Hong Kong Protests their New Unelected Beijing-Approved Leader

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 1st, 2012

Week in Review

The British returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997.  After more than a glorious century of British colonial rule.  And even though the people in Hong Kong were a colony of a distant power it turns out they were on the winning side of that deal.  For Hong Kong prospered while China got Chairman Mao.  Today the people of Hong Kong are proud of their British colonial past.  And much prefer it to the present Chinese communist rule (see Hong Kong holds big protest as new leader sworn in by the Associated Press posted 7/1/2012 on the Los Angeles Times).

The outpouring of discontent underscored rising tensions between the Communist mainland and the vibrant city of 7 million that was returned to China in 1997 after more than a century of British colonial rule. While much of the discontent revolves around growing economic inequality and stunted democratic development, Hong Kongers are also upset over what they see as arrogant Chinese behavior – wealthy mainlanders taking over retail outlets during flashy Hong Kong shopping trips, for example, or even the choice of language during Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony, Beijing-accented Mandarin instead of the Cantonese dialect spoken locally…

Leung was chosen as chief executive in March, winning 689 votes from a 1,200-seat committee of business elites who mostly voted according to Beijing’s wishes. Hong Kong’s 3.4 million registered voters, who can vote for neighborhood councilors and half of all lawmakers, had no say.

In mid-afternoon, tens of thousands of protesters began marching toward the newly built government headquarters complex on Hong Kong Island in sweltering heat, beating drums and waving British colonial flags in a gesture of nostalgia for an era during which democratic rights were limited but the rule of law was firmly in place…

In his speech, Hu said Hong Kong residents now have more democratic rights and freedoms than ever before – a reminder that China has largely kept the promise it made when it regained the territory from Britain to keep Hong Kong’s relatively open political system in place for 50 years.

But that did little to assuage the feelings of the protesters, who see China’sCommunist Party rule as strongly at odds with the values that many inherited from a British-influenced education, and the continuing spread of democracy to Asian neighbors like South Korea and Chinese-speaking Taiwan.

Yes, it was the British Empire that made Hong Kong the jewel it is.  Not the Chinese communists.  It was the British institutions of democracy, rule of law, free market capitalism and free trade that made Hong Kong the destination for the wealthy Chinese mainlanders when they really want to enjoy life.  And even though the Chinese suffered under British colonial rule today the best part of China would appear to be Hong Kong.  And in Hong Kong people wave British colonial flags in protest of Chinese rule.  Imagine that.

China has a long history.  Most of it remarkable.  But it reached a nadir under Chairman Mao and his People’s Republic of China.  And the spread of the deadliest contagion known to mankind.  Communism.  For as an ideology nothing killed more people.  And while China was suffering the great famines of the Great Leap Forward there was Hong Kong across the water.  Prosperous as ever.  An embarrassment to the communist rulers.  China is a lot better today.  As they let capitalism flourish.  Albeit under the heavy hand of the state.  But it’s one of the BRICS economies.  And may soon be the number one economy in the world.  But it’s still not quite Hong Kong.

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