Now in its New Era of historical development, China has emerged as a great driving force for law and politics across a broad front of issues at the core of law, governance, politics and economics. The Coalition for Peace and Ethics has been following two remarkable trajectories in the development of theory and in its practice. The theoretical development centers around the re-construction of theories of imperialism devoid of its Western baggage of racism, occupation, and Western versions of cultural ethno-centrism. ( see, essays in CPE EmpireSeries).
But that is not Hong Kong. Professor Zheng notes Hong Kong as the capital of protests, whose protests "have never been interrupted." This is not just disorder but the essence of disorder as a structural ordering pattern: "Such frequent social protests in a city are rare in world history." The result is a social shackling whose product is inevitable--violence. Social harmony, the cauldron again, provides thick walls that protect harmony, bring order and prosperity under the ordering responsibility of a "core;" direction directly by popular collectives produces the opposite, an inverted social order--social disruption, cultures of protests, a threat to prosperity that shackles society and normalizes violence. This is the cauldron overturned--a powerful discursive trope with a wealth of underlying meaning in history, culture, politics, etc.. That disorders produces the usual warnings that have been a constant theme of the pronouncement of central authorities, one that Professor Zheng underlines: "And it is not difficult to understand that any social protest, if the parties do not compromise, must end with violence. There are too many historical experiences to prove this inevitable result."
Professor Zheng, then, brings us from the narrative positioning of the situation in Hing Kong to his own role in its elaboration--to investigate its causes and suggest a way to bring Hong Kong back to order and Harmony. To do that the intellectual must probe deeply into the contradictions that have produced disharmony, identify the "sickness" that is embedded in that disorder, and excise it. The process, as Professor Zheng will show, is made infinitely easier where the "sickness" is equated with the foreign (the way that viruses and bacterial are foreign to the human body), and thus identified, can be opposed to bring the body back to health. In Professor Zheng's words: "To put it bluntly, there is only one fundamental problem in Hong Kong, that is: Who is Hong Kong?
To that end, Professor Zheng constructs a set of fundamental oppositions, one that mirrors the position of the emerging position of the central authorities. One is constructed as endogenous (and benign)--China and its elaboration of a system of sovereignty over territory to which the authority to rule has been delegated. He notes, for example, "China enjoys less and less actual sovereignty, manifested in a limited area of diplomacy, and enjoys only "honorary sovereignty" in most areas. Even the garrison has only symbolic meaning." And, indeed, the maintenance of One Country Two Systems has been costly to China to the advantage of those profiting from disorder in Hong Kong. Professor Zheng writes: "The actual situation is that in order to maintain "one country, two systems", the mainland has delivered a large number of benefits to Hong Kong in order to maintain its prosperity, at least economically.
The other is constructed as exogenous--the colonialist imperialism of the United Kingdom (principally though the shadow of the United States can be discerned at the edges). Here in the face of China's critical role in economic stands the unmoving wall that is the colonial legacy of the United Kingdom in the form of a legal architecture that itself ensures disorder. He concludes: "As far as governance is concerned, the most substantive legal system is not within China's sovereignty."
The Hong Kong Chief Executive:
You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, what you say is correct. That is just what we are. All the experiences of the Chinese people, accumulated in the course of successive decades, tell us to carry out a people's democratic dictatorship.
This means that the reactionaries must be deprived of the right to voice their opinions; only the people have that right.
Who are the "people"? At the present stage in China, they are the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie.
Under the leadership of the working class and the Communist Party, these classes unite to create their own state and elect their own government so as to enforce their dictatorship over the henchmen of imperialism -- the landlord class and bureaucratic capitalist class, as well as the reactionary clique of the Kuomintang, which represents these classes, and their accomplices. The people's government will suppress such persons. It will only permit them to behave themselves properly. It will not allow them to speak or act wildly. Should they do so, they will be instantly curbed and punished. The democratic system is to be carried out within the ranks of the people, giving them freedom of speech, assembly and association. The right to vote is given only to the people, not to the reactionaries. These two things, democracy for the people and dictatorship for the reactionaries, when combined, constitute the people's democratic dictatorship. (Mao Zedong, On the People's Democratic Dictatorship (1950))
First, "it is difficult to adjust", and no compromise can be reached. People have produced a "one step in place" political reform fantasy. In the process of winning, the protesters did not have the opportunity to fulfill their demands, but because there was no compromise, all opportunities were lost. Second, the protests turned into violence and developed into a devastating social movement “protest against protests” or a sporty society.
The Black Hand [黑手] as a Structural Element that is Sourced in the Colonial Experience.
