【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.


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。






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