CCP grapples with contradictions

The story so far… After years of delays and excuses, central and regional authorities are finally attempting to address popular demand for representative government in Hong Kong. To accommodate such reform within a Communist one-party system, officials have devised a tightly controlled electoral process under which Beijing would choose the candidates. Ironically, parliamentary rules originally designed to curb the independence of the city’s legislature give pro-democracy politicians the power to veto the reforms. The local administration is hoping to pressure moderate pro-dems by getting public opinion behind the proposal.

More than a stalemate, the current situation defies logic. The government is claiming the moral force of popular opinion to endorse and justify a political structure designed to negate the popular will. To bolster their case, officials have hinted at holding a public opinion survey that would prove popular support for the reform package. But they are clearly aware of the fundamental paradox. If you’re prepared to have an opinion poll, why not hold a full formal referendum to decide the matter beyond any doubt?


Academic and pollster Robert Chung poses this question. The government rejects it.

Logically, it must. To use the principle and method of representative government as a way of denying representative government is absurd. Forget turkeys voting for Christmas: this is turkeys voting not to have a vote.

The ironies pile up. Frustratingly to local officials, a referendum would probably work: one way or another, a 60% ‘yes’ vote would be feasible. Since the government can’t admit that the whole idea is to avoid proper democracy as incompatible with totalitarianism, it uses the only pitiful excuse it can find – the Hong Kong Basic Law does not allow for referendums. It doesn’t ‘allow for’ cupcakes, or idiotic policymaking, either, but no matter.

To be a Communist dictator is to be a glutton for ‘contradictions’. If Robert Chung is being Ind-ChinaOrdersslightly mischievous in proposing a simple act of direct democracy, what is the Dalai Lama doing in announcing that he will not be reincarnated? China’s leaders, brought up to be atheist and to see Tibetan Buddhism as feudal, are left denouncing the world’s favourite nice old guy as a blasphemer and insisting that he will indeed have another life. I declare the weekend open with the thought that even the most megalomaniac cadre never dreamed the Party would or could take ‘playing God’ to such astral levels.

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12 Responses to CCP grapples with contradictions

  1. Stephen says:

    It would be good to think a nice unifying figure would appear – almost like Donald was for a nanosecond in 2005 (he wasn’t Tung) – Don’t see the person ? To be honest neither do I ! So what next ? CY and the Pan Dem’s point fingers at each other ad infinitum, whilst Carrie pines for England ? Probably. Perhaps a little bit of honesty and realpolitik for a change. Hong Kong was never supposed to have real democracy, so move along and get over it? We all know the CCP is ludicrous – it’s Dalai Lama pronouncements are both hilarious and sad – but it’s not going yet and I fear not without a fight.

    However how about good governance for HK where government understands that 99% of the population are not tycoons? Lots to do – Property, Visitors, Retirement, Air, Medical … Who knows, do it well and we just forget about democracy in much the same way as Singapore may forget about the more inane policies, based on his prejudices, of an old man, currently lying in hospital drawing his last breaths.

    Or is it time to get the feck out of Dodge … ?

  2. PD says:

    Short but sweet.

    If a referendum was as loaded as the Basic Law Institute’s survey questions, it would reach the high 90s.

  3. Bystander says:

    Letter to Alex Lo in response to his Friday 13th column.

    Dear God Alex,

    Re: Friday 13th column (March 13, 2015)

    You are reduced to name calling and you get to decide when a person’s time is up? (Martin Lee “has-been”.) Heaven forfend.

    What happened to Confucian respect, or is that a card that only gets played when it suits.

    Give Martin Lee his due – he took part in all these boring Basic Flaw meetings in the 90s when he must have wondered what he got himself into. Assuming the communists had the intention of following the BL then, surprise surprise they don’t like it now. That is the nature of the communist beast, I suppose.

    Your page 2 column has come to resemble the former page 3 of the Sun (or the current page 3, I am not sure) – we’ve seen it all before.

