Why Didn’t Britain Ever Give Democracy to Hong Kong?

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Great Britain is a democracy and a country dedicated to helping spread liberty around the world.

At least today. There used to be a time when Great Britain was not a friend to democracy. Indeed, there used to be a very undemocratic thing called the British Empire.

One of the last great British colonies was a city called Hong Kong. Hong Kong stayed under British control for far longer than its other colonies, and Hong Kong was still painted in the pink of the British Empire long after the rest of the empire was gone. Indeed, Hong Kong was still British long after the idea of empire began to be thought of as something very negative.

But there is something very strange about what the British did with Hong Kong, or rather what the British did not do. That is, for the longest time Great Britain never attempted to introduce democracy to Hong Kong. In the end, Hong Kong never did become a democracy under Great Britain. It is not a democracy today.

Now, this would be more easily explained if it happened before the Second World War. Before World War II, of course, it just wasn’t the European way to give democracy to their colonies. But Wikipedia’s page on Democratic development in Hong Kong doesn’t start until the 1980s. This was long after decolonization and the idea that empires were good. Indeed, the first elements of local autonomy in Hong Kong were introduced with the agreement to give back sovereignty of Hong Kong to China.

Why did Great Britain never make Hong Kong a democracy? Why didn’t it do this in the 1960s or 1970s? Why did it continue appointing bland British bureaucrats, who had never lived there and knew nothing about the place, to run Hong Kong? It seems that this failure has something to with the continuing British nostalgia of empire.

In America today people are not proud of America’s colonies. They’d rather forget it. You can talk to an American for a lifetime, and the subject of the Philippines will never come up. Indeed, the last time I actually talked with an American about American colonization escapes me. But talk with a British person long enough, and eventually the subject of the British Empire will always come up. Probably they’ll even speak in a half-nostalgic tone about the days of Britain’s glory. They’d do it again if they could.

Hong Kong’s political system today is a strange thing. People in Hong Kong vote in free and fair elections, they can protest and assembly, but the rules are bent so that ultimately only the Chinese government’s candidate can win. Yet, ironically, Hong Kong today is more democratic than it was during the vast majority (perhaps the totality) of its time under British rule. This is doubly ironic, because Great Britain is a democracy and China is not.

If Great Britain had had the option of ruling Hong Kong as long as it pleased, would Hong Kong today be a full democracy? Maybe not. Probably not.

Would Hong Kong even be as democratic as the not-really democracy it is today?

Probably so. But perhaps not. Even the “perhaps” is quite disturbing.

 

 

Why Didn’t Britain Ever Give Democracy to Hong Kong?

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Great Britain is a democracy and a country dedicated to helping spread liberty around the world.

At least today. There used to be a time when Great Britain was not a friend to democracy. Indeed, there used to be a very undemocratic thing called the British Empire.

One of the last great British colonies was a city called Hong Kong. Hong Kong stayed under British control for far longer than its other colonies, and Hong Kong was still painted in the pink of the British Empire long after the rest of the empire was gone. Indeed, Hong Kong was still British long after the idea of empire began to be thought of as something very negative.

But there is something very strange about what the British did with Hong Kong, or rather what the British did not do. That is, for the longest time Great Britain never attempted to introduce democracy to Hong Kong. In the end, Hong Kong never did become a democracy under Great Britain. It is not a democracy today.

Now, this would be more easily explained if it happened before the Second World War. Before World War II, of course, it just wasn’t the European way to give democracy to their colonies. But Wikipedia’s page on Democratic development in Hong Kong doesn’t start until the 1980s. This was long after decolonization and the idea that empires were good. Indeed, the first elements of local autonomy in Hong Kong were introduced with the agreement to give back sovereignty of Hong Kong to China.

Why did Great Britain never make Hong Kong a democracy? Why didn’t it do this in the 1960s or 1970s? Why did it continue appointing bland British bureaucrats, who had never lived there and knew nothing about the place, to run Hong Kong? It seems that this failure has something to with the continuing British nostalgia of empire.

In America today people are not proud of America’s colonies. They’d rather forget it. You can talk to an American for a lifetime, and the subject of the Philippines will never come up. Indeed, the last time I actually talked with an American about American colonization escapes me. But talk with a British person long enough, and eventually the subject of the British Empire will always come up. Probably they’ll even speak in a half-nostalgic tone about the days of Britain’s glory. They’d do it again if they could.

Hong Kong’s political system today is a strange thing. People in Hong Kong vote in free and fair elections, they can protest and assembly, but the rules are bent so that ultimately only the Chinese government’s candidate can win. Yet, ironically, Hong Kong today is more democratic than it was during the vast majority (perhaps the totality) of its time under British rule. This is doubly ironic, because Great Britain is a democracy and China is not.

If Great Britain had had the option of ruling Hong Kong as long as it pleased, would Hong Kong today be a full democracy? Maybe not. Probably not.

