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Jun 16, 2007

Great article

Commentary: Beijing's war of words with Hong Kong

As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its handover to China on July 1, a war of words has broken out over how much authority the territory has to manage its own affairs. On Saturday, media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder of Next Media Group, criticized Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Chinese National People's Congress, calling him "crazy." He was referring to an earlier comment by Wu that Hong Kong had no independent authority aside from that assigned it by the central government in Beijing.

Lai said Wu's comment was nonsensical, insisting that Hong Kong is under the protection of the Basic Law, specially created for the Special Administrative Region, which gives it autonomy over its own affairs.

As chairman of the NPC, Wu is supposed to be an expert on China's Constitution and laws. How could Lai, a Hong Kong businessman, know more than Wu about the law? The fact is that these two people live in different worlds, with totally different views of the nature of law.

Wu's comment exposes the fatal flaw in China's legal and constitutional practices. Strictly speaking, his indiscreet remark amounts to a serious dereliction of duty. This affair reveals the fact that to Wu, the articles of China's Constitution and Hong Kong's Basic Law are both unimportant.


channing said...

Hi, I'm a frequenter of M. Turton's blog and came across your blog. Great article you have here, so let me offer my two cents as an addendum:

These wars of words are not new...Hong Kong's general population continues to be better educated than most of the elite leaders in China, which I think is a major factor behind the ideological conflict.

China's leaders hardly know how to run the HKSAR, so they frequently come up with contradicting tactics. As the sovereign, Beijing has been benign, aggressive, ambiguous, sincere, muddled.....and everything in between. Different leaders have different ideas on how the SAR should run and be run, and mainland leaders have even been known to try to cool off the outcry over someone's irrational comments.

To be fair, I remember Wu also said on TV that Beijing has been "sincere" and has "put Hong Kong in its heart."

It's true that the power in delegating HKSAR governance rests in China, the sovereign, through the provisions of the Basic Law--much like the political subdivisions of any republic. But sometimes a hormonal official or two gets carried away with trumpeting China's sovereignty over the SARs. Despite the initial outcries whenever this happens, I and most other Hong Kongers try to let it slide most of the time.

I still strongly suggest that those who talk about "democracy's death in Hong Kong" and haven't actually visited to....well, visit. They wouldn't even be able to tell that the sovereignty had been transferred.

阿牛 said...

Thanks for the great reply!

Boyd Jones said...

Of concern to me is that the Taiwanese people are not entirely willing to fight and die to defend the current Taiwan system. Whereas 99% of Mainlanders are willing to fight and die to take Taiwan back.

阿牛 said...

The only solution to this is to distribute more propaganda, guerrilla warfare manuals and encourage the government to distribute all guns possible if an invasion begins. But I think there are more militant people than one thinks from the Taipei point of view. Once you go south, people are a bit more serious.

channing said...

Things are different when the country you're facing is much more powerful and influential, and has a much larger military force.

It can't be compared to, say, if militants attacked the US. If China really wanted, it could completely overrun Taiwan, rendering any resistance utterly futile. Idealism dies hard, but practicality prevails when you know you don't stand a chance.

Ordinary Chinese citizens show contempt only for Taiwan's pro-green administration. Nobody there wants to kill civilians, so I normally don't worry too much about Taiwan being crushed.