Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Silver Bull Market Update - 7th Aug 20
This Inflation-Adjusted Silver Chart Tells An Interesting Story - 7th Aug 20
The Great American Housing Boom Has Begun - 7th Aug 20
NATURAL GAS BEGINS UPSIDE BREAKOUT MOVE - 7th Aug 20
Know About Lotteries With The Best Odds Of Winning - 7th Aug 20
Could Gold Price Reach $7,000 by 2030? - 6th Aug 20
Bananas for All! Keep Dancing… FOMC - 6th Aug 20
How to Do Bets During This Time - 6th Aug 20
How to develop your stock trading strategy - 6th Aug 20
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
ARE YOU LOVING YOUR SERVITUDE? - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Hong Kong’s Battle for Democracy, Beijing’s War Against It

Politics / Hong Kong Oct 02, 2014 - 09:16 PM GMT

By: Submissions

Politics

Ted Baumann writes: One spring day in 1988, I stood in a crowd of thousands of young people. Over us hovered helicopters; in front of us stood armed riot police. We sought democracy. The power of the state sought to deny it to us, with pepper spray, batons and rubber bullets. Unstoppable force met immovable object. Friction ensued, with all its heat and light. I can still perceive its imprint in my mind’s eye.

The first years of the 21st century have seen this drama repeated on every continent. Yugoslavia in 2000. Georgia in 2003. Ukraine in 2004. Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan, 2005. The Arab Spring of 2001. Venezuela in 2013.


And now the quest for democracy stages its script in Hong Kong, one of the world’s premier financial centers — which happens to be under the authority of a nominally Communist party. As I write, tens of thousands of people, young and old, confront the proxy might of Beijing in the form of the police forces of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. At midnight last night, the conflict escalated significantly, as protesters occupied government buildings.

Is Hong Kong’s prosperity in danger? If so, what is that danger? It isn’t what we have been led to believe …

My views on political liberty were shaped by the South African struggle against apartheid. Democracy was an uncontroversial notion then. Almost the entire world agreed that a racially-exclusive franchise was illegitimate and must be ended.

But there is no such agreement in respect of Hong Kong.

Western Import or Basic Human Right?

Hong Kong has never known democracy. In the wake of the First Opium War of 1839, the British Empire transformed a sleepy fishing village into an imperial entrepôt that served as a staging ground for its exploitation of the Chinese mainland. For the next 156 years, Hong Kong was governed as a British Crown Colony. Only in the 1980s did indigenous Hong Kongers obtain significant rights to political participation.

Since the territory’s transfer to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been governed under a Basic Law negotiated between Chinese Communists and British diplomats, with behind-the-scenes input from powerful financial interests. It provides for significantly greater democracy than the British ever allowed.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) is comprised of 40 representatives elected directly by the people and 30 elected by “functional” constituencies such as industrial, labor and finance associations. Candidates for Chief Executive are selected by an electoral college comprised of representatives of the functional constituencies. The final selection, however, is made by Beijing.

The current dispute pits Hong Kongers who want both the LegCo and the Chief Executive to be elected by direct universal suffrage, without interference from Beijing, against the Communist Party of China (CPC), which insists that it retain the right to make the final selection.

A Capitalist by Any Other Name

Many people instinctively see the events in Hong Kong as evidence of the anti-democratic nature of Communism. In this view, the CPC resists democracy because it sees itself as the vanguard of a revolutionary struggle that will one day wipe out capitalism and usher in a worker’s paradise.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

On August 28, Wang Zhenmin, an academic who advises the mainland government on Hong Kong issues, spoke to Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club. He was sent by Beijing in anticipation of the September 1 announcement by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee that the next chief executive of Hong Kong would be chosen by Beijing.

Wang’s message was unmistakable. Giving people in Hong Kong an unfettered choice in who they could vote for would impinge on the interests of the city’s richest residents, whom, he said:

Control the destiny of the economy in Hong Kong. If we just ignore their interests, the Hong Kong capitalism will stop. […] We must guarantee the continued development of capitalism in Hong Kong. […] Universal suffrage means the redistribution of economic interests among society’s members. We have to take care of every class. […] Especially those whose slice of pie will be shared by others upon the implementation of universal suffrage […] So we have to take full consideration of their concerns.

In other words, the Communist Party of China — heir to Mao Zedong’s glorious peasant revolution, architect of the Cultural Revolution, vanguard of the Chinese Proletariat — opposes true democracy in Hong Kong in order to protect the interests of Hong Kong’s capitalist elite.

Wang did not need to say that the interests of Hong Kong’s tycoons are identical to those in China itself. China has the highest number of billionaires in Asia — 122, second only to the U.S. Most of those achieved their status via connections to the CPC. Many are family members of leading CPC figures.

Names Matter …

Shakespeare wrote that “a rose by any other name, would still smell as sweet.” That has long been my guide to politics. Look beyond words; focus on actions and outcomes. Words like “communism” have power, but mainly over those who aren’t watching carefully to see what’s really happening.

Beijing is not “communist.” If anything they are watered-down fascists. Fascism combines totalitarianism, a single-party state, nationalism and a mixed economy. The ruling party is motivated by the desire for power and to harness capitalism’s power to create wealth. Like communism, fascism is inherently anti-democratic. Power must be retained by the Party, who knows best what’s good for the nation.

Selfish, unprincipled capitalists like fascism because it protects their short-term interests. As long as the CPC keeps the masses in thrall and allows Hong Kong and Chinese tycoons to get and stay rich, they will support Beijing’s stance on curbing democracy. If Beijing does crack down on Hong Kong, it will probably not harm their long-term interests, even if their short-term profits take a knock.

… And So Do Principles

This isn’t just speculation on my part. I’ve heard directly from wealthy individuals in Hong Kong who strongly oppose the pro-democracy forces and support Beijing unreservedly. They fear democracy much more than totalitarianism.

Let me be clear: I don’t think Hong Kong is in any danger of losing its status as Asia’s leading offshore banking, asset protection and stock-trading hub. It is far too valuable for Beijing to allow that to happen. Wealth remains safe there.

But as I was taught by my father, our own Bob Bauman, that wealth isn’t the only thing that should motivate us. Principles matter too, and equality before the law — including the right to participate in one’s own governance — are pretty powerful principles. We abandon them at our peril.

You can take that to the bank … in Hong Kong or anywhere else.

Kind regards,

Ted Baumann
Offshore and Asset Protection Editor

http://thesovereigninvestor.com
© 2014 Copyright  Ted Baumann - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules