by Li Ping
Yesterday, Carrie Lam said the government will table the amendment bill to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system to the Legislative Council (LegCo), which will hold a special meeting next Wednesday for the first reading. Under the Party’s leadership, the executive and legislative in Hong Kong are fully cooperative, and Lam finally has some items she could use to boast about the increase of governing effectiveness. Astonishingly, she, with her modest experience of “running” in the Chief Executive “election,” ridiculed the others for “not understanding essence of elections and democracy.” Lam has participated in just one game within a clique. Can it even be called an election experience? I wonder if her essence of elections and democracy is in Chinese, western, or Lam style?
During the LegCo’s Question and Answer Session yesterday, Lam took the initiative and mentioned the specific items the proposed new bill needs to deal with, including the definition of the Election Committee sub-sectors and the composition of the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee, etc. “The SAR government will take measures to deal with election manipulation and sabotage in accordance with the law,” she said. The sub-sectors of the Election Committee, the LegCo candidate eligibility review, and the process of seeking nominations have all been specifically defined by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC). So the Executive Council and LegCo will no doubt pass the bill swiftly. All the questions raised by the local opinion and international community mean nothing to them.
But getting “carrie-d” away is the nature of Lam. She feels the Hong Kong national security law and electoral system reform has given her double protection, so she no longer has to tolerate any doubt from the public on elections and anti-pandemic actions. Emily Lau, the former Democratic Party chairperson, had spoken during an interview earlier that having to seek the nominations from the five sectors of the Election Committee in order to join the LegCo election is “humiliating.” Lam retorted yesterday that, when she ran for the Chief Executive role four years ago, although knowing more than 300 members of the Election Committee would not nominate her, she still explained her vision to them in a humble manner. “It was not a pleasant experience,” she said, but she never felt humiliated. Those who said striving for nominations was humiliating “do not understand the essence of elections and democracy,” she argued.
The Chief Executive election is a game within the clique. It is logical and reasonable for the candidates to seek nominations from the members of the Election Committee, the “voters.” But Lam said it was “not a pleasant experience.” Is she not happy about the Chinese-style election? The LegCo election is a parliamentary election, which has a set of universal guidelines used by the international community. There are provisions in the International Bill of Human Rights, signed by Hong Kong and China, that said elections should be universal and equal. If the LegCo candidates have to seek nominations from the citizens, no one has felt and will feel unpleasant or humiliated. But if they have to seek nominations from the CCP and the clique appointed by the Hong Kong pro-CCP officials, and the voters can only choose among the candidates selected by the clique, it would be like eating a burger they have already chewed on. Is that not a violation of the citizens’ right to vote and the right to stand for election, and humiliation to the election candidates and the voters?
If the guidelines of a western-style election are universal and equal, and that of a Chinese-style election are the Party’s leadership, “I decide for my people,” then a Lam-style election would be a slave-style election, with the guidelines of obeying the Party’s commands. The candidates should feel proud instead of humiliated when having to go through the selection and supervision of the CCP. Also, the intentions of the voters need to be monitored and restricted. Lam declared they will take measures to deal with election manipulation and sabotage, which was obviously aiming at the recent public discussion on whether people should cast a blank vote or not voting at all.
Having the mentality of a slave, Lam poses as the “good fighter” when dealing with domestic issues but continues to slack on handling foreign affairs. She claimed to be furious about the foreign press and overseas governments smearing Hong Kong, and the overseas offices would continue to respond and rebuke reports they regarded as wrong. Lam does not know whether the letters are effective, but they are being done for the record. This Lam style of protesting against western democracy has no other function but to show her master she is doing her job.
What Lam best at is contradicting herself. She declared that Hong Kong is a pluralistic society and not “monophonic,” and the government listens and accepts public opinion genuinely. On the other hand, she criticized the opposition for being disruptive during LegCo meetings and constantly going after her, which, she said, had wasted the meeting time, and nothing got done. It seems that Lam is after the exterior of western-style democracy that listens to public opinion, but a Chinese-style “I decide for my people” democracy behind the facade.
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