August 30, 2005

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Amusing but bizarre journalism in the SCMP today as senior hack Jimmy Cheung tried to convert a Q&A session with HK Chief Exec Donald Tsang on Mandarin channel Phoenix TV into a meditation of how Hong Kong's material culture can distract its masses from any desire for democracy. An example of thie first few paragraphs of the article:

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has sought to ease concerns that political parties will not have a role to play under the current executive-led system.

Mr Tsang warned against hasty political development, saying it would take longer for a unique political system to evolve.

Speaking in an interview with Phoenix TV yesterday, Mr Tsang recalled how President Hu Jintao told him "to live the Hong Kong people's dream".

The chief executive also explained his penchant for Rolex designer watches.

Mr Tsang said the development of party politics was inevitable, and as Hong Kong moved towards universal suffrage, parties would mature.

The flow of the article is disjointed, to say the least (I would link it for you but the SCMP requires a subscription). But while Jimmy Cheung may have wanted to focus on the Rolex watches and on making a statement about how consumerism overwhelms the Hong Kong desire for democracy, it seems more interesting to take what Donald Tsang is saying at face value - that universal suffrage for Hong Kong is inevitable, and that party politics will mature as their responsibilities grow.

Donald Tsang seems from his track record a reasonable and able administrator. But as I've been discussing in a previous post with other bloggers, the difficulty with benign authoritarian governments is - what is the process of regime change when the authoritarian government becomes not so benign or proves itself incompetent? For now, the answer for Hong Kong is that China will appoint someone else for you when the leaders in Beijing sees that he's doing a bad job. But for now, we'll have to leave the question of who oversees the overseers aside for the time being... at least until after the 2008 Legco elections, it seems.

posted by HK Dave on 08.30.05 at 09:28 AM in the


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