If China’s leadership studies and respects Hong Kong public opinion on political reform, it will bring prosperity to the people of Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan, and to the Communist Party, and ‘will make everybody truly happy’. So says dissident Bao Tong.
His reading of Hong Kong’s rejection of Beijing’s ‘fake democracy’ model is compelling because he was the right-hand man on political reform for Zhao Ziyang, the Premier banished to life under house arrest after trying to avert the Tiananmen massacre of 1989.
He states that the Legislative Council’s 28-8 rejection of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s August 31 edict was a domestic setback to the Communist Party unprecedented since 1949. His logic here is that the NPCSC decision was, under the PRC constitution, absolutely legal and authoritative; and Legco’s vote, the body being quorate and in accordance with procedure, also has ‘incontrovertible legal effect’.
The NPCSC was overruled. The NPC is a rubber stamp for the politburo leadership, so let’s rephrase that. A bunch of (mostly) popularly elected politicians in Hong Kong overruled the supreme and sole source of power in the one-party state. In accordance with the law. It should not be able to happen. Yet it did.
To Bao, under house arrest and looking on from afar, this is momentous. Are our pro-democrats themselves (or local officials, pro-establishment types and others wrapped up in their Hong Kong-centric world) aware of what they did? Or maybe Bao is cut off and overestimates the impact and unresolvable-ness of the NPC-Legco contradiction.
If it’s the former, we really haven’t heard the last of this. Meanwhile, Apple Daily reports that Liaison Office director Zhang Xiaoming is in for the chop – for what that’s worth.
(A couple of points on the article. 1. Bao refers to an ‘elite … used to being the only show in town’. He means the ruling class in Beijing – now perhaps humiliated in the eyes of their own people after running into the Hong Kong ‘obstacle’. Hong Kong’s own ‘elite’ are dependents. 2. The translation says that under the fake-democracy model, you could vote for ‘Zhang’ but not for ‘Zhang’; this is either a typo or Bao is using two different names (張, 章) both rendered ‘Zhang’.)