This gets Professor Zheng to a major insight in his marvelous essay--that the cause of disharmony in Hong Kong can be traced to the continued infection of foreign elements that have neither been absorbed properly or eliminated. 黑手] discourse in a much more interesting context.
As far as the impact of Britain on Hong Kong is concerned, to a large extent, after the return of 1997, Hong Kong has only changed from a British "direct colony" to a British "indirect colony." Except for some text changes and literal articles (even including the Basic Law), when the return of 1997, Hong Kong did not change anything. After the reunification, no major changes (especially institutional changes) have occurred to reflect Hong Kong people's autonomy or Chinese sovereignty. What the parties have endeavored is only the "rule of law" in Hong Kong.
But this "rule of law" system has become the most effective tool for maintaining vested interests, especially for the UK. Not only that, because it is an "indirect colony", the British or other foreign forces, they only take advantage . . . without any responsibility. . . .. It is the most effective "supervisor" of the SAR government and the most effective resistance to changes in Hong Kong.
On the practical level, after the reunification, the colonial education has not only changed, but has intensified. The former democratic movement still had some "anti-British" flavors, but now it has turned to the mainland of the motherland. National identity has completely gone to the opposite side. It is necessary to clearly understand that the main body of the protesters over the years has been the younger generation who grew up after the reunification of 1997. They are also the mainstay of the "Hong Kong independence" power.
时间:2019-08-20 07:47内容来源:联合早报 版阅读：新闻归类:观点评论
时间:2019-08-20 07:47内容来源:联合早报 版阅读：新闻归类:观点评论
Zheng Yongnian: "The Capital of Protests" Who is Hong Kong?
Time: 2019-08-20 07:47 Content Source: Lianhe Zaobao Read: News Classification: Viewpoint Comments
The situation in Hong Kong has developed to this day, but it is actually not so shocking. (Bloomberg) For Hong Kong observers, the situation in Hong Kong has developed to this day, but it is not so shocking. Over the years, the protests in Hong Kong have never been interrupted, and it is not difficult to calculate this.
For Hong Kong observers, the situation in Hong Kong has developed to this day, but it is not so shocking. Over the years, the protests in Hong Kong have never been interrupted. It is not difficult to calculate how many large and small protests have taken place in the city with different backgrounds and different objectives. Such frequent social protests in a city are rare in world history. In fact, the protest tends to have what people call the "dead shackles" and the protests have been "daily life". Some people say that Hong Kong is a veritable "protest capital" and this will not happen.
People are shocked by the violence of the protests. Hong Kong is a wealthy city with a middle class that is more rational and more peaceful than other places. But now it is completely different, and violence has become an irreversible trend. And it is not difficult to understand that any social protest, if the parties do not compromise, must end with violence. There are too many historical experiences to prove this inevitable result.
The situation has developed to this point, and people must choose which side to support. But if you are looking to the future, people must spend a lot of energy to understand the question of where to go. What happened in Hong Kong? Why did it develop to the point where it can't be closed today? Where is the future of the city?
To put it bluntly, there is only one fundamental problem in Hong Kong, that is: Who is Hong Kong?
In 1997, Hong Kong’s sovereignty returned to China from Britain and implemented “one country, two systems”. So, is China governing Hong Kong? the answer is negative. Because of the implementation of "one country, two systems", China only enjoys sovereignty and has no power to rule. "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong", the power of governance is in the Chief Executive and the Hong Kong Government. In this way, China enjoys less and less actual sovereignty, manifested in a limited area of diplomacy, and enjoys only "honorary sovereignty" in most areas. Even the garrison has only symbolic meaning. As far as governance is concerned, the most substantive legal system is not within China's sovereignty.
In maintaining "one country, two systems", mainland China has not actively involved in Hong Kong affairs as the West has said. Even if there is an intervention, it is subject to the "ideology" of "one country, two systems." The actual situation is that in order to maintain "one country, two systems", the mainland has delivered a large number of benefits to Hong Kong in order to maintain its prosperity, at least economically. The relevant parties did indeed want to do something that would lead to substantial sovereignty, but they did not do anything they wanted to do, such as the earlier "23 articles" and the "send regulations". Social, economic and non-governmental exchanges and exchanges have greatly increased, but these can have an impact on Hong Kong's economy, but have no substantive impact on Hong Kong's governance system and capabilities.
Chief executive has no organic connection with political parties
Is the Hong Kong government governing the city? nor. There are many institutional design factors involved here. As far as the power structure is concerned, Hong Kong implements the "separation of powers" system. Under this system, which powers are in the Hong Kong Administration? Less than half of the powers in the legislation can be said to belong to the administration, and this half of the power is still achieved through the "constructionist." The Administration has no power at all for the judiciary. The entire judicial system is still almost in the hands of the "Hong Kong British authorities" who are "reclusive". Even the administrative system, except for the Chief Executive, is still receiving the "whole" from the British Hong Kong authorities.