Would Hong Kong even be as democratic as the not-really democracy it is today?

Probably so. But perhaps not. Even the “perhaps” is quite disturbing.

 

 

'Chairman Steele, Afghanistan truth is taboo!'

For a brief and shining moment, well more or less just July 1 & 2, a major mainstream political leader told the truth everyone knows about Afghanistan: it's unwinnable. And he even held his ground for, like, a day. As a consequence, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele was attacked without mercy by both parties and all of official Washington. That's even though we all know Steele is right, and we all know our first priority, saving Afghan lives, and second priority, saving foreign soldier lives, mean we need to get international military forces quickly removed from Afghanistan. Here's Steele, taboo busting:

This was a war of Obama's choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in. . . .

It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, if he's such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.

Wow, refreshing, a normal person might at first react. Admittedly, you could question the beginning of the statement, since we all know Bush started the Afghan war; but it is also true that after deposing the Taliban Bush kept the war on low or simmer for the rest of his time in office. And Obama has turned the heat way up, doubling the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan (and unleashing McChrystal's assassination squads there, btw). In that reasonable benefit-of-the-doubt context, Steele's first two sentences above are accurate. But oh, what a second paragraph: right on Mr. Steele, and take that, warmongers!

As you'd expect, military-industrial complex and warmonger Republicans are on the anti-Steele warpath. And the other war party, the Democrats, are also attacking Steele, nearly accusing him of treason (yup, that sounds Bush-era familiar). As if we haven't known it for awhile, the party and President swooped into office by peacenik votes is also the other 'support the war or it'll make the troops feel bad' party:

There's more...

Should U.S. troops pull a Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacon in 'Avatar')?


Michelle Rodriquez as Trudy Chacon in 'Avatar'

It definitely seems morally right to side with the colonized against the colonizer and preemptive invader, the U.S. and the Western invaders now so nakedly aggressively imperialist toward the third world. NGOs' feeble cover stories notwithstanding, poor people and poor countries are there for the rich and powerful to exploit, otherwise they are ignored.

But much much better never to join the military as it is now, and I think 'Avatar' can be an impactful as hell anti-recruitment propaganda video for U.S. high school kids. You really don't want to join the corporate mercenary imperial shock troops burning down and blowing up native villages and all inside. Those are the bad guys, the assholes, the macho airheads, not the heroes.

But, the above interpretation of U.S. military conduct in the world, though the obvious one, requires wide social support, by you and me, especially all over the progressive blogs and whineytopia. We must counter the huge corporate media lie, the 'our troops are heroes' bullshit. Make it so my army of progressive and left bloggers!! Talk up Avatar's anti-colonial, pro-resistance, anti-U.S.-military-recruitment meaning everywhere your blogging selves reach.

24 Percent, in Avatar And Anti-Colonial Resistance, explains Michelle/Trudy joining the resistance, turning her guns on her former mercenary mates:

The Na'vi . . . win for real, sending the colonizers - represented by the corporate-military alliance of Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) and the K.I.A. Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) back to Earth at the barrels of guns or in pieces. But it isn't just theNa'vi sending the invaders away, the scientific team (Skully, Dr. Augustine, avatar guide and science dork Norm Spellman (Joel Moore), their military pilot Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez) and Dr. Max Patel (Dileep Rao)) joins the Na'vi very quickly. There is no discussion of non-violent resistance or any real attempt to negotiate, the intellectuals - including all the women and people of color among the humans - show no hesitation in siding with the the colonized against the colonizer and shooting humans. By the end of the film we have a clear division between the white male capitalist imperialists fighting ruthlessly for profit and everyone else siding with the indigenous Na'vi fighting to save their homeland. The best line in the movie is when Quaritch says to Skully in the heat of battle, "How does it feel to be a traitor to your race?" The film's answer is: Great! In this way, Trudy is perhaps the most interesting character. She's a member of the military, but through her contact with the scientists gains empathy for the Na'vi. She refuses to fire missiles at the natives' home, this is according to the traditional script. But what isn't is when she rapidly turns her guns on her fellow soldiers. There's no discussion of how she knows the men on the other side and has served with them, nothing about their wives and kids. She dies in combat, and there was never a question of an ethical third-way.

There's more...

Obama Surge War Porn

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Or
The Nobel War is Peace Prize

Or
U.S. soldier lives are less precious than Afghan civilian lives

Or
Obama is irrelevant

Or
An escalation nightmare survey, some of it maybe leading to deep background understanding of what the hell is going on

Big Tent Democrat (Armando at DailyKos) recites his careerist/loyalty oath to the Obamascalation, which includes this irresponsible and wrong statement:

Whatever happens going forward, I think it is irresponsible and wrong to argue the United States is there because it has imperial designs on Afghanistan.

Little me, not that this stuff isn't too f-ing easy, talks back to duh man:

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