Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hong Kong 

It pays to get into Hong Kong early. Easy to get a seat by the window at the Cafe Deco. Really nice day today, too. The view looking out across the bay is quite scenic. My plane was due in from San Francisco about 6:30 am, but we actually landed almost an hour early. Can't remember the name of the guy who negotiated this deal for Britain. I am referring to the original agreement after the Opium war in the middle of the last century giving an obscure island to the British to use as a trade zone. The deal that established today's status quo in Hong Kong was worked out by Deng Xiao-ping and Margaret Thatcher.

Seems to be going fairly well. The democracy advocates would not agree with me, but I guess I say this, because, in talking about the issues yet to be resolved, and there certainly are some, it is only fair to say that things have been going better than many had feared. This is not to minimize the concerns many have about functional constituencies, and the way they tend to circumvent the obligation Beijing has (because of Deng Xiao-ping's promise) to bring full suffrage to the colony.

I am not a strong believer in democracy. As I have said before in this blog, I am a passionate believer in freedom. But democracy is just a form of government. You can have democracy without freedom (Adolf Hitler was democratically elected), and you can have freedom without democracy. Hong Kong itself is a good example of this. Whatever complaints may be aired now about democracy, the fact remains that the Brits had Hong Kong for 150 years, and never gave them anything like democracy. But they did allow a considerable measure of freedom. So I do not worship democracy as an ideal.

But the people of Hong Kong were promised democracy. A promise is a promise, and Beijing's hesitation is wrong for this reason. If Beijing does not keep Deng Xiao-ping's promise, they will make him a liar.

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