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TOTAL LICENSING
new law for the new “Spe- that could electioneer,
cial Administrative Region write newspaper ar-
– Hong Kong”. ticles, but due to the
packing of the legisla-
With the accelerating ture with a majority
drive for democratic re- of appointed CPPCC
form, many of the old delegates, they could
power brokers of Hong not legislate. Candi-
Kong found themselves in dates were not chosen
the unaccustomed posi- individually but by pre-
tion of sympathizing with pared lists. Campaigns began demanding Tung’s
Beijing’s more authoritar- resignation but at that moment, benevolent
ian approach in opposition colonial autocracy had evolved into the “Basic
to the creeping progress Law” executive lead government.
towards free party elec-
tions for all. Subsequently Tung was side swiped by the H5NI
bird flu virus and with economic slowdown that
It was clear, or at least ex- brought real estate and stock market crashes,
pected, that whoever was his slow responses and denials were followed
elected in the last election by panic. One million chickens were killed and
(1999) to the 60 seat leg- paid for Tung’s lack of early action and indeci-
islative council would au- sion with their lives, and the so triumphant eco-
tomatically be there after nomic miracle of Hong Kong lost some of its
the takeover. In 1994 the glory.
liberal parties under the
leadership of the Demo- By 2004 the pro-democratic camp won by 61%
cratic Party had 63% ma- over pro-Beijing’s 26%, out of 1,784,140 voters
jority over the only 30% representing 55% turn-out of eligible voters. (Of
in the pro Beijing camp course the many Chinese passport holding resi-
– and in this sunset of the dents could not vote.) Finally, Tung (the patri-
Crown colony, the general otic but inexperienced businessman) resigned
electorate of Hong Kong for “bad health”. Beijing now appointed Chief
had finally achieved a vic- Secretary Donald Tsang, an old Civil Service
tory on its long road to type who managed to keep all sides balanced
The Chinese Dragon has defended for 500 years
self determination. in a typically Hong Kong manner and patiently
set about to balance the books and repair the
development and emphasis on making money On June 30, 1997 it rained damages. It had certainly been proven that the
and betterment for its population rather than while the redcoats and bagpipes prepared for disasters predicted for 1997 and Beijing’s take-
real political solutions. the last time to stand muster and Governor over, had not taken place. But Beijing also
Patten departed quietly. Martin Lee and his city proved that it was willing to use its power to
Still…very belatedly British Hong Kong had to counselors had just been fired as of July 1
st
, and, keep democracy for Hong Kong from happen-
face the impending ‘takeover’. Governor Patten, although they warned the new government, in- ing. The future was as murky as ever and
appointed by Conservative British Premier, John stalled by the new Beijing pre-selected Gover- the massive Chinese Dragon could not be
Major, in 1992, became concerned about the nor Tung Chee Hua, of undemocratic measures, pushed where it did not want to go by the
historical legacy that Britain might leave behind. Tung took over. The “Basic Law” went into ef- huffing and puffing Hong Kong Rabbit.
He hoped to build the Hong Kong electorate fect and I will only quote Beijing’s Hong Kong
into a democratic force that might make back- Affairs director to illustrate the subtle change WHO ARE HONG KONG’S WESTERN-
sliding by the new rulers from Beijing difficult. that began to take place. Interviewed by CNN, ERS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
he explained: “Hong Kong’s Press Freedom
Hong Kong’s Chinese leaders belonging to the would certainly be tolerated and Hong Kong THE EX PAT BUSINESSMAN
Democratic Party represented a majority who, journalists could criticize the Beijing govern-
under the leadership of Martin Lee and others, ment and its policies…but while they can say The Ex Pat (foreign resident): is a western en-
became the biggest force in Hong Kong and suc- anything they like, if it leads to action they must trepreneur. He has probably lived in the Far
cessfully check-mated the mainland sympathiz- be careful.” Governor Tung declared himself as East some 20 to 35 years. He may have come
ers who were being fed with money and lots of patriotic and conservative. He re-affirmed his “out” as a representative of a large European/
advice from Beijing. commitment “to traditional values which have British or possibly American Bank, Financial Or-
been with us for thousands of years”. ganization or corporation. He may have been
Had this movement towards democracy been attached to a Foreign Government or Consular
permitted in the 1960s rather than the 1990s, Nonetheless 50,000 people disagreed and service.
a real democratic tradition might have been joined a June 4
th
vigil to back the democratic
born. protest against strong executive government I have chosen the term “he” purposely because
favored by Beijing’s “Basic Law”. mostly this type of career was chosen in its time
In preparation for the future status, Beijing had by men.
already called into life a planning committee that All this did not help – the democrats were firmly
was to prepare a “Basic Law” that would be the pushed into a powerless position of opposition He may even have started as an agent – but
175
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