1 Country 2 systems in HK: A Decadal Reflection


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1 Country 2 systems in HK: A Decadal Reflection

  1. 1. Benson Wai-kwok Wong Postdoctoral Fellow Taiwan Foundation for Democracy “One Country, Two Systems”: A Decadal Reflection from a Local Perspective
  2. 2. 2 Outline 1. Introduction 2. China VS Hong Kong 3. Nature of the PRC rule in Hong Kong 4. Tung Chee-hwa administration 5. Donald Tsang administration 6. Conclusion
  3. 3. 3 Introduction  The optimistic view on “1 Country, 2 Systems” (1C2S) from pro- establishment sector  View this political experiment from a local, not Beijing, perspective  Presence of inconsistencies and misunderstanding between Beijing and HK
  4. 4. 4 China/HK, which is better?  Tung CH: HK is better, motherland will be better, and vice versa. Is it valid?  Historical perspective: HK’s takeoff VS China’s chaos  Anti-communist syndrome:  PRC’s authoritarian rule  Political campaigns since 1949, notably the Cultural Revolution (1966-76)  The 1967 Riot in HK  Tiananmen Square Protests (1989)  Economic prosperity diverted political worries of some HKers?
  5. 5. 5 Nature of PRC rule in HK [i] 1. Covert influence through Tung’s subservience and conformity 2. The discourse of an “economic” city: depoliticizing HK  Utilizing HK’s economic strength to contribute to the motherland (1980s)  Devaluing economic value after the Asian Financial Crisis + increasing economic might of PRC = weakening its political role (after 1997) 1. Legitimatizing the hegemony by the use of political slogans: prosperity, stability and harmony
  6. 6. 6 Nature of PRC rule in HK [ii] 4. Understanding of HK is based on misunderstanding and misperception: result of burying the past 5. Guoqing education:  Tse: National integration > self-governance  Nationalism and patriotism: cultural heritage, historical root, economic growth and science and technology advances (yet cover up the political practices and social problems)  Instrumental nationalism/patriotism?
  7. 7. 7 Tung administration [i] 1. Lacked the administrative experiences and leadership capacities  Personal diligence =/= political wisdom 2. Lacked a definite and an efficient proposal to take the deep-rooting economic problems  Housing problems (85,000 estate policy)  Need the support of real estate developers  Disarticulation between Tung and civil servants in the policy-making arena
  8. 8. 8 Tung administration [ii] 3. Lacked a sustainable and detailed schedule to fulfill his ambition  CyberPort, flower plantation, Chinese medicine, biochemistry, tourism in North Lantau, fashions, entertainment 3. Political appointment of pro-Beijing elites into the advisory/consultative committees (serve as “public” opinion) 4. “Old and Stupid” Tung:  Old: colonial political vision of the 1960s and 70s  Stupidity: political naivety (Jiang Jiemin’s unconditional support)
  9. 9. 9 Tung administration [iii] 6. Failed to serve as a bridge between HKers and the central authorities  Reinterpreting the Basic Law  Enacting Art. 23 of the Basic Law  Beijing authorities discrete when, how, how far democratization could be taken, and interpret the subsequent policies according to their political interests 6. Jiang JM: Tung = 1C2S? 7. 2003: A year of significance  SARS  Enacting Art, 23 of the Basic Law  July 1 rally: Both Tung and Central authorities shocked
  10. 10. 10 Tsang administration [i] 1. Stepping down of Jiang and rise of Hu  Tung’s departure 2. Tsang: a pragmatic choice  His administrative experience, popularity, “strong governance” 1. PRC: Saved HK economically:  CEPA, Individual Free Visit, … 1. A “competitive” CE election: Tsang’s promise to unfold democratization was hampered by Wu Bangguo,  confirming the Beijing orchestration in the backstage for local political developments
  11. 11. 11 Tsang administration [ii] 5. Authorities ignore the drastic changes of HK’s politics and society  Vibrancy of civil society  The effectiveness of Internet  Spontaneous social movements  E.g., The demolition of Star Ferry & Queen Pier
  12. 12. 12 Tsang administration [iii] 6. Revitalization of 1C2S under Tsang?  Basic misunderstanding of 1C2S persists  HK people ruling HK  What kind of HKers?  How to rule HK?  High autonomy is tarnished by sovereignty
  13. 13. 13 Conclusion [i] 1. Does the PRC genuinely believe “1C2S”?  2S are as a means to achieve 1C?  Politically, the socialist system overrides the capitalist system?  “over”-interpretation of the Basic Law according to the designed political purposes: dominant & manipulative?
  14. 14. 14 Conclusion [ii] 2. The ultimate outcome of 1C2S  Politically, the capitalist system would transfer into the socialist system (soft authoritarianism?)  Economically, the increasing dependency on China constitutes an obstacle to HK’s democratization?  A tug-of-war between authoritarian regime and civil society  In case of being violated the core values (human rights, freedom and liberties), HKers would define them by taking the tangible and consistent actions  unintentionally drive local democratization
  15. 15. 15 End of Presentation  Questions, comments and suggestions welcome!
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