January 06, 2020
Authorities in Hong Kong may have hoped to start 2020 by putting a turbulent period of sustained, often violent protests behind them. Instead hundreds of thousands of protesters ushered in the new year by taking to the streets. Around 400 were arrested as protesters continued their push for political reform on the densely populated island.The clash between the government and demonstrators is now seven months long and has served to further erode Hong Kongers’ trust in China’s commitment to the “one country, two systems” formula. Under that principle, the region was granted a degree of autonomy over its own matters in 1997. But a perception that Beijing is increasingly imposing its authority has led not only to a more militant protest movement, but one that is eyeing separation from the mainland.As a political scientist who has closely followed political developments in Hong Kong over the last decade, I have watched trust in Beijing ebb away during the sustained unrest.If China wants to correct this course and convince Hong Kongers that their best hope lies in autonomy rather than independence, then I believe it must permit genuine democracy in the region. Cycle of unrestThe people of Hong Kong have not had much of a say in their own destiny. Not only did they lack political power as a colony of the British, but they also weren’t consulted in the drafting of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that set the terms for the 1997 handover of the territory from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China. Nevertheless, that agreement offered an implicit bargain to Hong Kongers: They would submit to Beijing’s sovereignty in return for the promise of a “high degree of autonomy” on the basis of “one country, two systems.”Over the past two decades, major outbreaks of unrest in Hong Kong have followed attempts by Beijing to impose unwanted measures that violate this bargain. Large-scale protests beat back Beijing-directed legislative proposals dealing with sedition in 2003, national education in 2012 and extradition last year. The Umbrella Movement protests of 2014 succeeded in stymieing Beijing’s proposed revisions to Hong Kong’s system for selecting its chief executive, but protesters’ demands for universal suffrage and an open nomination process were rejected.Many Hong Kongers consider this interference a violation of the promised autonomy built into the terms of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. This interference reinforces fears that the city will lose its autonomy entirely after 2047, the end point of commitments made under the Joint Declaration.With only limited and inadequate democratic mechanisms at their disposal, Hong Kongers have developed a vibrant and increasingly militant protest culture as a primary means for exercising political influence.
China can still salvage one country, two systems in Hong Kong – heres how
Autonomy or independence?Efforts to steer Hong Kong toward greater integration with the mainland have backfired, undermining trust in Beijing’s promise of a “high degree of autonomy.” The result is an ongoing cycle of radicalization. The focal point for many protesters has moved away from any one particular issue to focus on the fundamental status of Hong Kong’s relationship to China. Growing numbers of people are questioning why they should keep their side of the bargain – accepting Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. According to a recent Reuters poll, 17% of Hong Kongers express outright support for independence from China, while another 20% express dissatisfaction with the “one country, two systems” model. Moreover, 59% of respondents said they supported the recent protests and over one-third had themselves attended a protest.According to a separate survey, support for eventual independence among young people approaches 40%. Many young people have also come to reject any “Chinese” identity in favor of a “Hong Kong” identity.The depth of discontent among Hong Kongers was reflected in the District Council elections held on Nov. 24. These low-level posts have traditionally been dominated by pro-Beijing political parties. The recent elections, however, brought a record turnout with pro-democratic parties winning close to 90% of contested positions. Beijing’s miscalculationTo blunt the growth of separatist sentiment in Hong Kong, Beijing must tackle what social scientists call a “commitment problem.” In any negotiation, each side will cooperate only if they believe that the other side is both willing and able to carry out any commitments made as part of the bargain. If either side believes the other side’s commitments lack credibility, then cooperation fails. What China needs to do now is show that it is committed to respecting the autonomy promises embodied in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.I believe the best way to do that is for Beijing to stop manipulating governance of the city. As long as selection of the chief executive and a majority of the Legislative Council lies in Beijing’s hands, it will be difficult for the mainland to resist meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs and for Hong Kongers to feel that autonomy offers them any real say over their fate.In other words, Beijing could undercut calls for independence and interrupt the cycle of mass protests by offering Hong Kongers the ability to select their leaders through free and fair elections.Beijing badly miscalculated in 2014 when it proposed electoral reforms that fell far short of the demands of Hong Kong’s pan-democratic camp, a coalition of parties that advocate universal suffrage. As a consequence, older, mainstream leaders lost control of the protest movement to younger, more militant activists. By 2019, young radicals resorted to violent street actions coupled with harsh anti-Beijing rhetoric. Yet a move toward democracy could still calm the waters provided the process allowed for genuine and effective local participation.This proposal may be far-fetched. Indeed, some accounts suggest that leaders in Beijing are laying plans to move in the opposite direction by taking more direct control over Hong Kong’s political and legal institutions. Moreover, Beijing worries that full democracy in Hong Kong might lead to demands for the same elsewhere in China.If a democratic solution to China’s Hong Kong problem appears unattractive to Beijing, the alternatives may be worse. The current cycle of provocation, protest, radicalization and rising separatism can lead to only one eventual result: a violent crackdown that would damage China’s reputation and leave it in costly occupation of a sullen and defiant population for a generation or more.