Patriot games with no clear winners | South China Morning Post
  • Mon
  • Feb 2, 2015
  • Updated: 6:36am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 6:00am

Patriot games with no clear winners

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

Come on, people, wake up and smell the reality. Is it practical to fight a battle that pitches patriotism against democracy? Hongkongers are in a huff yet again because another mainland official mouthed off about disqualifying as candidates for chief executive those who confront the central government. What did you expect Basic Law committee chairman Qiao Xiaoyang to say - that a future chief executive elected through universal suffrage is free to undermine the central government in the name of democracy? When mainland leaders insist chief executives must be patriotic, it's clear that they don't want Hong Kong to elect a leader they fear could be a stooge of China's enemies. Does Hong Kong really want to be cornered into fighting for the right to elect a leader whose aim is to confront Beijing? Is that how we want to define our democracy battle? That's how it's coming across now. Mainland leaders say our chief executives must be patriots who won't undermine the country or the central government. Democracy defenders cry foul. They started off fighting for a fair screening process for chief executive candidates, which is fine. But they've now been cornered into defending the right to elect leaders with an agenda to topple the Communist Party. How stupid. What has the one-party system in China got to do with Hong Kong democracy as long as we are able to democratically elect our leaders? Ending the one-party system is not our fight. It is the fight of mainland Chinese.

 

When principles get in the way of progress

It's never going to happen but supposing the democracy camp wins its battle to allow as chief executive candidates even those who oppose the central government. How will these candidates campaign? Will they run on an election platform of confronting Beijing? Will they wave placards saying they love China but hate the Communist Party, which they will work to topple? Or is the democracy camp fighting for the right to confront Beijing simply as a matter of principle? No serious democracy camp candidate would run on a promise to be hostile to Beijing. So why sacrifice getting the best possible deal on democracy for a principle that won't be exercised anyway?

 

Not in our backyard, thank you

One down, one to go. OK, it's a crude way of putting it but that's what most Hongkongers are thinking. They were horrified at the thought of hundreds of thousands of foreign domestic helpers winning the right of abode. The top court's ruling that foreign helpers don't qualify for permanent residency has ended that nightmare, but another continues - that of mainlanders swamping Hong Kong. Some say that referring the matter to Beijing would have shattered Hong Kong's judicial independence. Fine, but now what? The ruling will likely embolden mainland women to again flood Hong Kong to give birth. Judicial independence or being overwhelmed by countless more competing for school places, housing and so on? Your choice.

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