1-minute knowledge: What’s going on in Hong Kong?

 

The spark that ignited the revolt is: they cannot democratically elect their Chief Executive.

Hong Kong is a bit of a paradox. It is communist democracy. Although the country technically is China, but the motherland allows HK to run it the way they want…almost.

The “Chief Executive” is the equivalent of a President or Prime Minister. The Chief Executive replaces the British Governor when the Brits left in 1997.

Here’s the drama – the Chief Executive cannot be elected by the people of Hong Kong. You have to be nominated by a board with “close ties to Beijing”. And the final choice is not selected by the general population. It is selected by a small committee of 1200 (rich and influential) people. In short, it is “stage managed democracy”.

Of course, when a couple quarrels over the toilet seat, it is not the alleged seat that is the cause of a bitter quarrel. Anger had been brewing over many issues. The problems in Hong Kong are complex.Tycoons have a grip on the country, people live in pigeon hole houses. There’s the love-hate relationship with China, and how legislation is passed. Since 1997, there have been broken promises and broken hearts.

Although China promised open elections for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, in 2004 it reinterpreted the Basic Law to mean that Hong Kong could not initiate political reform without its prior approval. In 2007 it ruled out elections for 2012.

Hong Kong people are pragmatic people. No one wants to disrupt a peaceful country and erupt into demonstrations, risking violence, Chinese sanctions and their very livelihood.

They must feel there is a serious need to do so.

Oh, a significant point of interest…is that Hong Kong also didn’t get to elect their British Governor in the past either.

 

 

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About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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