has had before.