HK is a dangerous time bomb in case China has not yet found out
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, edited by Karen L., Written by Cheng Lap (鄭立)
Recently, in Hong Kong, several anti-smugglers protests broke out. For the Hong Kong-China conflict, one will naturally see its inevitableness due to the tug-of-war-like political structure when one observes at the scene here in Hong Kong.
To start with the incomplete authority of the Government of the HKSAR is far and away the cause. Precisely, HKSARG has no approval authority on whom and how many Chinese can travel in and immigrate to Hong Kong, and neither is the amount of Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) cities controlled by the HKSARG. "The problem of Hong Kong is an external one," some of my friends from the police force who involved in the Umbrella Revolution once said so. It can be seen that to most of the people, they wrongly assume the HKSARG has such authority, but as a matter of fact it hasn't.
In addition, half of the Legislative Council (LegCo) comprises members of the functional constituency group, who walk into the seat with zero votes. That is, the case in Hong Kong is an oligarchy, and above such government, there is the "comprador bourgeoisie" (includes landlords, merchants and civil servants) back in the colonial era. The Chinese Communist Party attempts to take charge of Hong Kong by controlling the "comprador bourgeoisie" as Brits did. And this time, given their worship over the nabobism and unlimited power among the corrupt Chinese bureaucrats, it only takes a slight effort to do so. Why? The existence of functional constituency leads to the forevermore-below-half elected seats of the membership. By a no-brainer deduction, interests will side with the oligarchs.
By controlling the functional constituency group, executive has more or less managed to control the legislature. One of the separation of powers has merely gone. Social problems like over-population and the everlasting unfavourable results afterwards are not likely to be solved given the imbalanced power of the LegCo. Translation: bills avoiding those problems that are supposed to be passed have been opposed since they do not earn benefits for the vested interests. It has been seen enough vested interests strengthening their self-interests this way.
In 1998, HKSARG dismantled its original LegCo. And the then provisional LegCo, which its bigwig members were basically appointed by the CCP, aimed to abolish the vital policies by the colonial government which had maintained the social stability:
- Rent control. The main policy that limits rent increase. It comes as a wonder to many people why there are less dissatisfaction living under the colonial regime than the CCP. Rent control is one of the many answers as the colonial government restricted both the growth of rent and property price. This policy has fallen apart since 1997 when the oligarchy started to take charge. After that, the property price and rent have been skyrocketed, and those landlords and property owners are laughing their way to the bank. To foreigners, Hong Kong is a place about pricey and tiny flats. And to locals, this is daily life suffering endlessly -- everyone is being exploited and is made to paying rent of some HKD$10,000.
- Public Order Ordinance. Police's authority enhanced and the freedom of assembly and demonstration denied as well, they turn protests against the government from a right to some dangerous thing -- one might get arrested and detained exercising one's right of protesting peacefully, be searched of one's house out of coming-from-nowhere speculations or get a difficult time. A deterioration of police-civilian relationship is what is leading ahead of Hong Kong. The city has long been famous for peaceful demonstrations, whereas the government decide to neglect their views. Worse still, police force are implemented to stop them from protesting and to file prosecutions against them. All these will only lead Hong Kong to form a ideology as "If a peaceful protest does not bear fruit, why bother?". As I mentioned before, the harder the government blackens and suppresses the peaceful protesters, the more hardcore protesters come to the front of protests.
The change before and after 1997 is lifting the restrictions on the vested interests, as well as allowing the police to attack the public, to which CCP is to blame. It is simply too naive for them to belittle the establishment of a colony and to assume a little effort will do. The communist party think they can rule the place with compradors without knowing that a sound separation of powers behind is more than necessary. Although Hong Kong was removed from the colony list in 1972 (Link 1
, Link 2
), the CCP still treat Hong Kong as one of them. The CCP has taught their students "Colony is a political entity where the invader controls the compradors" and when the students become the leader of the country, they mistakenly expect applying what the colonisers do is going to guarantee a stable regime as UK back in the colonial era.
The Communist Party itself do not have the separation of powers. Thus there is no any sort of rightful checks and balances to monitor over the compradors. Such regime will inevitably lead to an old-style colonialisation -- all about exploitation, suppression, confrontation and independence.
The election is by no means fair in Hong Kong. In the LegCo, a member might be from over 100,000 votes in geographical constituencies , or 0 votes from functional constituencies. The latter ones are the vested interests and most of them have invested shops and have benefited from IVS and smuggling (Imagine the rent of 1,000-feet shop is worth HKD$1,000,000/USD$129,000 per month -- impossible in the rest of the world). And how did the government deal with the side effect? Suppress.
|Letitia Lee, one of the leader from the Blue Ribbon thugs.|
Yet, the political infighting involved in Hong Kong at the same time. Some thugs sponsored by Chinese funds and the Falun Gong are putting their Communist-style confrontation in Hong Kong. At first Hongkongers felt "it doesn't matter to me anyway", but gradually they found out that when it comes to things related to the CCP, peaceful tactics are futile, or basically laughing stock.
