Time for education reform in Hong Kong

Time for some long-term reforms in Hong Kong, especially in terms of education and responsible internet use, journalism and social media.

More immediately, attention is increasingly focusing on what many are describing as a terrorist cell in Hong Kong, numbering no more than a couple of thousand and funded by external (primarily US) forces. They are the ones escalating violence, calling themselves the ‘valiant‘ and following the script of a ‘colour non-revolution’. It would be better to call them the ‘neo-colonials’, since they want Hong Kong to be re-colonised by the UK or the USA.

Obviously, they and their sympathisers are a small minority in Hong Kong.

Further, more and more groups are urging the local government to invoke emergency legislation to ensure a return to the much-cherished Chinese values of stability, security and harmony. The latest is the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. Thus far, the local government has held off, since the regular police force has been very disciplined, patient and restrained, but it may yet do so – no secret here.

But I am interested in long-term reforms. One concerns changes to rules for responsible journalism and social media use, possibly drawing closer to the mainland’s model (which I strongly support).

Another concerns education, especially since parts of the school curriculum promote the corrosive effects of Western liberalism, leading to profound ignorance concerning Chinese history, culture and Marxism. On this matter, I have copied a piece of investigative journalism from the Global Times.

Hong Kong Education at Fault

Anti-government groups in Hong Kong have called for school strikes as the new semester begins on Monday, and a 12-year-old boy was found to be the youngest protester arrested at recent violent street clashes.

Parents, schoolteachers and experts are calling for deep reflection on what is wrong with the city’s education system.

While black-clad protesters returned to the streets for the 12th straight weekend, opposition forces have come up with new posters instigating university and secondary school students to join the strike from September 2 to September 13 as a way of pressuring the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government into responding to their so-called five demands.

School students are major groups in the anti-extradition bill protests of the past two months and the average age of those protesters appears lower than those who joined the 2014 Occupy Movement.

In some universities and across the city, the Global Times reporters saw that the Lennon Walls, a so-called space for free expression, encouragement and solidarity, are not only filled with messages advocating values, but also curses, nasty words and unimaginable illustrations.

More parents and school teachers are now looking into the question of why more teenagers go out and fight the government in the streets, and some even used violence as a means to protest.

Liberal studies blamed

Police have so far arrested 15 people under 16 years old for violent attacks, holding offensive weapons and unlawful assembly, according to the latest statistics provided by the Hong Kong Police Force at a press conference on Tuesday.

The youngest was 12, which was seen as shocking by the majority of Hongkongers. The protester had taken lethal weapons such as an iron branch when arrested.

Former HKSAR government chief executive Tung Chee-hwa criticized the liberal studies curriculum, introduced as compulsory for all upper secondary schools in July 2009, according to media reports.

Tung blamed the curriculum as one of the reasons for causing youth problems today.

The Global Times reporters talked with parents of secondary and college students over the past month. Some said they were shocked and saddened by problems in Hong Kong’s education system, which they think needed to be changed as soon as possible.

“We read one of the textbooks for liberal studies thoroughly a few years ago which included much anti-mainland content,” a Hong Kong resident told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

“The textbook is designed to strengthen student’s critical thinking, but without teaching them how to think in a rational and reasonable way.”

The mother of an 11-year-old student told the Global Times that her son was bullied in school as he came from the mainland.

The mother said she worried that bullying would worsen in the new semester as she heard “many teachers from the school participated in anti-government protests.”

The mother said she was disappointed with Hong Kong’s education system and was considering transferring her son back to adjacent Guangdong Province.

There are two types of liberal studies textbooks: One is provided by the publisher and one is decided by schools, and some schools may adopt both publishers’ textbooks and its own teaching materials, a teacher of liberal studies surnamed Wong told the Global Times.

“Because it usually lacks a review mechanism for those textbooks, it depends on the head of the liberal studies department of each school to decide how to teach students,” he said.

If a teacher intends to influence his students with his own political views, it is easy to do through the curriculum, he said.

Although there is no evidence that the rising violence of teenagers amid anti-government protests is directly related to liberal studies, there are reports suggesting that some teachers, with their biased political positions, have seriously affected their students, who are likely to be aggressive on social issues.

The mother of the 11-year-old said the teacher of her son had played so-called documentaries about China’s alleged “tyranny,” which frightened many in the class into tears.

She said her son was isolated by other students when he said students should not get too involved in politics.

In one textbook published by Ming Pao Publications Ltd, there are more than 10 topics about current issues including the National Anthem Law in Hong Kong and the debate about the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

While those topics lead to open questions, the textbook suggests answers with more negative than positive arguments.

For instance, on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the textbook offers arguments that the mainland would not be a suitable place for Hongkongers due to its lack of freedom of information, food safety and divergences in values.

Tang Fei, a principal at Hong Kong’s Heung To Secondary School (Tseung Kwan O), told the Global Times that when Hong Kong had not been “fully de-colonized” and the entire society including ordinary people and the media have “not established a complete understanding of the country, students can easily have a favorable impression of British colonial times.

Youngsters’ understanding of this period of history, Tang noted, “may be reinforced through “open” liberal studies. Therefore they hardly recognize their national identity, he said.

Teachers the key

Hong Kong student Wang Yiming took Hong Kong’s Diploma of Secondary Education Examination this summer and has been enrolled at Peking University.

Wang told the Global Times that the liberal studies materials he read have indeed helped Hong Kong students understand the mainland, including achievements such as the Belt and Road Initiative as well as economic development and problems such as environmental pollution and income gap.

He believed teachers of general education are the key.

“Teachers’ stance can easily influence us,” Wang said. “If they simply belittle the mainland and focus on bad things in the mainland, students will accept their views unconsciously and have a negative impression of the mainland.”

But only a minority of teachers would do that, Wang said.

The position of faculties who teach general education “should be diversified rather than being taken by politically radical staff for a long time,” Tang said.

Tang said that political subjects involve extensive professional knowledge of politics and law, “which could be beyond the understanding of teenagers.” The political subjects enlighten an untimely interest in politics among young people, “like sexual precocity,” he explained.

The term “national education” has been demonized in Hong Kong, he said. Primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong should teach the Chinese mainland curriculum as students should learn a solid foundation of basic values at schools, Tang believed.

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Hong Kong: a failed palace coup by spoilt rich kids

Palace coup: when a disgruntled section of the ruling class attempts to seize power. This assumes that it no longer has power, but in the past used to have it.

I have drawn the term from Ernst Bloch and it describes very well what has been happening in Kong Kong. How so?

Let me begin with a certain Nathan Law, a leader of the protests, riots and violence in Hong Kong, who jetted off to Yale University while urging others to stay on the streets. Less than impressed, many young Chinese in Hong Kong began a series of takes on his brave act.

‘I go to Yale, you go to jail‘ is one.

‘Blockheads boycott lectures, but I must first go to class’ is another, as in the following:

Such elitism is always popular:

But underlying this effort by spoilt rich kids is the reality that Hong Kong’s moneyed elite has lost the power it once had. The cosy deal with British imperial governors, who never allowed street protests let alone any type of parliament, is over. Now there is a parliament, elections and way more free expression. So they are anxious and worried, as this article points out.

And who is out on the streets, waving US and British colonial era flags, calling on the UK to restore the colonial past, if not urging Donald Trump – believe it or not – to ‘liberate’ Hong Kong?

Spoilt rich kids and those they have duped. They are mightily annoyed they will not have the influence once enjoyed by their parents.

Problem is that it is not working, despite the deliberate misinformation being peddled in a small number of former colonial countries (known as the West). Most people in Hong Kong are singularly unimpressed, and as for the rest of the mainland, they can see right through it. As can most people outside the old colonial cabal.

Now, the Hong Kong government is in control and busy charting a way forward, and we can expect a spate of reforms to secure Hong Kong’s future and minimise the corrosive effects of Western liberalism. Meanwhile, it will need to learn to play second fiddle to nearby Shenzhen, which has been designated as a model socialist city to drive the economic powerhouse of the Pearl River delta.

 

 

 

 

476,000 people rally in Hong Kong to say “no” to violence

‘I love Hong Kong’

‘Hong Kong is part of China forever’

‘I support Hong Kong police’

‘The five-star red banner has 1.4 billion defenders’

‘Say “no” to violence’

These and more were slogans used on banners and in chants at a rally of 476,000 people in Hong Kong today (17 August). These regular rallies gain more and more participants on each occasion, indicating that the tide has turned against the relatively small number of masked, black-clad perpretators of the violence (who use home-made spears, petrol bombs, corrosive liquids, lethal slingshots and much more, having thus far injured 5,139 police officers).

A couple of pictures, but you can find the full stories here and here.

Also worthy of note is a rally of 3,000 in Sydney, Australia, also saddened by the violence and supporting Hong Kong as part of China forever.

Finally, if you are into these things, you can find what is trending on Chinese social media (which of course includes Hong Kong). Many have repeated the items with which I began, especially the one by Hong Kong resident and Global Times reporter, Fu Guohao, who had his hands and feet tied and was beaten up at Hong Kong airport. As he was surrounded, he said, ‘I support the Hong Kong police. You can beat me now’. The moment happened to be videoed and went viral.

Truth from facts in regard to Hong Kong: Liu Xiaoming (Chinese ambassador to UK)

‘Seek truth from facts’ was one of Deng Xiaoping’s key positions, and it is well worth remembering in relation to Hong Kong. Below is an articulate, sharp and factual statement from Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the UK. It has been published in full in the People’s Daily.

Reiterating that the Central Government has enough solutions and enough power within the limits of the Basic Law to quell any unrest, Chinese Ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming, called for media from home and abroad to report the Hong Kong issue in a just and objective manner during a press conference at the Chinese Embassy on Thursday.

During the conference, Liu provided materials from different sources on the current situation in Hong Kong, with a short video clip showing protesters attack Hong Kong police and the public’s negative opinions towards these acts of violence, which are heavily neglected by the Western media. Following is the full text of the opening remarks given by the Ambassador:

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Press Conference at the Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy, 15 August 2019

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning! Welcome to the Chinese Embassy.

On 3 July, I held a press conference here to answer questions about the amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws and to explain China’s position. For more than a month since then, the opposition in Hong Kong and some radical forces have continued to use their opposition to the amendments as an excuse for various types of radical street protests. The violence involved has escalated and the damage to the society has expanded. The movement has gone way beyond free assembly and peaceful protests. It is posing a severe challenge to law and order in Hong Kong, threatening the safety of life and property of the Hong Kong people, undermining the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and challenging the principled bottom line of “One Country, Two Systems”. As a result, Hong Kong now faces the gravest situation since its handover.

A handful of extreme radicals have been undermining rule of law, social order and “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong. But they have taken cover under the so-called “pro-democracy movement” to hide their real intention and to whitewash their disruptive actions. This “neo-extremism” is both highly deceptive and destructive. The “neo-extremists” stormed the Legislative Council Complex, attacked the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, assaulted police officers and brought Hong Kong airport to a standstill by illegal assembly. Their moves are severe and violent offences, and already show signs of terrorism. The Central Government of China would never allow a few violent offenders to drag Hong Kong down a dangerous abyss. We would never allow anyone to harm the rule of law and sound development in Hong Kong. We would never allow anyone to undermine “One Country, Two Systems” at any excuse. Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further into unrests uncontrollable for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Central Government would not sit on its hands and watch. We have enough solutions and enough power within the limit of the Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly.

This is a critical moment for Hong Kong. How will this end? This question is in the mind of all those who care about the future of Hong Kong. It is also hitting headlines and making “cover stories” in British media. Our answer to this question is firm and clear: We hope this will end in an orderly way. In the meantime, we are fully prepared for the worst. So how will this end in an orderly way? I think the following four points are extremely important.

First, the priority now is to support the SAR Government in ending violence and restoring order. I hope that Hong Kong people, especially the young people who have been led astray, would have a clear understanding of the current situation in Hong Kong and cherish the sound development of Hong Kong after the handover, which has not come by easily. I hope they will keep the big picture in mind, rally behind the Chief Executive and the SAR Government, uphold rule of law and justice in Hong Kong, and safeguard national unification as well as Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. Hong Kong people from all walks of life must refuse to be used or coerced by the radical forces. They should say “no” to all violence and lawlessness. They should support the SAR Government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with law, and support the Hong Kong police in strict and rigorous enforcement.

