An SCMP letter to the editor points out the absurdities of Beijing’s ‘improvements’ to the Hong Kong electoral system…
…for any aspiring pan-democrat to be able to stand, they will have to be nominated by an unelected committee comprised of their opponents
Out of the mouths of babes and innocents – an Executive Council and NPC member tells RTHK that the ‘improvements’ send Hong Kong’s supposed political development back to handover times.
A Bloomberg op-ed says Beijing is sacrificing credibility for control…
…it’s a shift from democratic theater – where process is restricted, but still occasionally unpredictable – to democratic ritual.
There’s no longer a pressure valve for a population … no feedback mechanism, a basic requirement even for a tin-eared administration … no need to even pretend to bring citizens along
… [it] will mean even less open debate, less transparency and a poorer understanding of the cost-benefit analyses that underpin government choices. Society is silenced and press freedoms reduced, so it is harder to shine a light on problems and corrupt practices. It’s worse if courts too are called into question.
This isn’t about just having a compliant legislature. The CCP is not planning to eradicate oversight and criticism of government merely from Hong Kong’s weak elected bodies. The NatSec Regime and ‘patriotism’ tests are aimed at suppressing opposing ideas in the city as a whole – in the media, universities and civil society. Authority is not to be questioned, unless you want to be arrested for ‘picking quarrels’ or subversion.
Since they are aimed at removing upward feedback or scrutiny, the ‘improvements’ will not be to the quality of governance. At some stage, popular anger will appear on the streets again, because there is nowhere else for it to go.
Why bother still having ‘elections’ in Hong Kong? Quartz offers some answers, including ‘competitive clientelism’ – encouraging the shoe-shiners to vie to display their willingness to grovel.