Hong Kong Dream, Taiwan Dream, Chinese Dream
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 25, 2014
Summary: We are convinced that Hong Kong's increasing freedom, openness, and
democracy will benefit the whole of China and ethnic Chinese the world
over. We hope that Beijing and the pan-democrats will safeguard Hong
Kong's stability, promote democracy in Hong Kong, demonstrate mutual
tolerance, dissolve their differences, and broaden their consensus.
Allow the people of Hong Kong to fully express themselves, arrive at a
reasonable reform package, expand the Hong Kong Government's support
base, and stabilize society, enabling Hong Kong's democracy to move
forward step by step. Allow Hong Kong to continue serving as Mainland
China's free port for reform and liberalization. Allow it to become a
model for Taiwan and Mainland reintegration. The Hong Kong Dream, and
the Taiwan Dream must become key links in the the China Dream.
Full Text Below:
Hong Kong encompasses a mere 1104 square kilometers. It is a small place. But it has played a special role in modern and contemporary Chinese history. Ethnically, emotionally, culturally, and even in terms of sovereignty, Hong Kong is definitely a part of China.
But Hong Kong is also one of China's "special regions." It has played a special role in modern and contemporary Chinese history. In 1842, The Qing Court was defeated in the Opium War. It was forced to cede and lease Hong Kong to Great Britain. Hong Kong became a British colony. The reality of colonialism shattered the link between Hong Kong and Mainland China. But it also linked them. Hong Kong's political system, lifestyle, social attitudes, and cultural trappings, all took a unique path, and led to the development of a uniquely Hong Kong model. On the other hand, Chinese culture remains the bedrock of Hong Kong culture. Residents of Mainland China Hong have swarmed into Hong Kong repeatedly during its history, leading to the formation of a diverse and complex immigrant society.
On the one hand, Hong Kong's colonial status amounted to a century of humiliation for modern China. On the other hand, Hong Kong became the trigger for political and social change in China. The film "Bodyguards and Assassins" tells the role of Hong Kong in Sun Yat-sen's democratic revolution. The film exaggerated of course. But Hong Kong has undeniably been a window of enlightenment for Mainland China. It has been a hotbed of revolution, a channel for patriots and overseas capital, and a base for exiles and refugees. In fact, the success of the Xinhai Revolution is intimately linked to Hong Kong. The KMT and CCP cooperated during the Northern Expedition. Hong Kong was a Mecca for the labor movement. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the lonely island of Hong Kong remained a stronghold of Chinese thought, literature, and resistance.
Following 1949, the CCP refrained from taking advantage of its victory to occupy Hong Kong. Instead it gradually established a "long-term use, comprehensive planning" approach. Hong Kong became a window through which Mainland China could break through embargos, transport supplies, export goods, obtain foreign exchange, collect funds, and gather intelligence. During this period, Hong Kong evolved from an entrepot into and industrial city and a trade port. It underwent rapid economic development. It benefitted from its special political status, geographical location, and liberal politico-economic system. Hong Kong is a free port, financial center, a maritime and air RTS, one of the four Asian Tigers, and the Pearl of the Orient.
Hong Kong's special status led to the development of a unique lifestyle. A Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant has recently become all the rage on Taiwan. It was originally a Western-style icehouse selling cheap snacks. Its menu gradually expanded. It combined a Western restaurant and dining model, then evolved into one of today's most popular cafes. Hong Kong is a paradise of freedom. Its cultural roots are traditional Chinese, but it also integrates East and West. That is why it has become the movie capital and Chinese pop cultural capital for ethnic Chinese the world over. It is known as the "Hollywood of the East," the "Chinese language dream factory," and "Chinese Amusement Park." Chinese movies and pop culture with Hong Kong characteristics have spread throughout the world. It is universally believed that Hong Kong culture has benefitted from the confluence of Chinese and Western culture. Hong Kong has become a cultural and creative industry enjoying unfettered creative freedom.
This brief review enables us to sum up Hong Kong's history. Hong Kong, with its special political status, its colonial and immigrant social composition, and its free and open society, has given it a special role in the Mainland's development, in cross-Strait relations, and in East Asian regional development. This role has contributed to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. More importantly, it has made it a tangible and intangible asset to the Mainland, and a driver that has catalyzed Mainland China's progress.
Recently, political reform in Hong Kong reached a critical juncture. In July, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying submitted a report to the Mainland government's Standing Committee, concerning the selection process for Chief Executive in 2017, and the Legislative Council in 2016. This is known as "dual universal suffrage." At the end of the month, the Mainland Standing Committee will consider the issue. Currently the chief controversy between the Beijing authorities and the so-called pan-democrats pertains to the selection process for chief executive. Both sides agree to universal suffrage when electing the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council. But Beijing wants patriots who love Hong Kong as candidates for Chief Executive. It insists on universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law. The Chief Executive Nomination Committee shall nominate candidates. The pan-democrats emphasize democratic ideals. They question the "Love Hong Kong, love the country" definition. They fear the NC will become Beijing's tool for screening candidates.
According to the relevant laws and regulations, Mainland China's Peoples Congress may render a decision on Hong Kong reform. But it needs the Hong Kong government to author a draft, then submit it to the Legislative Council. If the Bill is defeated in the Legislative Council, the controversy will continue. The next chief executive election will follow the existing model. The problem of "universal suffrage" will always dog Hong Kong politics.
In other words, Hong Kong politics finds itself at a fork in the road. In recent years, Hong Kong's economic, political, and social culture has encountered many complex problems. Former Premier Wen Jiabao used "deep-seated contradictions" to characterized these challenges. Hong Kong needs a soft landing for its political and constitutional controversy. Otherwise Hong Kong society will experience a widening wealth gap, conflicts between old residents and new immigrants, economic bottlenecks, and other issues that will confuse the situation even further.
We are convinced that Hong Kong's increasing freedom, openness, and democracy will benefit the whole of China and ethnic Chinese the world over. We hope that Beijing and the pan-democrats will safeguard Hong Kong's stability, promote democracy in Hong Kong, demonstrate mutual tolerance, dissolve their differences, and broaden their consensus. Allow the people of Hong Kong to fully express themselves, arrive at a reasonable reform package, expand the Hong Kong Government's support base, and stabilize society, enabling Hong Kong's democracy to move forward step by step. Allow Hong Kong to continue serving as Mainland China's free port for reform and liberalization. Allow it to become a model for Taiwan and Mainland reintegration. The Hong Kong Dream, and the Taiwan Dream must become key links in the the China Dream.
社論－香港夢 台灣夢 中國夢