Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains

The Hong Kong government's report on the consultation on political reform has been out for less than 24 hours, but already I don't like it.  A hundred pages of barely readable blah blah blah minutely depicting which party said what about what (playing up the contributions the government likes), then a conclusion that "mainstream opinion" follows the government line (i.e. shut up and accept whatever crumbs of democracy Beijing graciously condescends to throw under the table for us).

Mainstream: "the ideas, attitudes, or activities that are regarded as normal or conventional", says one dictionary – as if anything in Hong Kong these days can be corralled into that description.  It certainly doesn't belong in a report of this nature.  If half the population thinks black, and half thinks white, does that mean mainstream opinion is grey?

Nowhere is the government brave enough to say what majority opinion thinks – perhaps because there isn't one.  What we have is a population split between two philosophies of the world: the truth that humans are born with certain innate rights to self-determination, and the big lie that they are only entitled to as much freedom as the government chooses to give them.  The entire apparatus of Chinese rule is devoted to propagating this lie.  So, alas, is that of the Hong Kong government.

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