22 December, 2005

hong kong democrats possibly pyrrhic victory

Gateway Pundit has a decent roundup of press coverage and photos on yesterday’s rejection of government ‘reforms’ by Hong Kong’s LegCo, but it is far too optimistic (be sure to read the comments).

it very much remains to be seen whether this can be called a ‘victory’ in the longer term, without requiring the addition of the adjective ‘pyrrhic.’ Simon has one of the better pieces of analysis.:

YanThe democrats will enjoy the headlines and kudos for the next few days. In the actual vote they played a smart political game and ran rings around the government and pro-Beijing forces. But what have they achieved? They’ve rejected a positive step forward towards universal suffrage for the longer term goal of a timetable. They have reduced the chances of eliminating appointed district councillors; they have rejected a chance to expand the electoral college that elects the Chief Executive in 2007; they’ve rejected an expansion in the Legco for 2008 that would likely benefit them and remove the functional constituency veto. Perversely, the democrats have voted to stymie democratic reform and played into Beijing’s hands. Beijing and The Don can now say they offered progress and were rejected. Beijing has won thanks to the democrats. This game makes for odd bedfellows.

In short, they’ve gone for a double or nothing strategy, but with nothing looking the more likely outcome. It highlights the short-termism that pervades the democrats in Hong Kong. It is all well and good to be a purist and hope for an instant transition to full democracy. But politics is the art of the possible and as such it involves compromise and messy reality, not high ideology. The lack of courage and leadership from the democrats is as lamentable as it was predictable.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong is the loser.

In a related note, it’s great to see Hemlock again be cited in Slate.

Photo lifted from Mooncake Productions, the commercial site of Glutter’s Yan Sham-Shackleton.

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by @ 3:24 pm. Filed under China, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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