Being the largest functional democracy, we the Indians are inadvertent stakeholders in the democratic affairs of our two neighbours, Pakistan and China, because an undemocratic dispensation is basically confrontational in nature and the situation worsens when there are contentious boundary and territory issues involved, like we have with Pakistan and China.
And without any hesitation, it can be said these two countries are blots on the spirit of democracy. One is an occasional pseudo-democracy while the other is a preserved sanctuary of autocracy.
While Pakistan is facing yet another political crisis threatening to uproot the democratically elected government of Nawaz Sharif with the Army occupying the central position, China has continued to crush the voices of democracy with officially saying no to the demand of freedom to elect the top executive of Hong Kong directly.
The barbarism in crushing the democratic spirit on the mainland has had no restraints. And though Hong Kong is a different case with ‘one country, two systems’ concept, the Chinese government is increasingly spreading its tentacles to the island in efforts to kill the autonomy of the city-state, a global economic powerhouse, still and Alpha+ world city.
The agreement when Britain handed over the control of Hong Kong to China 17 years ago gave the city an autonomous administration to run its local rule. Preserving the democratic spirit in the day-to-day life and a free and open culture developed under a progressive British rule during the period when Hong Kong became the economic powerhouse might have been the idea behind it. But the Chinese autocracy (more of an aristocracy now) was not going to be content with just managing the security and foreign affairs of the megacity. They look to exercise iron grip here.
The democratic spirit of Hong Kong has been observing events like the June 4 Tiananmen Vigil or the increasingly critical version of the annual Handover Day march on July 1 each year. Protesters march to show solidarity for the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre and speak for the cause of their sacrifice – demands of political reforms and democracy in China.
Though the 17 years of Beijing interference has left Hong Kong with a semi-authoritarian regime and the society is facing problems like rising inequality, the highest among the developed economies, it is still like a fairytale land when seen in the context of personal freedom and economic disparity on the mainland.
And in an age of information chaos and social media’s pervasive outreach, even the strictest monitoring and filtering by the state fail to stop the news from Hong Kong reaching to the mainland. ‘How it is in Hong Kong’ was a major reason behind the Wukan protests.
Chinese dictators have done all to make the Tiananmen Massacre a forgotten incident on the mainland, killing the voices, controlling the expressions of the Chinese people. And they would never like the news from Hong Kong, its pro-democracy voices and its support for Tiananmen reaching the mainland.
But the ‘comfortably capitalist’ socialist China is very much the part of the global economic system now. It cannot go outrageously insane on virgin issues anymore. Hong Kong is a jewel on the financial map of the world and any such act can prove costly enough to undo all what it has achieved so far. The capitalist dictators of the socialist China would never want that.
At the same time, they cannot allow the democratic spirit in Hong Kong to flourish and become more demanding. And they are doing it, meticulously and with consistency. The mainland is trying to crush the voices through changing systems and manipulating institutions with efforts to introduce cultural and education baggage from the mainland.
The administration is becoming increasingly authoritarian and is being managed by the mainland controlled people. The top Hong Kong leader is elected by a committee with largely pro-mainland members, something that the pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong are protesting. They are demanding the freedom to elect their leader directly.
Hong Kong has no universal suffrage. After much effort, to score points in the name of addressing the concerns of the residents of Hong Kong, the Chinese government has agreed to introduce the universal suffrage in 2017 when the city-state is slated to go to polls to elect its next leader, but only after adding enough of the riders that make it nothing more than a sham as the candidates to be chosen from would be China’s choice.
The pro-democracy protesters are demanding freedom from it. They are demanding the power to elect an independent candidate though this ‘universal suffrage’ and the official line taken by China yesterday denying the protesters and the residents of Hong Kong an ‘open election in 2017.
The protesters have warned to intensify their movement and they would certainly be banking on the brilliant turnouts earlier this year and a huge response to a poll by Occupy Central on ‘nominating the candidate directly’.
Yes, it is not going to change even slightly what the Chinese plans are and the move was expected as China, with its ongoing efforts, expects to manipulate the politically indifferent section of the Hong Kong population to use them to counter the pro-democracy voices, the official decoration of such decisions always carry the spark to reenergize the opinions.
A BBC report says: Democratic groups in Hong Kong have vowed to fight a Chinese government ruling that effectively gives China control over the candidates for the next leadership election. Angry democracy activists vowed to take over the Central business district. Co-founder of the Occupy Central protest group, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, said: “This is the end of any dialogue. In the next few weeks, Occupy Central will start wave after wave of action. We will organise a full-scale act of occupying Central.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/