As Hong Kong’s student protests continue to heat up this week, protest leaders plan to visit China’s capital city to bring the issue directly to Premier Li Keqiang.
But the planned trip to Beijing may be thwarted before it can begin. China’s Chief Secretary Carrie Lim says that students would be wasting their time coming to the capital if they were only going to repeat their same demands.
But the secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Alex Chow, told reporters that Saturday’s planned trip to Beijing “symbolises that Hongkongers are not afraid of Beijing’s manipulation.”
These student protests, also referred to as the Umbrella Movement to convey how umbrellas are being used to deflect tear gas canisters and batons, started in September of this year to fight China’s decision on proposed electoral reform for the 2017 elections. The country’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) announced that it would disallow civil nominations, essentially allowing the committee to elect two to three candidates before the general public could vote. This angered the Hong Kong Federation of Students and the protesters took to the streets to show their disapproval.
China will soon possess the world’s largest economy, and cultural influence will follow economic power. Martin Jaques argues in his book ‘When China Rules the World’ that this change will shape the next century. But what does it mean for the future of Buddhism?
What is the most significant development in the world over the last three decades: the end of the cold war? The clash between the West and militant Islam? Economic booms and crashes? Martin Jacques’ answer is the rise of China, which has quietly gathered momentum since 1978. When China Rules The World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order argues that, sustained by a population of 1.3 billion, China will be the dominant power of the 21st Century.
When this book’s first edition appeared in 2008 reviewers doubted its prediction that the China would overtake the US and become the world’s largest economy in 2027. But when developed economies stalled after 2008 China’s economy continued growing at 9-10 percent a year and the date when China is expected to take the lead is now 2018. We daily read of Euro-zone leaders imploring China to fund bailouts and the US dollar being saved from depreciation by Chinese-owned Treasury Bonds. Power is flowing from west to the east: welcome to the future.
I refer to the letter “HK student protesters right to fight for democracy” (Oct 6). It was arguably the umpteenth time I heard that democratic change was needed regardless of the circumstances.
Firstly, could the writer clarify what contractual obligation Beijing reneged on? Article 45 of the Basic Law states: “The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” It is therefore the pro-democracy activists who want to change the Basic Law, not Beijing.
Secondly, as Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam pointed out (“Shanmugam: Beijing’s position on HK understandable”, Oct 6), Beijing’s perspective on the issue would be in the context of implications on the whole of China, not Hong Kong alone.
Hongkongers aren’t protesting because of economic resentment toward mainland China.
As Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Revolution” continues, Martin Jacques and others commentators have tried to pin the underlying causes on purely – or primarily – economic factors. Although quality of life issues undeniably played a role in building up public discontent, the emerging narrative – which seeks to portray Hongkongers as ingrates resentful of Mainland China’s newfound economic success – is incomplete and misleading.
Hong Kong’s current system of governance has aptly been described as “the result of collusion between Hong Kong’s tycoons and Beijing’s Communists.” Half of Hong Kong’s legislature is made up of “functional constituencies” representing “special interests.” The end result of this is that the 1,200-strong Election Committee that currently chooses Hong Kong’s Chief Executive disproportionately favors corporate interests.
This skewed institutional framework is a major contributor to a whole host of quality-of-life issues. For example, the dispute over the high-speed rail public works project in 2010 – railroaded through the legislature despite significant public opposition – is a vivid illustration of the consequences of a political system in which business interests can run roughshod over other considerations. Successive chief executives, too, have been able to ignore quality-of-life issues affecting the general public precisely because they are accountable only to their “constituents” and not the general electorate.
Read more >
World-renowned scholars on Wednesday expressed divided opinions on the way the Communist Party of China (CPC) is handling reforms in China at a dialogue held in Beijing.
The scholars, from various disciples, aired their views at the China’s Reforms: Particularities versus Commonalities session on the first day of The Party and the World Dialogue 2014.
The scholars, who came from all over the world, discussed the reform for almost half a day. Some suggested that the reforms are being correctly handled due to the wide participation of society. Others disagreed, saying that despite the achievements, the Party’s reforms are bound to fail due to a number of issues including the lack of a democratic political system and censorship. Some of the delegates suggested that China is role model for rapid development.
David Shambaugh, a professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University in the United States, outlined ten challenges that the CPC is facing in implementing and sustaining the reforms.