Sunday, May 30, 2010

Swallow your poison now and you'll get ice cream later

The Hong Kong government's publicity walkabout yesterday and "Act now" promotional campaign for its constitutional reform package cannot disguise the essential hollowness of what the package contains.

The Functio0nal Constituencies lie at the heart of the lack of democracy in the present political system, unfairly giving certain selected groups a greater say in the makeup of the Legislative Council than ordinary voters, contrary to the democratic principle that everyone should have a free and equal say. Any proposal which seeks to increase the number of FCs is therefore poisoned from the start. However, the government's position asks the democratic parties to swallow this poison now in exchange for a vague promise of some more democratic system later.

The questions Audrey Eu should be asking Donald Tsang when they have their debate are:
  • Why should democrats accept a change which runs contrary to basic democratic principles?
  • Why is the government presenting this undemocratic move as a step - the only possible one, they claim - towards greater democracy?
  • Why is the government unable to come up with any reform proposal that reduces, rather than enlarges, the role of the FCs, and would therefore be acceptable to democrats as a transitional measure?
  • Given that it has twice presented poisoned proposals to LegCo, and on both occasions insisted that there is no alternative, is it really committed to democracy?
  • If not, why can't it just say so honestly, then we will all know where we stand?

Behind all this, of course, is the bigger question of Beijing's role in what's going on - but I don't think we're going to get open answers on that one.

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