The willingness of China’s leaders to leave Hong Kong alone this past 17 years has been remarkable. China is, after all, a one-party state run by control-freak apparatchiks.
The great anomaly noted by those Heritage reports has been wearing down the ChiComs” restraint, though. Like the scorpion in Aesop, they can”t be other than what they are. The Party bosses have been signaling that they want Hong Kong to be more … Chinese.
The nearest thing Hong Kong has to a constitution is the Basic Law that took effect at the handover from Britain in 1997. Article 45 of that law says:
The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
The rulers in Beijing made it plain in a ruling this August that “broadly representative” means “approved by the Communist Party.” That has brought thousands of young protestors out on the streets of Hong Kong, and that’s what you”ve been seeing on your TV news, after the segments on George Clooney’s wedding and the latest flare-up of race hysteria.
How will it end? In tears, of course. Oriental despotism has no room for Anglo-Saxon liberties, any more than it had for the republican vitality of medieval Italian city-states. We”ve been here before: I wrote a novel about it.
I just hope that Hong Kong, six hundred years on, will at least have a decent soccer team.
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