Beijing-style universal suffrage: Hong Kong cannot become a democracy until China does – which could, of course, be never

Peace and Freedom

William Case says a more democratic election has to be better than the alternative of no change

By William Case
South China Morning Post

Pan-democrats' posture is pointless in its defiance, ill-fated and, worse, uncreative. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Like others, I first greeted Beijing’s framework for Hong Kong’s universal suffrage with abhorrence. And I applauded the pan-democrats for refusing even to consider it. No reform is better than bad reform. And this one seemed especially bad.

For example, the framework’s logic resembles a loathsome royalist ideology in Thailand, wherein subjects are required to “know their place, low and high”. Only then, after accepting a steep and intricate social hierarchy of sakdina, can ordinary Thais be trusted to vote. Under “Thai-style democracy”, they must reliably elect “good people”, those whose karma and merit please the monarchy and the military.

Similarly, under Beijing-style universal suffrage, ordinary Hongkongers must pragmatically avoid…

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