June 28, 2005

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The Don began his governorship of Hong Kong with a speech to Legco. After the predictable rantings of Hong Kong's last Marxist, Sir Bowtie faced the only group in Hong Kong that don't like him: lawmakers. He said democracy was a low priority for his government, which is clearly true. The most popular politician is in the job anyway, even if the process for getting him there is a travesty. In other words, right result but wrong method. It also means the turn out for Friday's march is likely to be on the low side, not helped by the organisers mixing the issues with a gay rights campaign.

Naturally the first thing The Don did was commisssion a survey of 1,200 Hong Kongers to see what they really do want. The list is below the fold. If it's to be believed, Hong Kong people are more worried about the HK-Macau-Zhuhai bridge and poultry slaughtering than democracy, but rank "encouraging people to give birth" below Article 23 legislation and the Container Terminal 10! Will The Don accept such low priorities on his pet projects? More interestingly, is Hong Kong entering an era of rule by opinion poll?

The Don has clearly set out a list by which he can be judged. Accountability; responding to public opinion; sharing government priorities. My God, it's democracy by stealth! Let's hope Beijing doesn't find out.

From the SCMP:


posted by Simon on 06.28.05 at 09:52 AM in the


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Just wondering what is entailed by "governance" as the No 2 concern. Does its definition in any way incorporate item No 12? The Standard item doesn't really make that clear, but I would assume 'governance' implies that Hong Kongers do want an accountable government. That would imply democracy is a pretty high priority (even if 'universal sufferage' does rank low).

posted by: myrick on 06.28.05 at 11:19 AM [permalink]

I think governance is meant to mean competent administration, rather than universal suffrage.

My point is we've achieve the same ends of a democracy would have delivered but without the voting. That said, I'm a believer in the journey as much as the destination.

And what about some of those other priorities? Who the hell actually knows about Container Terminal 10? Who did these people interview?

posted by: Simon on 06.28.05 at 03:39 PM [permalink]

"My God, it's democracy by stealth! Let's hope Beijing doesn't find out."

Haha, how the hell do you think up stuff like that?

Yes, Container No 10, had me wondering who the hell they interviewed. Maybe they asked all the questions in Kwai Chung.

I hate to say this but after just reading your post, I'm wondering just much truth there is in Beijing's previous statement that HK-ers don't want democracy, they only want a healthy economy.

You think the democracy marchers will be out in force again as soon as the next economic downturn kicks in?

posted by: Joe on 06.28.05 at 04:40 PM [permalink]

I think Friday's march will be comparitively small and a non-event. Donald Tsang has to really screw up to get the same numbers Tung Che-hwa got after his botched Article 23 attempt.

Way back when ESWN posted an anecdote on a dinner party he attended with some Hong Kongers, where the general view was people weren't too worried about democracy. So long as The Don looks like he has people's interests at heart and the economy ticks along nicely, there won't be any trouble. People only want the right to vote if they want to change how things are.

posted by: Simon on 06.28.05 at 06:10 PM [permalink]

Hmm, I'll try and search for that HK dinner party post.

"People only want the right to vote if they want to change how things are."

I think you've banged the nail on the head there. Unless the people are dissatisfied with the leader (Tung is a good example) and the economy is in a downward spiral, I think the silent majority in HK aren't too worried about having the right to vote.

Sad but true that, for most people in HK, a strong economy and a competant CE are higher up the list of priorites than democracy. However, who can really blame 'em, we've all got families to feed and educate.

The only exception I can think of would be if Beijing tried to impose Article 23-style legislation again. They'd be bloody stupid to do so but you never quite know with China.

posted by: Joe on 06.28.05 at 07:54 PM [permalink]

Found them for you, Joe. My post is dinner and democracy. The ESWN post is My dinner conversation.

They won't try Article 23 in this term. Maybe after the 2007/8 election cycle, but not until then.

posted by: Simon on 06.28.05 at 07:59 PM [permalink]

Great, much obliged Simon.

posted by: Joe on 06.28.05 at 08:52 PM [permalink]

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