The smart thing to do when you are not popularly elected, mocked by your own people, and embroiled in a corruption scandal is to openly declare that you won’t compromise in a parley with those camping in your city’s streets for the past three weeks. Right.
For the second time since the Occupy Central demonstration started on Sept. 28, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says that his government is amenable to holding a dialogue with pro-democracy protesters on the issue of universal suffrage.
Having a two-way conversation is always a good idea, but in the present political climate, the condition set by Leung, i.e. that universal suffrage is the only topic up for discussion, means that the “dialogue” is going to be a one-way street.
Here’s what Leung is actually saying in his latest press conference:
1) “Restoring law and order in Hong Kong”
At the start of the press conference, Leung declared: “We have seen positive results of police actions in clearing roadblocks erected by people who occupy various thoroughfares and roads and streets in Hong Kong.”
In light of police using excessive violence in clearing barricades and protesters, Leung’s glowing assessment of Hong Kong’s finest is really a hard, chilling warning to protesters: If you don’t back down, we are going to get you.
Leung’s statement also means that the proposed talks are not so much a “dialogue” as an offer to call off the police if the protesters will act nice.
2) “And if we don’t do it in 2017, we could try to do it in 2022”
On the surface, Leung is claiming that while Hong Kong’s Basic Law has no provisions for electing the Chief Executive by universal suffrage, the pro-democracy supporters have reason to hope that things may change in the 2022 Hong Kong Chief Executive elections.
However, there’s nothing to stop the Chinese Communist Party from back tracking again in 2022 like they did this year on Aug. 31 by confirming that there will be no universal suffrage for the 2017 elections.
In fact, with the June 10 white paper stating that Hong Kong’s autonomy is limited by what Beijing grants it, the CCP show that they are willing to flout the conditions set out in the Joint Sino-British Declaration that Hong Kong remain a true autonomous region until 2047.
In short, if there’s no democratic elections in 2017, Hong Kong will likely never see democratic elections, something that the pro-democracy protesters have already recognized.
3) “The most constructive thing that the Hong Kong Government can offer the students is to sit down and listen to the students what we can do together within the framework decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.”
There is absolutely nothing “constructive” about Leung’s statement.
Essentially, Leung is saying that Beijing is the boss (or rather, his boss), and he won’t compromise whatsoever with the student and citizens partaking in the Umbrella Movement if the Chinese government is adamant that the status quo be kept in Hong Kong.
Of course, the pro-democracy protesters will see through Leung’s latest farce, but it remains to be seen if they proceed to the “negotiation” tables willingly, or might be forced to do so if Leung persists in carrying out his current methods of “restoring law and order to Hong Kong.”