As far as the source of political power is concerned, the problem is even greater, because Hong Kong is basically "no party politics", that is, there is no necessary organic connection between the emergence of the chief executive and the political parties. On the practical level, the Chief Executive had to use the "civil servant" system as a political party. In the course of operation, this makes administrative neutrality impossible. Once the chief executive is “politicized”, the civil service system has to be politicized (whether active or passive), and this politicization is more likely to run counter to the political intent of the chief executive. Many people in the civil service system have publicly exerted pressure on the SAR government.
Because there is no solid political (party) support, it has been difficult for the SAR government to make a difference over the years. How many effective laws and policies have been passed by the SAR Government? Successive capitals want to make a difference, but there is no good result. Even policies that are in good faith and can actually improve the situation in Hong Kong are hard to have good results. The abortion of the first special director Tung Chee-hwa’s housing policy is a good case.
Is the Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong? Obviously not. Hong Kong people have been fighting for their ideal "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong", that is, "double suffrage." However, because of the contests in various aspects, there has been no result so far. (However, it should be pointed out that "double universal suffrage" is also an ideal "conceived" because there is too much experience to show that even if "universal elections" are achieved, effective governance will not necessarily occur.)
What is more serious is that the process of achieving a set goal through the “bottom-up” social movement has a big problem in itself. First, "it is difficult to adjust", and no compromise can be reached. People have produced a "one step in place" political reform fantasy. In the process of winning, the protesters did not have the opportunity to fulfill their demands, but because there was no compromise, all opportunities were lost. Second, the protests turned into violence and developed into a devastating social movement “protest against protests” or a sporty society. In this way, the mentality of the protesters "You are not obedient, I will never let you do things" has formed a serious confrontation between the government and the protesters.
Foreign forces have always been
So is it that foreign forces are dominated in Hong Kong? It is necessary to clearly understand that Hong Kong is an international city, and the existence and involvement of foreign forces is not surprising. For a long time, the city has been the center of information in the East, and many Western countries (especially the United States) have powerful forces. But as long as Hong Kong is open, foreign forces will certainly be there and will work hard to influence the development of Hong Kong. This is reality, whether people like it or not. What needs to be addressed is whether the SAR Government has the ability to curb the negative effects of these foreign forces.
As far as foreign powers are concerned, the role of the United Kingdom is especially emphasized here because Hong Kong used to be a British colony. As far as the impact of Britain on Hong Kong is concerned, to a large extent, after the return of 1997, Hong Kong has only changed from a British "direct colony" to a British "indirect colony." Except for some text changes and literal articles (even including the Basic Law), when the return of 1997, Hong Kong did not change anything. After the reunification, no major changes (especially institutional changes) have occurred to reflect Hong Kong people's autonomy or Chinese sovereignty. What the parties have endeavored is only the "rule of law" in Hong Kong.
Zheng Yongnian: "The Capital of Protests" Who is Hong Kong? (2)
Time: 2019-08-20 07:47 Content Source: Lianhe Zaobao Read: News Classification: Viewpoint Comments
Undoubtedly, the "rule of law" is indeed the institutional essence of Hong Kong and the basis of Hong Kong's order. But this "rule of law" system has become the most effective tool for maintaining vested interests, especially for the UK. Not only that, because it is an "indirect colony", the British or other foreign forces, they only take advantage of the fishermen's interests, without any responsibility. Today, this "rule of law" system has evolved into the "discourse power" of foreign powers. It is the most effective "supervisor" of the SAR government and the most effective resistance to changes in Hong Kong.
However, this does not mean that this "rule of law" needs to withdraw from the historical arena. The question here is also "who is the master" and "the rule of law"? Comparing the different actions of countries that were independent from the colonies after World War II, one can clearly see how to deal with the legacy of the colonies.
After the war, after the victory of anti-colonial rule and independence, some countries completely retained the original colonial system and followed the colony with Western-style democracy, but there were no successful cases, and cases of failure abound. However, many countries have implemented “decolonization”. However, because of the different ways of “decolonization”, the results are mixed. Some countries are simple and rude, abolishing all institutional heritage, and new institutions (especially those that can function effectively) cannot be established, which not only affects the relationship with the West, but also restricts the development of all aspects of the local.
Singapore's successful experience
However, in other countries, "anti-colonization" has also been carried out, but not only can some positive colonial heritage be preserved, local development can be promoted, and relations with the West can be made. Singapore is the most typical. After independence, the original colonial heritage was effectively decolonized, and while retaining a positive legacy, its negative aspects were removed. As far as the "rule of law" is concerned, no one would deny that Singapore's "rule of law" system was developed on the basis of colonial heritage.