Second, the violent offenders must be brought to justice in accordance with law. It is the basic requirement of the rule of law that all laws must be observed and all offenders must be held accountable. The violent and lawless perpetrators must be brought to justice no matter who they are or however hard they try to whitewash their actions. If anyone in this country questions this point, let me ask them this: Would the UK allow extremists to storm the Palace of Westminster or damage its facilities, and get away with it? Would the UK give permission for attacking police officers with lethal weapons or set fire to the police station without any punishment? Would the UK allow so-called pro-democracy rioters to occupy the airport, obstruct traffic, disturb social order or threaten the safety of people’s life and property? Aren’t all these regarded as crimes in the UK?

Indulging lawlessness is tantamount to blaspheming against justice. Conniving in violence is tantamount to trampling on the rule of law. No country under the rule of law, no responsible government, would sit back and watch as such violence rages on. The Central Government of China firmly supports the SAR Government and Hong Kong police in strict, rigorous and decisive enforcement, so as to bring the offenders to justice as soon as possible and uphold the rule of law and social order in Hong Kong.

Third, foreign forces must stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs. Evidence shows that the situation in Hong Kong would not have deteriorated so much had it not been for the interference and incitement of foreign forces. Some Western politicians and organisations have publicly or covertly given various types of support to the violent radicals, and tried to interfere in the judicial independence of Hong Kong and obstruct Hong Kong police from bringing the violent offenders to justice.

I want to reiterate here that Hong Kong is part of China; no foreign country should interfere in Hong Kong affairs. We urge those foreign forces to respect China’s sovereignty and security, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop conniving in violent offences. They should not misjudge the situation and go down the wrong path. Otherwise, they will “lift the stone only to drop it on their own feet”.

Fourth, the media must shoulder due social responsibilities. Since what happened in Hong Kong, I have to say, the Western media have failed to play a credible role. Instead of reporting the situation in a just and objective manner, they have confused right and wrong, given unbalanced account and misled the public. There has been massive coverage on so-called “right to peaceful protest” but few reports on the violent offences by the extreme radicals such as disruption of social order, attacks on police officers and injuries to bystanders. There has not been a word about the extensive public support for the SAR Government and for restoring law and order in Hong Kong. The lawless and violent offenders who undermine rule of law are whitewashed and named “pro-democracy activists” in media reports. But the legitimate law enforcement measures of the SAR Government and the police to uphold law and order and protect life and property of the people are labeled “repression”.

Such selective reporting and distortion have resulted in the prevalence of wrong information and have misled the public, especially young people in Hong Kong. It is fair to say that Western media have inescapable responsibility for the current situation in Hong Kong!

I sincerely hope that Western media would reflect on the social impact of their reporting, shoulder due social responsibilities, and report the situation in Hong Kong in a just and objective manner. I hope they would stop speaking up for the extreme violent offenders, refrain from pouring oil over the flame in Hong Kong, and foster a sound environment of public opinion so that law and order could be restored in Hong Kong.

“Order fosters prosperity while unrest brews regress.” Given what is happening in Hong Kong, this ancient Chinese teaching cannot be more relevant.

It is in the interests of both China and the international community including the UK to have a prosperous and stable Hong Kong, where over three hundred thousand British citizens live and work, and where three hundred British companies are doing business.

I sincerely hope that people from all walks of life in the UK will have a clear understanding of the big picture, act in the interest of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and refrain from saying or doing anything that interferes in Hong Kong’s affairs or undermines rule of law in Hong Kong. I am confident that with the support of the Central Government of China and under the leadership of the SAR Government and Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong will bring violence to an end and restore law and order at an early date. Hong Kong, the “oriental pearl”, will once again shine brightly.

Lest we forget: the Red Army defeated fascism in the Second World War

One of the gains about taking one’s time in east Germany is that we are reminded of a simple fact: the Soviet Red Army defeated fascism in the Second World War.

