Today's Hong Kong Will Not Be Tomorrow's Taiwan
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 30, 2014
Summary: Hong Kong was ceded and loaned out as a colony. Its sovereignty was
determined by international negotiations. The British retroceded it to
the Chinese mainland. Taiwan's sovereignty, by contrast, cannot be
transferred to anyone else. . Those who have been wringing their hands
about "Taiwan becoming Hong Kong-ized" over the past decade, have never
given a damn about Hong Kong. They have never studied Hong Kong's
political system. Yet they prattle on about how "Taiwan is becoming Hong
Kong-ized." This is nothing more than unwarranted blue vs. green
political infighting. It is non-conducive to Taiwan's well-being, and to
the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, The less we have of
such rhetoric, the better.
Full Text Below:
When the Mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun visited Taiwan, he brought with him an olive branch. Some special interest groups however, stalked him. This led to several unfortunate clashes, and even forced Zhang to cancel part of his trip. Cross-Strait peaceful development is becoming mainstream. Its benefits are being felt. Some segments of society however, remain dogged in their opposition. They have become a wild card in cross-Strait relations.
Hong Kongers are holding a "622 Referendum." They are also expected to stage an "Occupy Central" demonstration. Hong Kong was politically unstable to begin with. Now it is being buffeted by new turbulence. Some have linked relations between Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Mainland. They are attempting to join two anti-Mainland forces into one. In terms of values and lifestyles, Taiwan and Hong Kong are indeed related. But at the constitutional level, Taiwan and Hong Kong are totally different. This is a point we must make crystal clear.
Hong Kong has its own history. Hong Kong's political system has its own characteristics. Hong Kong has long been a victim of colonialism and imperialism. It lacks deep democratic roots. But the people long to be their own masters. Hong Kong is a financial center and a free port with a thriving business community. The people are highly pragmatic, realistic, and conservative. But that does not mean they lack ideals. At key moments in history, its people will flock to the streets and make themselves heard. Hong Kong is an immigrant society. Generation after generation of immigrants have shaped this society. The interests of old and new immigrants may not always coincide. But Hong Kong has its own consciousness and its own form of cohesion.
Hong Kong's cuisine combines Chinese cuisine and Western cuisine. It also boasts a local flavor of its own. Hong Konger political consciousness is the same way. It is neither totally Westernized, nor totally Chinese. Hong Kongers are taking their own political path, and choosing their own political system. They have gone from a colony to "one country, two systems." Hong Kong's political system, however, has long been "rule by the executive." The Chief Executive's ability to govern, and democracy's ability to provide oversight are critical. So are the Legislative Council's ability to function and provide representation. Should universal suffrage be implemented? If so, how? These and other issues are extremely important.
Since Hong Kong's retrocession to the Mainland, the "one country, two systems" concept has proved far-sighted. Over the past ten years, Hong Kong has remained a free port. Hong Kong and the Mainland have very different political, legal, monetary, and social welfare systems. The "one country" premise has been ensured. The "two systems" premise has been ensured as well. This is why democratic movements can thrive in Hong Kong. This is why they can fight for democracy and engage in "sensitive" activities. This is why "sensitive" groups can organize freely and survive. In recent years however, "deep-seated contradictions" have surfaced. The Hong Kong government's ability to govern has been questioned. Ethnic and class conflicts have worsened. Environmental, educational, employment, and community problems all require solution. They are problems intertwined with democracy and public welfare. Hong Kongers are increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo. The ruling administration's credibility has diminished. Demands for universal suffrage reflect this dissatisfaction and constitute an attempt to resolve these "deep-seated contradictions."
We on Taiwan have already made the transition to democracy. Naturally were are concerned about political progress and the development of democracy in Hong Kong. We affirm Hong Kong's efforts to implement universal suffrage. We do more than affirm it. We support it. But we must be clear. Hong Kong has its own problems. We respect the people of Hong Kong's freedom to choose. Hong Kong's situation is different from Taiwan's. Comparing Taiwan and Hong Kong may lead to confusion and error. It may blur one's vision. It may blind one to the unique issues facing Taiwan.
Hong Kong is a city in Mainland China. It is a "Special Administrative Region." It clearly belongs to Mainland China. Theoretically "Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong." Dual Universal Suffrage is intended to ensure that "Hong Kong people truly rule Hong Kong."
Taiwan belongs to the Republic of China. The civil war separated the two sides. Since then we have claimed that Taiwan belongs to the Republic of China. The Mainland has a different view. Before the two sides of China reached an agreement, they refused to recognize each other. Jurisdiction over Taiwan belonged to Taiwan's 23 million people. After democratization, legal and political activities such as regular elections and ruling party changes, legitimized this jurisdiction. Taiwan belongs to the Republic of China, No power can transfer sovereignty over Taiwan without the consent of Taiwan's 23 million people.
In recent years, the two sides have agreed to engage in peaceful development. But this has no impact on Taiwan's sovereignty, which is rooted in the ROC Constitution, or its jurisdiction, which is rooted in regular elections and changes in ruling parties. The issue now is how to consolidate that jurisdiction. The green camp likes to carry on about how "Taiwan is becoming Hong Kong-ized." This obscures the difference between Taiwan and Hong Kong. It departs from cross-Strait reality. It is unfounded alarmism.
Hong Kong was ceded and loaned out as a colony. Its sovereignty was determined by international negotiations. The British retroceded it to the Chinese mainland. Taiwan's sovereignty, by contrast, cannot be transferred to anyone else. . Those who have been wringing their hands about "Taiwan becoming Hong Kong-ized" over the past decade, have never given a damn about Hong Kong. They have never studied Hong Kong's political system. Yet they prattle on about how "Taiwan is becoming Hong Kong-ized." This is nothing more than unwarranted blue vs. green political infighting. It is non-conducive to Taiwan's well-being, and to the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, The less we have of such rhetoric, the better.