July 15, 2006

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Reading an Economist article over the Falkland Islands brought to mind another ex-British colony, albeit with different circumstances:

Britain insists that, regardless of how many countries Argentina can line up in support, it will never discuss the sovereignty question with the government in Buenos Aires unless the islands' 3,000 inhabitants, who consider themselves British, request it. Tough talk from Mr Kirchner will only alienate them further. “We believe it would be morally unacceptable”, says a British embassy spokesman, “to force them to change their government.”
Anyone recall Hong Kongers being asked, especially those on the island and south of Boundary St?

posted by Simon on 07.15.06 at 09:42 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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I managed to confuse a (Chinese) colleague of mine a couple of weeks ago. We were chatting, and the subject of Gibraltar came up - as it often does in casual conversation.

Twice now, the government of Gibraltar - the locally-elected council, the approximate equivalent of ExCo and LegCo - in order to derail talks between the governments of Spain and the UK over Gibraltar sovereignty, has called a referendum. On exactly the same basis as the Falklands thing, current international law essentially says that the views of the local population should take precedence over the desires of the colonial government.

Although Gibraltar is still very much a colony, the locals are very happy that way, and the local government has enough of a backbone that they've gone up against the British and Spanish governments twice, and won conclusively both times. The first time was in 1967, in the days of the Franco government, and understandably the vote was massively, overwhelmingly in favour of the status quo - only 44 people voted in favour of Spanish sovereignty, out of a total of over 12,000 votes. The second time was in 2002, and things were slightly less overwhelming - that time, 187 people voted against the status quo, out of over 18,000 votes.

I don't know if the numbers would have been as overwhelming here - I think they might have been in 1967 - but if the Hong Kong government had the will and the backbone to go up against the British and Chinese governments and called a referendum in 1984, I think it's fair to say there would have been a clear majority in favour of the status quo. Different part of the world, different players, and, to some extent, a different time.

posted by: Richard on 07.16.06 at 10:00 PM [permalink]

Richard, I'm in complete agreement.

Would you go as far as support Native American resolutions to ignore their "limited sovereignty" status prescribed by their colonial holder?

Or do you think they'll vote to stay subjugated, after hundreds of years of opperssion?

posted by: bobby fletcher on 07.18.06 at 04:07 AM [permalink]


Would you go as far as support Native American resolutions to ignore their "limited sovereignty" status prescribed by their colonial holder?

And dissolve them into the united States and the federal government, which also hold sovereignty of the same lands? While I support the concept of race-neutral government, and would thus encourage the dissolution of the tribes, I doubt many tribal councils have agreed...

posted by: Dan tdaxp on 07.18.06 at 04:43 AM [permalink]

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