The government neglects every protest of Hongkongers. They even set up a 3-metre barrier to ban citizens from going inside. In other words, they damage channels and spaces for the government-public communication and protests. Applying police force against protesters, they think that if legal protesting becomes harder and inefficient, the public will give up someday.
Yet the government has miscalculated the situation. The Umbrella Revolution first started with a class boycott with few dozens of people, then tens of thousands of protesters for two to three months of street confrontation -- the root is the miscalculation of the public response. Every riot starts with the thought of "once the authority suppresses, protesters disperse", while the new generation of Hongkongers is now possessing the thought of "more suppression, more confrontation" -- the police ended up using more weapons like tear gas and batons which is a further deterioration to the situation. The more participants in the issue, the more unconventional and guerilla-style confrontational tactics appear -- from a peaceful protest to wearing masks; from willing to cooperate to grabbing fellow protesters from the police force; from protesting to the government to starting anti-smugglers movements.
When the suppression escalates, the tactics of participants escalate causing a vicious cycle. The next bottleneck might be on the "boundary". From the viewpoint of historians, this is a repetition of the period during the end of a colonial era, like Boston Tea Party or the Netherlands' Eighty Years War. The confrontation will take place outside of Hong Kong, maybe in China or overseas. Whatever the government attempts to escalate the suppression against the protesters, it can do nothing outside the jurisdiction of Hong Kong.
Since 1997, the education of Hong Kong has been infiltrated with elements from CCP, such as giving salute to the Five-Star Flag, singing March of the Volunteers (PRC's national anthem) and indoctrinating about the CCP. This "Umbrella generation" is grown under such pro-CCP education. But as a teacher, I found that students never for a day like such indoctrination -- the students hate CCP even more after being sent to the military training camp in there. Students found these coercive behaviour strangle which causes a more anti-CCP generation than ever.
Although most of the Hongkongers assert new immigrants are "diluting" the population of Hong Kong, quite a few of the "Umbrella Generation" are the offspring of new immigrants, and some may even receive their primary education in mainland China. Lives have not been easy for them since the moment coming to Hong Kong. Caught between two stools, a strong sense of anti-CCP awareness appears to them -- there is no way can they go back in China and live happily ever after. It is the sole road for them to strengthen their own Hongkonger identity, so as to be more "Hongkonger" than a "Hongkonger".
This reasoning may sound off, but it makes every sense of it. Historically speaking, Napoleon was the French emperor, but he was from Corsica; Adolf Hitler was the Führer of Germany, but he was from Austria; Joseph Stalin was the leader of USSR, but he was from Georgia. These "foreigners" have nothing in the first place. Hong Kong received almost a million new immigrants alike, and this very thought has grown more than prevalent among such generation.
Also, Renminbi (Chinese Yuan) is not a freely convertible currency, whereas HKD has pegged to USD through Linked Exchange Rate system. Hong Kong is the only Common Law jurisdiction in the Greater China region. Our legal system is similar to the UK and the US. Our currency, passport and legal system are internationally acknowledged. Any cities in PRC, including Shanghai, cannot attain that, even their property price skyrockets or they have a record-high GDP.
This is one of the blind spots when people look into HK-China relationship -- there is a vital and inseparable interest behind. The biggest wealth of Hong Kong is the system independent from the CCP, and the compradors know this. They know the CCP will not act rashly in Hong Kong, and so they try all means to gain interests in Hong Kong with the support of CCP. The HKSAR passport and those related companies have become springboards for many important CCP figures in leaving CCP. The compradors do not care to aggravate conflicts or the other way round. They can leave Hong Kong whenever they want even if anything bad appears. High-ranked officials in Hong Kong, including CY Leung's family, are basically abroad. Imagine any major unfavourable issue happens in Hong Kong, these officials could land at some overseas countries safely leaving behind a RMB economy bomb with the citizens.
Many people have a thought that empowering elites the full authorities is what makes things work, and makes things work well, however, in the case of Hong Kong, it reveals the absolute power has every ability to turn people corrupt. It is because the one could use the absolute power in hand to serve one's self-interests and to get away with the responsibilities. A friend of mine from the CCP, who is rather open-minded, says that many people undermines the complexity of the Hong Kong society. China has taken a dangerous time bomb. After the 70s, Hong Kong can no longer be seen as a colony, but few people are aware of that.