When Cardinal Joseph Zen, a long-time critic of Beijing and a democracy advocate, was mobbed like a rock star at Hong Kong’s 25-year anniversary vigil for the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, few could predict the democratic tug of war with the mainland would get so heated.
Beijing, incapable of subtle or incremental change, has shifted gears with a lurch and is sending Hong Kong in a direction that has snapped its citizens out of their political torpor.
Hong Kong and Macau are the only Chinese territories where such vigils are permitted. But for how much longer will the heavy handed Chinese Communist Party allow such political activity?
As a condition of the 1997 handover from the UK to China, Deng Xiaoping promised Margaret Thatcher that the people of Hong Kong would be permitted to choose their leader directly by 2017. But as this deadline draws closer, Beijing is showing every sign of backsliding. There are mounting fears that the “one country, two systems” agreed between Thatcher and Deng is rapidly evolving into a more authoritarian 1.5 model, or less, even though the deal was for 50 years after 1997. Read more….