U.S. editorial excerpts -3-.
Selected editorial excerpts from the U.S. press:
CHINA'S NEW MAN IN HONG KONG (The Wall Street Journal, New York)
In the minds of many Hong Kong residents, the handover to Chinese rule happened not in 1997, but last Sunday. That is when Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao swore in Leung Chun-ying as the third chief executive of the special administrative region. The entire ceremony was conducted in Mandarin Chinese, including Leung's inaugural speech -- symbolism not lost on the Cantonese-speaking population. Hu even staged a Beijing-style military parade.
Leung was selected in March by a committee of 1,200 of the territory's elite, but average Hong Kongers mistrust this mysterious man dubbed "the wolf" by the media. His history of serving on Beijing-appointed bodies from a relatively young age as well as his orthodox pro-China views leave no doubt that he is one of the party's most trusted allies.
Having a chief executive with the confidence of Beijing is not necessarily bad for Hong Kong -- as long as communication flows both ways.
Hong Kong's autonomy is supposed to be guaranteed under Deng Xiaoping's formula of "one country, two systems," but Leung consistently emphasizes "one country."
More worrying, Leung and his allies have limited tolerance for dissent. According to his rival for chief executive, during mass protests in 2003 he advocated the government calling out People's Liberation Army troops stationed in Hong Kong. Last year the Central Government Liaison Office launched jingoistic attacks on academics and journalists to intimidate dissident voices.
Leung does understand how to wage class warfare. He promises to control property prices and provide more public housing, and he advocates increased spending on social welfare programs, which will come out of Hong Kong's huge fiscal surplus and reserves. This could help him build political capital to push his vision for the electoral system after 2017.
While Beijing has committed to the election of the next chief executive by one person, one vote, the process of nominating candidates has yet to be determined. The Communist Party wants to ensure that the choice is among its loyalists. Local leftists suggest adapting the group that elected Leung into a nomination committee, with a high percentage of members needed to secure a spot on the ballot.
Leung will quickly find out that Hong Kong people will not stand for this kind of rigged system. Much as Beijing and Leung love one-party harmony, the public has fully embraced the nonviolent but contested nature of democratic politics. The sooner the new chief executive understands this, the more successful his term will be.
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|Publication:||Asian Political News|
|Date:||Jul 9, 2012|
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