【英语中国】FT社评:香港政改应有妥协空间 Leader_One person, one vote, two systems

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2014-7-2 07:20

小艾摘要: Hong Kong is facing its most serious political crisis since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. At issue is what kind of electoral system the “special administrative region” sho ...
Leader_One person, one vote, two systems
Hong Kong is facing its most serious political crisis since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. At issue is what kind of electoral system the “special administrative region” should have for the 2017 election of chief executive, the equivalent of mayor.

Under the so-called Basic Law, the city’s “mini-constitution”, Beijing has agreed that Hongkongers should be able to elect their leader by universal suffrage. But its idea of what that means differs substantially from what many in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement aspire to. It has ruled out popular nomination of candidates, all of whom must be screened by a nomination committee. It also says only candidates who “love China” should be eligible, a stipulation widely interpreted as meaning allegiance to the Communist party.

Over the past 10 days nearly 800,000 people, in a city of just over 7m, have taken part in a “referendum” on the type of democracy Hong Kong should implement. Voters chose between three proposals, each of which would allow some form of public nomination process. Beijing has reacted angrily. It called the exercise “illegal and invalid”, an odd thing to say about a process that claimed no legal status. This week, Hongkongers showed their displeasure by turning out in huge numbers for the annual July 1 pro-democracy demonstration. Occupy Central, a pro-democracy group, has pledged to bring the central district to a standstill if electoral proposals fail to meet what it calls international standards.

Everyone has overreacted. A former senior Communist party official chillingly warned that the People’s Liberation Army could be deployed if protests escalated. Days before the referendum the central government spelt out the limits of Hong Kong’s autonomy, saying that “one country, two systems” was not a right but a privilege granted by Beijing. Even the Big Four accounting firms took out a foolish advertisement saying they were opposed to the democracy movement because of its potential to destabilise business. They have no business meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.

Beijing’s heavy-handed approach shows signs of backfiring. First, it has stirred up opposition among Hong Kong moderates. Many who understand the limits of autonomy are nevertheless angered that it has been spelt out so brutally. Even barristers marched last week to express their concern that judicial independence was under threat. Second, Beijing’s insistence that it calls the shots in Hong Kong is not likely to go unnoticed in Taiwan, where many will draw the conclusion that it is dangerous to edge closer towards China. Finally, Beijing’s threats to crack down on Occupy Central are wholly unnecessary. Hong Kong has a strong tradition of peaceful protests and responsible policing.

Most Hongkongers accept the reality that Beijing is not going to allow full voter sovereignty on any part of its territory. They do, however, want a big advance on the present system in which the city’s leader is elected by a 1,200-strong committee of mostly pro-Beijing and pro-business members. It is here that some sort of compromise may be feasible. The Hong Kong government should propose expanding the committee as widely as possible such that it is properly representative of the electorate.

At stake is more than just the meaning of universal suffrage. What many in Hong Kong fear is that the freedoms they have grown used to – freedom to protest, freedom of speech and equality before the law – are being steadily eroded. It is not just a matter of what is right. Without those freedoms, Hong Kong’s role as an offshore financial centre and a vibrant hub for trade and investment would be jeopardised. If such freedoms were indeed to be threatened, it would be a tragedy for Hong Kong – and ultimately for China itself.

香港这个前英国殖民地正面临自1997年回归中国以来最严重的政治危机。焦点问题是,这个“特别行政区”在2017年应当实行什么样的选举制度,来选举产生相当于市长的行政长官?

根据香港的“小宪法”,即所谓的《基本法》(Basic Law),北京方面同意让香港市民通过普选选出自己的领导人。但是,对于这究竟意味着什么,北京方面的想法与香港许多民主派人士的憧憬相差甚远。中国中央政府已排除了公民提名候选人的做法,所有候选人都必须由一个提名委员会进行筛选。北京方面还称,只有“爱国”的候选人才有资格,这个规定被普遍解读为效忠中国共产党。

过去10天里,在总人口700万多一点的香港,有近80万人参加了一场关于香港应实施何种民主的“公投”。选民们在三个提议之间进行选择,每个提议都允许某种形式的公民提名过程。北京方面作出了愤怒的反应,称此举“非法和无效”;对于一个从未要求获得法律地位的过程来说,这个评判有点奇怪。本周,香港人表达了自己的不满,大量市民参加了7月1日的年度民主示威。民主团体“占领中环”(Occupy Central,简称“占中”)誓言,如果香港政府拿出的选举方案达不到该团体所称的国际标准,就将让香港的中央商务区陷入瘫痪。

各方都有点反应过度。中共一位前高官令人不寒而栗地警告称,如果抗议活动升级,可能会部署人民解放军。就在此次公投的数天前,中国中央政府挑明了香港高度自治的限度,称“一个国家,两种制度”不是一种权利,而是北京方面授予的一种特权。就连“四大”会计师事务所也投放了一个愚蠢的广告,称它们反对这一民主运动,因为它可能破坏商业稳定。“四大”本不应插手香港的事务。

北京方面的高压姿态显示出事与愿违的迹象。首先,它激起了香港温和派人士的反对情绪。许多人本来也理解自治的限度,但还是被如此生硬的表述激怒了。上周就连出庭律师也举行了游行,以表达他们对司法独立受到威胁的担忧。其次,坚称香港事务要由北京方面作主,这一点不太可能被台湾人士错过,许多台湾人将得出结论认为,与中国走得太近是危险的。最后,北京方面威胁要镇压“占中”是根本没有必要的。香港有和平抗议和负责任警务实践的强大传统。

大多数香港人接受现实,知道北京方面不会允许在任何中国领土完全让选民作主。然而,他们确实希望在现行制度的基础上向前迈出一大步。现行制度下,香港领导人是由一个1200人的委员会推选出来的,这些委员多数是亲北京和亲商界人士。正是在这一点上,达成某种形式的妥协也许是可行的。香港政府应当提议扩大提名委员会,使其尽可能广泛而妥善地代表选民。

这一切不仅仅关系到普选的涵义。香港很多人担心的是,他们已经习以为常的种种自由——示威自由、言论自由以及法律面前人人平等——正不断受到削弱。这已不仅仅是什么是对什么是错的问题。没有这些自由,香港作为一个离岸金融中心和一个充满活力的贸易及投资枢纽的角色将受到损害。如果这些自由真的受到威胁,那将是香港的悲剧,最终也将是中国的悲剧。

译者/何黎

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