One Country, Two Systems: From Compartmentalization to Coopetition
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 23, 2014
Executive Summary: Hong Kong rule is a headache for Beijing. But Beijing faces an even greater challenge, namely Mainland rule and how to alter it. Beijing's tough stance on Hong Kong and Taiwan is actually a retreart. If Beijing fails to alter its thinking and practices, Deng Xiaoping's one country two systems could be discredited in Hong Kong. The rigor mortis of the Mainland regime could lead to its doom. Is this not a "bad ending" that warrants concern?
Full Text Below:
Hong Kong Newsflash: Hong Kong Federation of Students representatives and government officials are engaged in a tug of war at the negotiating table. Demonstrators and police are engaged in a tug of war on the streets.
The Mainland's official news outlets say the protesters are tired. They say the movement has been "hollowed out," that it "must come to an end, and is on the verge of collapse," and that "Democracy cannot avoid a bad ending." If Beijing and the Hong Kong Government adopt this attitude when talking to pro-democracy activists, no solution is likely. Internally, the tug of war on the streets of Hong Kong may be coming to an end. But they are not necessarily "on the verge of collapse," Externally, outside observers are hoping that Hong Kong can become an object lesson in the pursuit of peace. They object to bad-mouthing and references to "bad endings." They have no desire to see Hong Kong become a source of regret.
Regardless of the outcome of the Occupy Central movement, democracy in Hong Kong has gained momentum. It will find its place amidst political ups and downs. Even when the "no change for 50 years" deadline arrives, Hong Kong will not backslide. The world turns. "One Country, Two Systems" is a dynamic process. In the long term, today's "compartmentalized two systems" may become tomorrow's "coopetitive two systems." That will be the real day of reckoning. Therefore Beijing faces a more serious problem. In another fifty years, will the Mainland's political system still be what it is today? Will it still be an immutable communist dictatorship?
How should Beijing respond to Hong Kong's political reform as it moves toward democracy? That is a tough question. But an even tougher question is whether Beijing's one-party dictatorship should also undergo political reform? In other words, one country, two systems could go from compartmentalization to coopetition.
In 1997 Beijing adopted "one country, two systems" in response to the problem of Hong Kong. Beijing knew that Mainland rule over Hong Kong would be inferior to Hong Kong rule over Hong Kong. This was common sense. But an even better question is whether Mainland rule is better for the Mainland, in the long run. If the CCP leadership did not have doubts, it would not mention the "end of the party and the end of the nation" so frequently.
Mainland rule has four cardinal principles. But they boil down to one. Principle One. The socialist road, but with "Chinese characteristics." This of course, is a self-contradiction. Principle Two. The dictatorship of the proletariat. But the CCP regime has already become a dictatorship of second generation officials, second-generation plutocrats, with workers and peasants pushed to the margins. Principle Three. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Reall? Principle Four. The leadership of the Communist Party. The CCP demands the "leadership of the Communist Party" even though it is no longer socialist, no longer a dictatorship of the proletariat, and no longer has any relationship with Marx, Lenin, and Mao. All that remains is the leadership of the CCP. But this is the 21st century. Can the party continue making such demands for another 50 years?
In fact, since reforms begain in 1978, the Communist regime has made significant achievements in political reform. For example, in TV dramas Deng Xiaoping is portrayed as critical of the Cultural Revolution. He blasts it as "Inexplicable and outrageous." For example, Mao Zedong "criticized Confucius and praised the Qin Emperor." But Xi Jinping frequently praises Confucius and expresses respect for Confucianism. For example, one seldom hears "class struggle" cited as the key to ruling the nation. The old socialist path permitted socialism but not capitalism. That path no longer exists. The dictatorship of the proletariat no longer exists. It is no longer something the party demands. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism exists in name only. Three of the four cardinal principles have already been forsaken. The only remaining principle is the leadership of the Communist Party. Communist party rule need not be ruled out. But it should be achieved through democratic competition.
The Chinese Communist Party's 36 years of achievements in reform and opening deserve affirmation. But recent tightening of communist regime control puts its legitimacy at risk. The situation on Mainland China is complex. At times calls for "Communist Party leadership" are understandable. They provide the CCP the time needed to slough off other three principles. But the CCP should use this political tutelage period to improve political and economic conditions. It should transition from demanding "the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party," to demanding Chinese Communist Party "participation in democratic competition." This is a daunting task, But seven years of disease require three years of healing. If the crops and livestock are inadequate, the people cannot survive.
The situation in Hong Kong is a microcosm of the Mainland. Sham universal suffrage shows that Beijing fears its man might lose under genuine universal suffrage. Therefore it demands screening. By the same token, Beijing fears that a more democratic form of government on the Mainland might threaten the Communist Party's power. Therefore it demands Communist Party leadership. But without popular support, the CCP must get tough and apply more pressure. In the long term, this will make the regime less inclusive. less appealing, and less legitimate. It will greatly increase the risks of governance.
The one remaining cardinal principle shows that the CCP lacks tolerance and self-confidence. Hong Kong rule is a headache for Beijing. But Beijing faces an even greater challenge, namely Mainland rule and how to alter it. Beijing's tough stance on Hong Kong and Taiwan is actually a retreart. If Beijing fails to alter its thinking and practices, Deng Xiaoping's one country two systems could be discredited in Hong Kong. The rigor mortis of the Mainland regime could lead to its doom. Is this not a "bad ending" that warrants concern?
2014.10.23 02:05 am