The background: over 400 divisions battled on a 1600 km front for four years, compared to 15 each for the Germans and allies on the western front at its most intense time. 88% of German military dead fell on the eastern front, and the battle that first broke the Wehrmacht was Kursk, in July and August of 1943. Here the Soviets showed everyone how to beat a blitzkrieg – with a meticulously planned, flexible and in-depth defence. This was followed by Operation Bagration in Byelorussia, in June-August 1944, when the Red Army inflicted on the Wehrmacht the greatest defeat in German military history. By comparison, the contribution on the western front was a sideshow.

How is at least some of this remembered in east Germany? Many towns have memorials to Red Army soldiers who fell. I have earlier provided some images from the extraordinary Treptower Park in Berlin, but the following come from Frankfurt (Oder), Eisenhüttenstadt and Gartz.

Why more and more people are looking to work with and in China

 

An intriguing article from Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover. He obviously has an immediate business interest, but the long-term experience of engaging with China also presents a broader picture. Note especially the comments on his daughter, who is working in Shanghai and finds Chinese medical research and technology the more advanced than anywhere else. Copied from the People’s Daily.

I visited China for the first time in the early 1980s. Back then, China had just started reforming and opening up, and was in an early stage of accelerated urban construction. There were not many cars, but the people there, many of whom were riding bikes on the streets, were showing energy in their eyes.

About 10 years later, I went to China again. The country was showing even greater signs of change, with a rapid development of infrastructure. The living standard of the Chinese people was improving everywhere you looked. There was a tremendous momentum all throughout the country.

To put it simply: one noticed right away that the roads were wider, and that automobiles were getting more affordable for average families. I started to realize that, as China’s automobile market took off, the country was seeing huge market demand. This demand would soon make China the world’s fastest-growing and largest auto market.

Subsequent visits to China gave me a more comprehensive understanding of the country’s development potential. After I became the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover in 2010, I immediately led the company to enter the Chinese market. We soon achieved leapfrog growth after entering what had indeed become the world’s largest auto market.

We started cooperation with China’s Chery Automobile Co., Ltd to produce automobiles and engines. So far, we have set up offices in four Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, employing over 6,000 staff and authorizing 245 dealers across the country. I continue to be hugely optimistic about the Chinese market, and look forward to finding out what the future will hold.

As a witness of – and participant in – the miracle of China’s development, I am amazed by the spectacular progress achieved since the foundation of the modern nation. My daughter also developed a strong interest in China, under my influence. After she came to see it firsthand, she was immediately attracted by the dynamism and charm of the country. Now she is a doctor serving an internship in Shanghai.

As I started to learn more about this country, I came to understand why young people around the world are yearning to engage with it. My daughter often tells me that being a doctor in Shanghai means working at the forefront of medical science and having access to the world’s most advanced technologies.

This is true. It only took a few decades for China to become one of the leading countries in medical science, and ‘miracle’ has become the most frequently used word to describe China.

China has not only achieved economic development, but also advanced technological progress and an open and inclusive culture. The country is promoting world peace and development through dialogue and cooperation.

In recent years, China has lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty annually; it is seeing rapid expansion of the middle-income group, which is resulting in a growing set of expectations for the country from the world.

I believe China’s development is not only quantitative, but also qualitative. The country is leading the world in multiple areas and becoming one of the most attractive destinations on offer. Young graduates from many countries hope to work in China and get involved in the great tide of the country’s development.

Rather than focusing on only its own development, China also hopes to promote shared progress across the world. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) being implemented by the country has created a great opportunity for global economic prosperity. Today, the joint construction of the BRI is yielding rich developmental fruit.

In particular, the initiative is rapidly improving the infrastructure of participating countries. Infrastructure is an accelerator of commercial development, and the Belt and Road countries are seeing the benefits from it already.

Culturally, joint construction of the BRI has significantly boosted understanding and inclusiveness among different civilizations and diverse cultures. The BRI advocates for the principle of seeking shared benefits through consultation and collaboration, which not only helps innovation and fosters mutual understanding, but also improves the livelihood of the people. Besides, it also bears huge significance for promoting peaceful development.

We, as multinational enterprises, welcome the application of such principles. In our industry, the ideals being upheld by the BRI ultimately facilitate the international auto trade and the trade in auto parts. Only by sticking to this kind of reciprocal cooperation can enterprises achieve long-term development.

More reason to support China’s promotion of human rights in Xinjiang

The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China recently released a white paper called ‘Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang‘.

