Emulating Hong Kong would best suit China
By Paul Lin 林保華   Taipei Times  2012.11.10 

The appearance of so-called “dragon and lion”

flags, derived from the one used when Hong Kong was

a British colony, on protest marches has provoked an

angry reaction from a retired official of the Hong

Kong and Macao Affairs Office (HMO) of China’s

State Council.

The incident came to a head when the South China

Morning Post received an e-mail from former HMO

director Lu Ping (魯平), in which he said that Hong

Kongers who did not think of themselves as Chinese

should consider renouncing their Chinese

citizenship. Lu said that China has a population of

1.3 billion, so would not mind losing such a tiny

handful of people.

Five years ago a Chinese Web site’s opinion poll

showed 65 percent of respondents saying that they

would not want to be reincarnated as Chinese. Now Lu

has permited Hong Kongers not to be Chinese anymore

in this life.

Some Hong Kongers are glad to hear this, and have

embarrassed the authorities by calling on them to

set up special desks for them to renounce their

Chinese citizenship. Rita Fan (范徐麗泰), a delegate

to China’s National People’s Congress, interceded

by saying that some officials’ reactions may have

been excessive and that she hoped that Hong Kongers

would not react angrily.

Lu is 85 years old. His retirement in 1997 was a

loss for China. It would have been better if he had

gone on to serve as general secretary of the Chinese

Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Committee and

president of China. Considering his enlightened

attitude of agreeing that Hong Kongers could

renounce Chinese citizenship, I would be willing to

kowtow to Lu, because from that point on Taiwan

would also be able to move toward becoming a normal,

sovereign democratic country.

CCP sympathizers in Hong Kong have recently attacked

its judicial independence, even calling for Hong

Kong’s judiciary to submit to the central

authorities.

Kemal Bokhary, used his retirement from being one of

the three permanent judges of Hong Kong’s Court of

Final Appeal to warn of the approach of “a storm of

unprecedented ferocity.”

An editorial in Tuesday’s Chinese-language Hong

Kong daily Ming Pao (明報) said some Chinese

jurisprudence experts suggest reorganizing the Court

of Final Appeal and the Basic Law Promotion Steering

Committee and tearing up the Sino-British Joint

Declaration by demanding that all Court of Final

Appeal judges must be Chinese citizens.

Being all too familiar with the Chinese way of doing

things, even the thoroughly pro-unification Ming Pao

had to comment that “if the storm that Bokhary

talked about is already looming, the task of

upholding Hong Kong’s core values will enter a new

stage.”

This shows how vital a civilized judiciary is for

Hong Kong.

The CCP sees the Opium Wars as a humiliation for

China, but some Chinese question the way the wars

have been denigrated by their opium connection. If

the wars had not pushed open China’s gates, they

say, there would have been no Self-Strengthening

Movement, with its acceptance of Western

civilization. One result of the Boxer Rebellion was

that five southeastern provinces of China, plus the

eastern province of Shandong, ignored orders to take

up arms against the invaders, leaving the Qing

Dynasty to its fate. These provinces came to be

China’s most open-minded and economically developed

areas.

Chinese culture can explain only the past, not the

present. The best thing for Chinese would be for all

of China to become like Hong Kong. Unfortunately the

CCP’s opposition to Westernization, especially

since the 1989 democracy movement, has caused human

rights to retreat and corruption to flourish. If

China really wants to reform, it must accept the

civilized values of the West. If it does not, all

talk of reform is meaningless.

By Paul Lin 林保華
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Julian Clegg

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