[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * As Digital Earth gains momentum, China is setting the pace * Unrest in Latin America makes authoritarianism look more appealing to someDavid Skidmore does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Ireland Baldwin poses topless on Instagram to get out the vote | Page Six Celebrity News
October 23, 2020
DDaZ7sStE9g
Ariana Grande flaunts ‘Positions’ in sexy White House video | Page Six Celebrity News
October 23, 2020
mHAFoj58EbA
Gene Simmons kisses longtime LA home goodbye | Page Six Celebrity News
October 23, 2020
xB88qKuvU2k
Aloe Blacc: Live from My Den
October 23, 2020
-ol2cCTBZeI
Tyler Perry on Producing During the Pandemic and Weighing In on Politics
October 23, 2020
GCtEmmdmAz0
AT&T Reports Solid Third-Quarter Financial Results
October 22, 2020
6lRXJoeGtzo
Danny Trejo Says Ex-Cons Should Be Able to Vote, Rips Trump's Prison Reform | TMZ
October 24, 2020
XhKoXhS3fC0
Best of TMZ on TV This Week: 10/19 - 10/23
October 23, 2020
w6FVKfRQaRY
Sen. Schumer Says Let Voters Wear Candidate Tees to Polls, Guns a 'Bad Idea'
October 22, 2020
acze3hftFEc
Iggy Azalea Shares First Pics of Son Onyx, Reveals Split From Playboi Carti
October 25, 2020
n4xOqbo8Ii0
Demi Lovato's Defiant "Commander In Chief" Music Video: VidBits
October 25, 2020
gV7MPdFT0Yc
Happy Birthday Ciara!: Rewind | E! News
October 25, 2020
enbZJJwHEtQ
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
25
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Leicester City
25
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Verona
25
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Napoli
25
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Huesca
25
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Huesca
25
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Werder Bremen - Hoffenheim
25
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Arminia Bielefeld
25
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Newcastle United
25
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Granada CF
25
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Fiorentina - Udinese
25
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Everton
25
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Cadiz - Villarreal
25
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Spezia
25
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Alaves
25
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Crotone
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
24
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Madrid
24
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Schalke
24
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayern Munich - Eintracht Frankfurt
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Sheffield United
24
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Real Betis
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Manchester City
24
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
24
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Borussia Monchengladbach
24
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Union Berlin - SC Freiburg
24
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - Hertha Berlin
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Preston NE
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
QPR - Birmingham
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Bristol City - Swansea City
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Reading - Rotherham
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Bournemouth
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Cardiff City - Middlesbrough
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Coventry - Blackburn
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Luton
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Millwall - Barnsley
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Brentford
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Wycombe Wanderers
24
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Crystal Palace
24
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Bologna
24
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Eibar
24
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Osasuna - Athletic Bilbao
24
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Sampdoria
23
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Leeds
21
Oct
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group B
Inter Milan - Borussia Monchengladbach
21
Oct
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Ajax - Liverpool
20
Oct
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group H
PSG - Manchester United
20
Oct
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Ferencvaros
18
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Benevento
18
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - West Ham United
17
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Arsenal
17
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - AC Milan
17
Oct
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Arminia Bielefeld - Bayern Munich
17
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Southampton
17
Oct
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Manchester United
17
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Barcelona
17
Oct
ITALY: Serie A
Crotone - Juventus
17
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Cadiz
17
Oct
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Atletico Madrid
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.