Well worth a read, since it reveals why developing countries, and especially Islamic countries understand and support the very successful measures in Xinjiang to curb the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism. The following article from The Global Times explains why:

China on Friday released a white paper on vocational education and training in Xinjiang. For the past two years, the vocational education and training centers have been the focus of debate on Xinjiang affairs. Western countries have been fiercely critical, while developing countries, including Islamic nations, have shown a general understanding and support.

Through a thorough review of the white paper, it is clear why Islamic countries support the facilities, and why they receive more significant approval worldwide amid adverse reports from Western media.

A closer examination of the white paper shows the following reasons why the vocational education and training centers are valuable.

First, they were created based on facts, while providing an objective and powerful response to the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Terrorism and extremism used to run rampant in Xinjiang. As mentioned in the white paper, there had been thousands of terrorist incidents including bombs, assassinations and poisonings from 1990-2016.

Violent terrorist attacks are spiritually instigated and supported by extremism and too powerful and complicated to be addressed by the general rule of law. As a result, vocational education and training centers serve as the best solution to solving this problem at its root. The facilities are a manifestation of the times.

Second, the centers are nothing like the depictions from Western media that have referred to them as “detention camps” that torture specific ethnic minorities. The centers have become a life school for the trainees and a place where they learn vital knowledge on laws and standard Chinese language while mastering one or two vocational skills. The centers provide possibilities for many impoverished trainees who were infected by extremism and have now reshaped their livelihoods. Undoubtedly, the centers will continue to change the fate of many poor people in Xinjiang.

Third, the centers are managed with care. They provide trainees with ideal conditions and are an improvement for those from impoverished places. Besides, the centers are not “closed learning” facilities. Even though they function as boarding schools, trainees are allowed to go home regularly, request time off, and communicate freely with the outside world.

Fourth, as a key governance measure in Xinjiang in recent years, the centers have achieved more than initially expected. So far, many trainees have already graduated. In doing so, not only have they strengthened their abilities to resist extremism but have also secured employment. In nearly three consecutive years, there has been no violent terrorist attack in Xinjiang, which is mainly due to the vocational education and training centers.

When looking back on recent years, the centers haven’t been crushed by the enormous pressure placed on them by Western opinion, and instead, have become even better. It shows that as long as a cause is based on facts and benefits majority of the people, it can experience continuous development.

The West-dominated discourse targeting the centers is similar to an iron curtain. But progress has been achieved in the communication over the centers. Attacks of the West have not extended beyond public opinion and went pale in the face of transparent progress by the Chinese side. Besides, the US and other Western countries have been unable to convince Islamic nations to join them to oppose the Xinjiang governance. China has gradually gained the initiative.

It’s fair to say China has conducted its most difficult human rights debate with the US and other Western countries in recent years, securing a glorious victory. China won as its efforts in Xinjiang have been pragmatic and based on facts. Proper governance has been implemented for the wellbeing of all ethnic groups in the region, rather than an attempt to win laud from the US and other Western nations. By adhering to this principle and moving forward, China has received more recognition from the international community, while its opponents are destined to become further isolated.

 

Posted in: EDITO

The tide is turning against the masked mob violence in Hong Kong

As the masked mob spreads violence in Hong Kong, the tide is clearly turning against such acts.

Local newspapers recently ran a front page statement, headed ‘Hong Kong has had enough of it‘.

International observers are noticing how the black-clad and masked perpetrators use petrol bombs, rocks, air-guns and others means to attack visitors, reporters, citizens and police. The vast majority of Hong Kong residents want a return to peace and stability.

There are calls to revise the educational curricula, which are still infused with too much Western liberal popaganda, as well as insuring that socialist rule of law prevails.

And we cannot forget the crucial long-term role played by a handful of former colonisers in interfering with Chinese sovereignty. Needless to say, the demands for an end to such violations of sovereignty are perfectly understandable.

Throughout it all, it is noticeable that China will continue on its own path and not be swayed by external pressures. Thus, the ‘one country – two systems’ approach is being rigorously upheld. This applies even to the possible deployment of Hong Kong’s PLA garrison. On this matter, I have copied the article below from The Global Times.