    Time for you to hang up your quill, Alex; you are the person whose time is well past. Thank God (the real one) that I don’t pay your salary.

    I’ll send a copy of this to [email protected] to be published under NAME and ADDRESS SUPPLIED. However, I understand your organ, in a fit of trailblazing freedom-seeking, with a nod from a tycoon, has abolished that category.

    PS: You have also in your column in your rag, downplayed the role of Britain as signatory of the Joint Agreement. Think again, if you do not want to be peddling nonsense as a mere propagandist – take a look at Alvin Cheung’s article “Lone Fight” in today’s SCMP. Overall, I can only conclude that ‘control’ is your cup of tea.

  4. Big Al says:

    What we need is a referendum as to whether to hold a referendum and let the administration fight its way out of that twisted logic …

  5. Bystander says:

    Here is Alex Lo’s considered, mature response :

    tx for your kind note. sun’s page 3 – don’t they run the nude girls pix there? i of course would not object, though perhaps you prefer boys pix.


    Our SCMP “opinion” correspondent’s considered, mature response. Heaven help us all. Feck out of Dodge, indeed. Do we need to stoop to 12-year-old “you’re a fag” comments?

    As s friend said, this ad hominem/ad puerum approach bespeaks a dearth of rhetorical fecundity.

  6. Hobo says:

    that email and your initial one should be sent to every other newspaper and the news channels one will quite likely pick up on it, not only is it mature, it is also homophobic, and it would be a surprise if the SCMP would be willing to condone the response, at least officially, and the chances are they can re-position Mr Lo so we get an equally biased discriminatory mouth piece in in place.

  7. LRE says:

    Alex Lo’s column isn’t like Page 3 at all, at all. Its only got one tit on show.

  8. Scotty Dotty says:

    It’s a shame a referendum won’t happen because the shenanigans from Beijing would be superb entertainment.

    After Beijing had re-re-re-worded a referendum “in accordance with the Basic Law and the principle of One Country Is More Important Than Two Systems” it would be something like:

  9. Scotty Dotty says:

    “Do you think Hong Kong should sacrifice it’s prosperity for unproven new leaders elected by non-Chinese and racially impure techniques which elected Hitler and caused the decline of Britain?”

    Vote Yes or No. “

  10. Bystander says:

    Letter to [email protected], Mr Lee, March 14, 2015

    Dear Mr Lee,

    Here is your esteemed columnist’s erudite response to my email of March 13, followed by my response to you :

    tx for your kind note. sun’s page 3 – don’t they run the nude girls pix there? i of course would not object, though perhaps you prefer boys pix.

    alex (Alex LO)

    It is always interesting to get the erudite opinions of your columnists. Still, your advertising revenues have always been very good and I suppose the money thing is the cardinal feature of all Hong Kong living, and keeping the money where it is currently. And I suppose there is a supply of malleable erudite columnists to do the bidding of the owner, tycoons, friends of tycoons. (Not to say there aren’t some good columnists though, probably freelance.)

    What a rag your organ has become !

    Perhaps a referral to the Press Complaints Council is in order and to international journalists organisations concerned with freedom of the press.

    When is your organ bringing back the NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED category for letters to the SCMP ? Are we entitled to a Prague spring ? Or is Stalinism the order of the day ?

  11. dimuendo says:

    To Bystander

    Why you so keen on anonymity? (yes I am aware of the irony). I have written to the SCMP in the past and they have someties published my letters, with my name as supplied.

    I am not keen on Alex Ho and my one (of many intended) missive to him was replied to shortly, not addressing the point, but not impolitely. The SCMP has quite a lot of strongly opinionated regualr columnists (eg HO, Jame van der Kamp etc) but at elas they write under their own names.

    While I appreciate there is a role for anonymity what is there about your letters, particularly the first one to Ho, that merits such?

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