April 30, 2007

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Fearing fear

The SCMP entertains us on its front page with all the reasons that Beijing thinks the deadline for universal suffrage in Hong Kong should slip from the promised 2012 to, ummm, well, kind of, like, about 2104567 years from now:

Beijing has become more fearful about the early introduction of universal suffrage in the wake of the chief executive election, a well-informed pro-Beijing source said. The source revealed Beijing's post-mortem of the March 25 election was largely negative, although state leaders have indicated otherwise publicly...

"The lessons Beijing has drawn from the election are mostly negative," the source said. "It is not possible for them to agree to universal suffrage in 2012. The earliest possible date is 2017." He said the mainland authorities were surprised that Alan Leong Kah-kit secured entry to the election.

"Beijing is concerned the Election Committee mechanism has been unable to screen out people like Alan Leong, who are not acceptable to them, in the nomination period," the source said. "To them, the implication is that the democrats would be able to stand for universal suffrage when the Election Committee is transformed into a nominating committee for the popular vote.

"In a sense, Beijing feels fortunate that they have a popular candidate like Donald Tsang. There will be a degree of uncertainty if the candidate is not Donald Tsang."

Are we getting set for El Presidente for Life Donald Tsang. The logic (and it's a stretch calling it that) is Beijing isn't happy the democrats managed to get someone up, even though he didn't have a chance, so this election was a close shave for them. And The Don shot his mouth off by promising universal suffrage (he actually has only promised a resolution to the "problem", which isn't the same thing). So now The Don has actually displeased his masters in Beijing and when they say they're happy with things what they mean is they are not. With me so far?
The source said Beijing had also expressed unease with some of Mr Tsang's key election pledges. "If it were not for a contested election, Donald Tsang would not have made a firm commitment on issues like universal suffrage."

Mr Tsang has promised a "complete solution" on universal suffrage in the next five years and that a green paper will be issued for public consultation. "The idea of a green paper has come as a surprise to the Executive Council members," the source said, as had other pledges such as those on small-class teaching, health spending and a tax cut.

So by offering pledges that were popular because he was in a contested election, The Don has annoyed Beijing. Things would have been much better if there was no pesky challanger in this election...but the one fly in the ointment is that this convoluted system was contrived and approved by Beijing and enshrined in the Basic Law. They only have themselves to blame.
He said mainland officials were also concerned about the profound change that had taken place in the election process, whereby a candidate must perform well in forums to win public support. "This is a new ball game. It will make it more difficult for Beijing to find potential candidates."
Shockingly, Hong Kong people don't take too kindly to having unpopular candidates for Chief foisted upon them, and Beijing doesn't have a clue how to find popular people who will do its bidding. Luckily they've got 5 years until The Don moves on. Don't worry, Anson Chan, your phone isn't going to ring.

And finally, to make sure the paranoia is complete:

The source also said that "Chinese officials have kept asking whether there are any foreign forces behind the Civic Party".
Yes, lots of foreigners are bankrolling the Civic Party as a beachhead into Communist China.

This source had a little too much sauce, methinks.

posted by Simon on 04.30.07 at 01:08 PM in the Hong Kong democracy/politics category.


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