Hong Kong Is Becoming Dangerously Polarized

Hong Kong Is Becoming Dangerously Polarized

From The Economist:

For years after the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, China’s leaders surprised the world by adhering scrupulously to Hong Kong’s unusual political set-up of “one country, two systems”.

Under the terms of the handover, Hong Kong was to retain a high degree of autonomy for 50 years, an ingenious solution for reintegration of a former colony.

In recent years, however, party leaders in Beijing have become less respectful of that system, and that is stirring up resentment.

On June 22nd a protest group called Occupy Central will hold an informal referendum on Hong Kong’s politics. Since 1997 Hong Kong’s chief executive has been chosen by a hand-picked committee of 1,200 local worthies, all friends of Beijing. China has promised that in 2017 the choice will be by “universal suffrage”, but it still insists that the candidates must be chosen by the worthies. This weekend’s referendum offers voters three choices, all of which give Hong Kongers the right to choose the candidates. Occupy Central says it will promote the most popular option. China has said none is acceptable.

To add spice to all this, the regime in Beijing has issued a white paper reminding the territory that Hong Kong’s “autonomy” is entirely at the discretion of China’s leaders. It adds that the judiciary is part of the government and has a “basic political requirement” to “be patriotic”. That flies in the face of Hong Kong’s independent judiciary and its common-law, English legal system. The response of many Hong Kongers has been more angry than at anything since 1997. Occupy Central has threatened to bring the business district to a standstill.

Read the full story at The Economist.