THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Under British rule, Hong Kong’s public had no say in political appointment and the Governor, who was Commander in Chief of military forces, could do anything short of sentencing people to death. Wiretaps didn’t require warrants; when police denied demonstration permits the courts could only review their paperwork; the legislature was a rubber stamp and there was no political opposition. Under Communist “oppression”, the courts review police decisions for reasonableness, citizens elect their legislators, the government has a political opposition, and the Chief Executive can neither declare martial law nor call out the military. Some things haven’t changed, however: it is still illegal in Hong Kong to join the Communist Party of China.
Some aspects of contemporary Hong Kong missing from our media’s coverage:
- As long as it controlled access to China’s gigantic market, Hong Kong flourished. Capitalism, Democracy, and British Justice had nothing to do with it.
- Had Hong Kong joined the mainland in 1997 its prosperity would have been assured.
- Before the handover the UK introduced electoral democracy, the poisoned chalice that ended the Colony’s hopes for development.
- When the Asian Financial Crisis crashed real estate markets Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa created the ‘85,000 Housing Development Project’ to build affordable homes and diversify the economy by building the Hong Kong Science Park and increasing investment in commerce, education, industry and tourism.
- Once the affordable housing units came onto the market the bourgeoisie opposed them because they affected real estate prices, the legislation voted with the bourgeoisie and the youth demonstrated in their support. Tung was vilified and thrown out.
- After they killed 224 people in the post-Tiananmen riots in 1989 French Intelligence, Britain’s MI6 and the CIA smuggled 600 agents out through Hong Kong to Western countries. The PRC arrested three Hong Kong-based activists but released them after intervention by the Hong Kong government.
- When China joined the WTO in 2001, trade bypassed Hong Kong, stagnation set in and the city’s best and brightest joined Taiwanese seeking a better life on the mainland.
- Hong Kong’s profile now resembles Britain’s: 23% of its children live in poverty– compared to the mainland’s 1%.
- Home ownership–a marriage prerequisite–fell from 53% in 2010 to 49% in 2018– compared to 78% on the mainland.
- Hong Kong trails only London and New York for the largest concentration of individuals worth more than $30 million.
- Hong Kong’s ten richest citizens account for 35% of its GDP.
- Hong Kong’s household GINI is 0.539, Singapore’s is 0.458 in 2016, America’s is 0.394 and the UK’s is 0.358. (0=equality).
- Rent for an HK ‘coffin apartment’ is HK$2,000/mo.
Hong Kong’s woes illustrate capitalism’s familiar shortcomings: wealth accumulation has far outstripped the development of productive forces and the vast majority of citizens have no way to share its benefits. A large rentier class owns most of the city’s social resources, the same contradiction–between capital accumulation and society’s desire to live a dignified life–we confront in the US.
What do Hongkongers really need? Economic growth, employment opportunities and better housing, tasks the mainland has already accomplished. If they want a bright future Hong Kongers need to work together harder and bring their education standards up to the mainland’s. Their youth must develop a clear understanding of their true friends and real enemies.
THE PROTEST PUZZLE
The protests are interesting for several reasons:
- They’re directed at Beijing, which does even have an extradition treaty with HK and has never requested one.
- They’re timed (probably by the NED) to coincide with the anniversary of the handover.
- They ignore the financial institutions and capitalists blocking legislative change.
- Western media cover them sympathetically, almost hysterically, while ignoring real protests in Gaza, Honduras, Sudan, Yemen, and Brazil.
- British media–which have persecuted, tortured, and incarcerated Julian Assange for non-political crimes–now urge his extradition, while trembling lest the PRC use ‘non-political crimes to prosecute critics.’
- The UK Government has refused to sell crowd control gear to Hong Kong police.
- Imagine how the NYPD would respond if one of their officers were assaulted like this […]
Source: HONG KONG’S POISONED CHALICE