June 4 and Democracy After The Guangdong Visit
In the following are two translations in the Hong Kong media concerning what happens after the 59 Legco members visited Guangdong. Prior to the trip, the hot subjects were whether to bring up June 4 and universal suffrage. Now they have made the trip and they brought up the subjects, what next? What are the long-term strategies?
A controversial comment after the Guangdong trip by the Hong Kong legislators came from Democratic Party's Martin Lee. It was alleged that he denounced the whole trip as a 'trap' that was set up the central government. Nobody is accepting that position, not even Martin Lee himself. Lee said that he was misunderstood, because the 'trap' refers not to the Guangdong trip but to the entire series of actions that had been going on. Was he misquoted? In today's Ming Pao, the reporter went back to his audio tape and transcribed the Q&A verbatim. So here you have it:
Reporter: Martin, let me ask you what you got from this trip?
Lee: We actually got very very little, whereas the central government got a whole lot. What do I want? In June last year, I proposed at a debate ... and it had quite an impact at the time ... I said that we want to unite with the people of Hong Kong to work with central government to implement One Country Two Systems, Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong with a high degree of self-autonomy. That was my goal. That was why I emphasized at the time to communicate and build mutual trust. What do I, Martin Lee, want all the time? I want democracy. But you won't even talk about it, so how can there be democracy? The obstacles to democracy are not within the SAR. It is with the central government. Zeng Qinghong calls the shots, so there are no direct elections in 2007/2008. You need to talk to them. At least, you need to persuade them that democracy is a good thing for Hong Kong.
They are often emphasizing harmony, stability and prosperity. Hey, since when has Hong Kong not been harmonious? Many of the arguments in Hong Kong were created by the central government. Article 23 came from them. Democracy is a consensus. The DAB and Liberals called for direct elections in 2007/2008, but the central government said no and they went along with it.
Therefore, I obviously have a dream to return to China and I obviously hope to get a visit permit, because these are things that I ought to get. But if you give me a visit permit and let go there freely and even meet the leaders in Beijing, that is still not my goal. My goal is to get democracy in Hong Kong and to implement One Country Two Systems, high degree of self-autonomy and Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong.
So this is the first step and it is very small with respect to the whole project. They were talking about meeting the leaders in Beijing, but now we have to be split up -- the educators by themselves, the lawyers by themselves, etc. That is to say that the Beijing leaders don't want to see us. How can we trust each other?
As for democracy? There has been absolutely no progress, not even the first step. When we went up this time, it was a win-win situation for everyone. The Democratic Party did not fail because at least we spoke clearly about June 4 and democracy. Would you say that this is good or bad? It is not necessarily bad, but how many more steps are needed to reach the goal of democracy?
Instead, because the mainland relaxed its grip a little bit and many people in society accept it ... they accept Beijing people ruling Hong Kong. No one challenges Zeng Qinghong. No reason to let you do anything. Right now, everyone can go there. Even Szeto Wah can go. When we went to China, we did not know when we can come and go freely. So what if they give us the visit permits? So what if we can meet the leaders in Beijing? We still have to go one step at a time and it will be a long time.
But what about the image of the Chinese government? It seems pretty good. Hong Kong society is harmonious. They talk about harmony this way. That is to say, if you get on the streets again, it won't be harmonious, it becomes opposition and that would be bad.
Actually, we have been sucked into this trap all along. But people are still not aware. It is very dangerous right now.
Reporter: Is it because the people of Hong Kong and the democrats are lacking the awareness of danger?
Lee: I feel that what worries me most is that there are people among the democrats who have fallen into the trap without knowing. (note: but Lee refused to name names)
So that was for the record. Let us suppose that Martin Lee was correct about the trap. If you don't want to fall into it, what should you do then? March out on the streets again? Don't talk to the central government anymore? Go before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee? ... I'm sorry to say, "Maybe it was a trap, but there is not choice but to walk right into it."
(Apple Daily) How to Vindicate June 4? Li Yi (李 怡), opinion columnist.
On the 'icebreaking trip' of the democrats, they had the opportunity to speak to a member of the Chinese Communist Central Government Politburo and so they had to bring up the subject of the vindication of June 4, even though they know that the hosts would not appreciate it. If we have to applaud, we should applaud the courage of the democrats not to kneel before the VIP. As for Zhang Dejiang's reply, even though it was a bit heated, it was basically a statement of the central government's position delivered in a calm manner.
The main result of the Guangdong trip was that it improved the communication atmosphere between the democrats and senior Communist officials as "amicable but dissenting." In the past, the senior Communist officials do not want to speak openly with the democrats because they were afraid of unexpected scenes.
Right now, they have taken the first step of each saying their own thing. In the second step, no matter whether it is in Shanghai or Beijing, the democrats can bring up the June 4 matter again. But if these mentions always lead to the same answers, then they perhaps need to cool down on this issue.
The vindication of June 4 is a knot in the hearts of democrats. This is known from the tens of thousands of people who attend the June 4 candlelight vigil in Hong Kong. But how will June 4 be vindicated? Will it be vindicated through a resolution by the Chinese Communist Party central? If this is the case, then the one-party-rule political system of the Chinese Communist has not changed. Previous historical episodes such as the Anti-Right, Anti-Rightist and Cultural Revolution were vindicated and those people who suffered during those political movements may feel psychologically better. But the political system did not change.
Actually, the history of June 4 is already etched in the public opinions of the Chinese people and the international community. It is not like as Zhang Dejiang claimed that the Chinese authorities did absolutely nothing wrong. If we think that this totalitarian one-party system is going to affirm the 1989 democratic movement and negate the suppression, then that vindication will only come as a result of political necessity in an internal struggle within the Chinese Communists. When there is another new change in the political struggles within the Chinese Communists, it may make a new resolution to negate the vindication of the June 4.
Suppose the vindication of June 4 did not come as a result of a resolution by the Chinese Communist central. Suppose the vindication comes after the democratization of China. That is of course very much the desire of the Hong Kong democrats and citizens who have democratic ideas. This so-called democracy is probably through holding direct elections in all the provinces and municipalities to elect national representatives to vote on matters of national concern. Since these national representatives really reflect the will of the citizens of the provinces and municipalities of the nation, do you suppose that this national congress will tolerate the various privileges accorded to Hong Kong under the "Basic Law? For example, not remitting any taxes to the central government, not performing military services and having as many children as they want, etc. The democratic China may not tolerate One Country Two Systems for Hong Kong. But then the democratization of China is too distant for discussion.
Therefore, in the second or third steps of the conversation between the democrats and the senior government officials, the subject of the vindication of June 4 may be temporarily put on hold.
So there is the challenge. Do you want to bring June 4 at each and every future meeting just so both sides can recite the script? That will satisfy the folks back home, but it won't change anything. At some point, everybody will see the futility of this exercise.