JULY 2008, NUMBER ELEVEN
PROSPECTS FOR HONG KONG’S DEMOCRATIZATION
By Larry Diamond
According to all political science measurements, Hong Kong is one of the world’s societies best qualified for full democracy, writes Larry Diamond of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University. But it won’t happen unless a suspicious Chinese government agrees, which means the territory’s pan-democrats, government officials, Beijing sympathizers and the business community must reach pragmatic compromises before universal suffrage can be introduced.
By Tsang Yok Sing
The largest pro-Beijing political party in Hong Kong—the Democratic Alliance for the Better and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB)—has a clear goal: to win a ruling majority and form a government, according to Tsang Yok Sing, the party’s founding chairman and currently an elected member of the local legislature. He argues that being aligned with the mainland government does not make the DAB anti-democratic, and no longer is “the kiss of death” when seeking support at the ballot box.
By Suzanne Pepper
Beijing’s “one country, two systems” policy toward Hong Kong in theory offers a way to resolve its long-running problems in Tibet, writes Suzanne Pepper, an American writer and longtime resident of Hong Kong. But China has considered and rejected that approach several times in past years, and may in fact see its practice in Hong Kong as merely a way stop on the road to fully integrating the former British colony into the mainland.
By Fred Armentrout
Those in Hong Kong who worry about their city being marginalized as China and Guangdong Province, in particular, implement the nation’s latest economic program have good reason to be concerned, according to Fred Armentrout, a Hong Kong-based writer who is now director of communications for the American Chamber of Commerce there. He finds that mainland companies are replacing Hong Kong rivals in key business areas, and that neither the Hong Kong government nor public are working out what economic strengths to emphasize in the years ahead.
By Robert Keatley
As the pan-democratic parties look ahead to this September’s legislative elections, a degree of despondency seems to have taken hold. Some party leaders worry is they can elect the blocking third (21 seats) they need to have effective leverage as the government drafts plans to expand the electorate moderately for the 2012 voting, and for possible universal suffrage balloting in 2017 and 2020. Meantime, there are worries about just how long the economic good times will last.