November 09, 2004

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Heat of the battle

There has been a gathering movement in Hong Kong to have a referendum on universal suffrage for elections in 2007/8. Funnily enough, neither China nor HK's Government think it a good idea. What's ironic is the deputy director of China's Liason Office in HK (a sort-of embassy/big brother operation) is citing the Basic Law as a reason against having a referendum:

"The move [advocating a referendum] is against the Basic Law. They [the politicians] are playing with fire...Everybody would know their [democrats] hidden objectives,'' he said. "They just want to use this practice to overrule the decision made by the National Peoples' Congress Standing Committee.''
The NPC decision was certainly against the spirit of the Basic Law, if not the letter. This is the same Basic Law where "the right of abode" actually means "no right of abode" thanks to some fancy legal footwork and political pressure. The Basic Law is a great tool for China: it can be cited when it suits their cause, and ignored when it doesn't. What a great piece of paper.

Stephen Vines looks at why the HK Democrats are fighting a losing battle to have a referendum. Quite simply there is no way the CCP can fathom anything like a referendum. Direct elections are uncontrollable, unlike (for example) HK's Legco system. Even worse, the CCP know the likely answer from such a vote will be directly contrary to what they have already decided. Once you let the voting genie out of the bottle, you cannot put it back.

posted by Simon on 11.09.04 at 09:21 AM in the


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