Recently, the China’s equivalent of a parliament has passed a legislation on who may stand for election as Chief Executive Officer of HK. Only those who are deemed acceptable to China can stand for election. That means anti-China prominent figures like Martin Lee and Anson Chan will have no chance to stand for election. Supporters of the so-called ‘pro-democracy camp’ are up in arms. The writer, Elsie Tu, may not be an ethnic Chinese, but she truly understands the situation in HK from a Chinese point of view. It is not just a matter of one person one vote, much more than that. This is something that someone who is brainwashed with the democracy claptrap cannot see.
By Elsie Tu
A friend who has just returned from a long holiday phoned me with that question. Strange to say, I had just started to write my thoughts about that very same question. Yes, what really is happening in Hong Kong? I think of that question daily and often at night. I will use simple English to answer this question so that most school children will be able to understand.
Recently on TV I listened to Rita Fan speaking in her forthright manner just as she used to in the Legislative Council many years ago, always expressing the truth from the heart, because she is concerned about future peace for all of China. She has no patience with political “Johnnies-come-lately” like Benny Tai, who seems to imagine he can issue orders to China, and China will obey and accept his version of democracy.
My memory goes back to 60 years ago, when the main question in my mind was how to get justice for Hong Kong people under the unfair British colonial system. As a Briton, I felt angry with the British colonials and their rich foreign and local Chinese collaborators. The poor workers at that time were afraid to complain of injustices because that would have meant prison, or even deportation. The Chinese sought my intervention because they knew that as a Briton I could speak up for justice.
If I had been a British official here I would have been sacked, as were some Chinese and British police or officials, for being “incompatible” with the corrupt colonial system. Some local Chinese who closed their eyes to the inequalities and corruption of colonial law became tycoons on the money they had smuggled out of the mainland, or on wealth amassed with the help of triads, the gangsters who squeezed the poorly-paid workers on behalf of tycoons.
The Chinese are famous as hard workers, and by their hard work many were able to send their children abroad for education. The Chinese are also well-known for their success, and children of poor families can be found among all the professions — doctors, lawyers, magistrates, nurses and every other field of knowledge.
But with success often came corruption. No community can create a peaceful existence if those in high positions stoop to buying fame and fortune by corrupt means. They greedily seek more wealth by cheating their workers. As we well realize, corrupt rich government officials bought and sold government positions, granted favors in business, borrowed but never repaid loans, disregarded workers who could not afford a roof over their heads. These high-ranking robbers dimmed our faith in public decency and honesty.
I suggest that a simple answer to “What is happening in Hong Kong?” could be “social unrest due to poverty”. But that is not the real situation. Our workers seldom strike, even for a few days. Instead I believe the dissatisfaction of workers has fallen into the realm of politics, led by power-seekers who use them for their own political ends.
We constantly hear politicians calling for “one person, one vote”. But can democracy exist if only about half the population register to vote? And if fewer than half actually vote? And what of the voters, especially elderly people, who are offered a bus ride, a dinner, or a few dollars which they badly needed, and are taught where to tick on the voting paper?
As for democracy, a British democratic government has held power for years on fewer than half the votes polled. I am not against democracy, provided that the numbers really represent a wide majority. What I want to know is whether the winning candidate is truly serving the people, and not just enjoying looking important or seeking power and wealth.
Back to the highly advertised demands by Benny Tai for “genuine” democracy; no wonder Rita Fan is angry. She knows the danger to a very large country like China that fought so long in World War II to achieve unification and peace. China was once beset with warlords seeking power for their tribes. Does Benny Tai wish to split up China again?
I have seen the turmoil and poverty in China before Deng Xiaoping’s decision to open it up to the outside world and its adoption of free market principles to encourage economic growth. It led to history’s greatest prosperity in the shortest time — barely 30 years — along with all the problems associated with quick economic gains.
Now we are witnessing other equally important changes being introduced by President Xi Jinping, who is determined to clamp down on corruption to allow for a more equitable distribution of wealth. Already enormous improvements have been made in the lives of many Chinese people, giving hope not only of economic prosperity for ordinary people but also for social progress. Let us not hinder China’s progress by trying to foist foreign ideology upon her. Let us support peace, not turmoil.
The author, born in 1913, arrived in Hong Kong in 1951 to begin her lifetime work of helping the poor and disenfranchised through her various roles as an educator, social activist, and as an elected member of the Urban Council and Legislative Council of Hong Kong, and other public offices she held.