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香港回歸後的今天

AN ASIAN STREET CELEBRATION DESERVING OF A STANDING OVATION

By Tom Plate

July 1, 2004

HONG KONG -- The good people of Hong Kong scarcely need any encouragement from anyone, but I want to say this to them anyhow: Go out there today (1 July) and march your pants off on the 7th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty and show Beijing and the rest of the world exactly what you're made of.

Which is to say, emphatically, that the people of Hong Kong are not simply about money or shopping or any other hoary cliché. On the contrary, like any sentient, caring, well-educated people, they want a hand in shaping their destiny.

It's that simple, Beijing. They're not split-ists or CIA agents or counter-revolutionaries or anything you need to be afraid of. They're just people who want you to honor the "two systems” part of the deal.

Dear Beijing: The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. After all, one thing Hong Kongers tend to do -- when they're not making money or shopping or whatever -- is to protest. In fact, they take to the streets to make their points far more frequently than do largely complacent, over-fed, under-informed Americans.

But other facts about Hong Kong, far more worrisome than a street march of 100,000 or 200,000 or whatever the tally, deserve to be underscored:

Fact One: In the fullness of time, Hong Kong's political activity, on the whole, should not only prove a healthy tonic for Hong Kong but for Beijing as well. For allowing the world to see Big Brother permitting Little Sister to play in the streets will communicate a message of maturity, self-confidence and acceptance of some measure of political pluralism. Conversely, turning sour or compelling the hapless, caught-in-the-middle, very-nice-guy Tung Chee Hwa (the underestimated chief executive) to "get tough” will only play right into the hands of the enemies of China. Which leads to …

Fact Two: Meddling American politicians many time zones away who proclaim that they know what's best for Hong Kong (right, just like they knew what was best for Iraq) are no true friends of Hong Kong. Prime example: Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, godfather of Senate Joint Resolution 33 that purports to support democratic reform here. Too bad the Kansan and his fellow do-gooders haven't been spending as much time worrying about electoral reform in the United States, which has a presidential-election system that recently yielded a "winner” who got fewer votes than the loser. Does Brownback really believe that riling up the hawks in Beijing, their shaky hands now so full with clever Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, and thus rendering them more paranoid is in Hong Kong's best interests? Which leads further to …

Fact Three: Chen himself may be a sincere champion of Taiwan democracy, but his interests are far different from Hong Kong's. For the last thing this cagey character wants to see is President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa and Donald Tsang working together to steer this tricky one-country-two-systems deal through shark- (not to mention CIA-) infected waters. Any monkey wrench he can throw into this overheated political environment he will. Which leads finally to …

Fact Four: History may rank self-appointed democracy advocate Martin Lee as the Asian George Washington -- but I doubt it. Given that Beijing is not about to permit Hong Kong to become sovereign-independent (and, really, would that be in the territory's true best interests?), and given that some Chinese leaders suffer from creeping clinical paranoia over the possible successful emergence of a Chen-like figure here, is Lee's grandstanding here, around the world, and especially in front of a U.S. Senate committee, really that healthy for Hong Kong? Or is Lee being used by anti-Communist die-hards like Brownback? I support to the death Martin Lee’s right to say whatever he wants, but I am afraid what he's saying makes little sense for Hong Kong.

So, hit the streets, Hong Kong. Make your points, but be safe. And be wary of the self-described friends of Hong Kong. They could wind up killing your way of life with their ill-conceived kindness.

 
 

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