Singapore’s successful experience has only a few words: firmly hold the “rule of law” in its own hands. Since independence, Singapore has never been unequivocal in matters involving sovereignty and the country’s major interests. It has always tried its best to protect it, even not afraid of “offending” any country. This is in stark contrast to the "rule of law" in Hong Kong. To a large extent, Hong Kong's "rule of law" can effectively protect the interests of the original colonists, but it is difficult to enhance Hong Kong's own interests.
The power of governance is not in the hands of Hong Kong people
Naturally, the maintenance of this "rule of law" is also related to Hong Kong's own vested interests. The question here is, is Hong Kong ruling these vested interests? May not be. Obviously, they are theoretically the ruling elite of Hong Kong, and the development of Hong Kong is their vital interest. But the same is due to the flaws in the system design. This vested interest class only pursues interests, but does not have to bear any political responsibility. Over the years, there have often been situations in which vested interests “have the benefits to go all the way and face problems and fall back”. The “rule of law” has the same logic for vested interests, that is, “the rule of law” is the most effective weapon to protect their interests from losses. Considering that Hong Kong's deep-rooted vested interests are now growing up during the British Hong Kong authorities, this logic is not difficult to understand.
For all these situations, mainland China is not ignorant and is therefore eager to change. But realistically, because it is the implementation of "one country, two systems", it is difficult for mainland China to change the colonial heritage of Hong Kong in the past. Only Hong Kong itself has this ability. However, reality seems to be the opposite. As mentioned above, due to various institutional factors, power is not in the hands of Hong Kong people, whether it is the SAR Government or the Hong Kong society. What is more serious is that some Hong Kong people blame this situation on the central government, and therefore aim at the central government. On the practical level, after the reunification, the colonial education has not only changed, but has intensified. The former democratic movement still had some "anti-British" flavors, but now it has turned to the mainland of the motherland. National identity has completely gone to the opposite side. It is necessary to clearly understand that the main body of the protesters over the years has been the younger generation who grew up after the reunification of 1997. They are also the mainstay of the "Hong Kong independence" power.
Because of this, the "one country" and "two systems" that were originally integrated were separated. The mainland side emphasized "one country" and the Hong Kong side emphasized "two systems". The SAR government was in the middle and could do nothing.
The Hong Kong Government is subject to various restrictions
In order to resolve this stalemate, China has also begun to make proactive policy adjustments in these years. The construction of the Dawan District is a good example. This is undoubtedly the right direction. When the "one country, two systems" encounter difficulties, for the mainland, the question that needs to be answered is: What can "one country" do? Development plans such as the Dawan District are supposed to gradually resolve conflicts through the unilateral open policy of the mainland and through social and economic methods, in the hope of finally solving the problem.
However, at the bureaucratic level (including the mainland and Hong Kong), people do not have a deep understanding of this issue. The bureaucratic level tends to solve the problem by changing the "two systems." The "Send Regulations" introduced this time is a typical example. Because of the previous "23" experience, the social response to the "Send the Regulations" should be expected, but there is not enough consideration at the bureaucratic level, or it has been rushed out.
In any case, it is not surprising that Hong Kong has created a "power vacuum" situation today without an effective governance body. The Hong Kong SAR government is not only subject to internal constraints, including power constraints from institutional design and constraints from social forces, but also subject to external foreign forces under the banner of “rule of law”, which is weak and leads to "Anarchy." Although this is not to say that the SAR government does not want to make a difference, it is so weak that no one can do anything well. At the same time, although the pursuit of "public interest" has become impossible, there are still people who are pursuing "private benefits", that is, invisible old colonists and vested interests. The pursuit of public welfare "inaction" and the pursuit of self-interest "doing something" have created the reality of Hong Kong today.
Today, after such a long and fierce social protest movement, many of the contradictions faced by Hong Kong have been fully exposed. Even those who are not on the table and hidden behind, people have a clearer understanding of them. But this does not mean that the problem can be solved. The effective resolution of the Hong Kong issue still depends on the question of "Who is Hong Kong?" Since all these problems are the result of the lack of political actors in Hong Kong, no one will naively believe that there will be a stable situation in Hong Kong before the emergence of a political subject, and these problems will be resolved. More importantly, Hong Kong today is not the beginning of Hong Kong at the beginning of the reunification. Things have already happened and Hong Kong cannot return to its original point. The challenge to mainland China is: How to make a second "return" to Hong Kong?
The author is a professor at the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore. The article only represents a personal point of view