China and Hong Kong Democracy: A Fragile Balance that is Untenable if Challenged

China and Hong Kong Democracy: A Fragile Balance that is Untenable if Challenged

Shuchun Zhang, Noriko Watanabe, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The Chinese Communist Party in China (CCP) and forces of genuine democracy in Hong Kong will continue to clash because both sides are a million miles apart. On top of this, the CCP can’t give full sovereignty within the body politic of Hong Kong because issues involving foreign policy, internal politics, independence, and other important issues, would unravel on Mainland China. Similarly, true democracy in Hong Kong is impossible if acknowledging the power and control mechanisms of the CCP.

This reality means that a perennial status quo under the current prevailing political conditions is obtainable providing neither side seeks to push the other into a corner. Yet, the current leader of China, Xi Jinping, is focused on power concentration within the CCP to a higher extent than Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) who set in motions of greater liberalization. Therefore, with independent democratic forces growing inside Hong Kong – and with Xi Jinping seeking greater power control mechanisms – then the fine balance is being challenged.

Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching, elected leaders in Hong Kong who are pro-independence, are challenging the status quo. In turn, if China enforces more measures to trample down on democracy then divisions will grow further apart. However, unlike the pro-independence movement, the aces still remain in the court of Beijing. This is based on compliant political leaders in Hong Kong who prefer the status quo – rather than unleashing mass confrontation.

Not surprisingly, China stepped in when Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching refused to pledge a rubber stamp allegiance to the one-party-state of the CCP. Indeed, how can individuals who support true democracy – then pledge allegiance to the authority of the CCP – do this without making an enormous compromise?

The BBC says, “Hong Kong is semi-autonomous under the “one country, two systems” framework in place since it was returned to China in 1997… But its mini constitution, the Basic Law, states Beijing still has the final say in how to interpret its laws.”

Menacingly, a top spokesperson in the legislative panel in China, Deputy Secretary Li Fei, said, “no obscurity and no leniency” will be provided by China.

He further gave a veiled warning to pro-independent individuals by stating that a “firm and clear attitude towards containing and striking the Hong Kong independence forces” will be put in place.


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