Even if the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison is deployed to maintain social order in Hong Kong, the “one country, two systems” approach will not be damaged, said a Chinese expert.

The remark was made by Han Dayuan, a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, at a press briefing held by the Information Office of the State Council on Thursday.

Citing the law that governs the PLA Hong Kong Garrison, Han said that the Hong Kong regional government could ask the central government to allow the PLA garrison in Hong Kong to help maintain social order and carry out disaster relief missions when necessary.

Han also cited Article 18 of the Basic Law, which reads: In the event that the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress decides to declare a state of war or, by reason of turmoil within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which endangers national unity or security and is beyond the control of the government of the Region, decides that the Region is in a state of emergency, the Central People’s Government may issue an order applying the relevant national laws in the Region.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is entitled to judge, decide and declare on a state of emergency, Han stressed, noting that there are strict standards.

Exercising these laws would not mean the failure of “one country, two systems,” because the meaning of ruling Hong Kong by law is to safeguard national sovereignty, Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and Hong Kong residents’ rights and freedom through the rule of law, Han said.

“One country” comes first in “one country, two systems,” and the start point of “one country, two systems” is the unity and dignity of the country, Han said.

Non-political elections

In Engels’s key work, ‘Dell’ Autorità’, which was originally published in Italian in the midst of the struggle with the Anarchists (who were popular in Italy) and their ‘anti-authoritarian’ push. Engels writes: ‘All socialists are agreed that the political state [Stato politico], and with it political authority [l’autorità politica], will disappear [scompariranno] as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions [funzioni pubbliche] will lose their political character [carattere politico]’. But what, exactly, does political character mean?

The answer is simple enough: by political character both Engels and Marx mean the reality of class struggle and its manifestation in the state. Thus, the manifesto observes, immediately after mentioning the political character of public Gewalt absorbed into the state: ‘Political Gewalt, properly so called, is merely the organised Gewalt of one class for oppressing another’. I do not need to reiterate the details of Engels’s work on the state as a separated public power here (emphasis on separated), except to point out that if public Gewalt – with the senses of power, force and even violence – loses its political character, it ceases to be a manifestation and instrument of class struggle and thus coercion. Clearly, public Gewalt is not necessarily separated from society, for it may take other forms.

The formulation may be relatively simple, but the implications are far-reaching. On this matter at least, Marx offers a couple of hints, of which the second is the most interesting.

In his cryptic notes on Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy, Marx refers to what may be called non-political elections. How is this possible? Are not elections inherently political? This is so for those who have been indoctrinated by the Western liberal tradition, in which elections are the manifestation of regulated class conflict within the bourgeois state. So let us see what Marx suggests, all too briefly. He begins by pointing out that the character of an election depends in its ‘economic foundation [ökonomischen Grundlage]’, on the ‘economic interrelations [ökonomischen Zusammenhängen] of the voters’. That is, if economic relations are antagonistic, and if classes have formed and are engaged in class struggle, then elections will be ‘political’. What if this situation does not apply and economic relations are not antagonistic? Then ‘the functions have ceased to be political [die Funktionen aufgehört haben, politisch zu sein]’.

Marx then specifies the sense in which he uses politisch, or, rather, its absence. First, there are ‘no ruling functions [keine Regierungsfunktion]’. I have stressed the sense of rule and reign that are part of the semantic field of Regierung, since ‘government’ or even ‘administration’ (also senses of the word) are too weak and do not capture Marx’s sense. This meaning appears in the second point: ‘the distribution of general functions has become a routine matter [Geschäftssache] which entails no domination [keine Herrschaft]’. By this point, Marx is not speaking about the period of the proletarian dictatorship, but afterwards, when antagonistic contradictions have ceased. Now we come to third point, where he observes: ‘elections have nothing [hat nichts] of today’s political character [politischen Charakter]’. If political character means what pertains to antagonistic economic relations and class conflict, characteristic of the bourgeois state and its electoral system, then without that context, elections will lose, will have nothing of the political character of today – not only in Marx’s context where the bourgeois state was gradually being implemented across Western Europe, but also in those parts of the world today that are influenced by this tradition, either in Europe itself or in some of its former colonies.

Do non-political elections already take place today? Let me offer an example drawn from elections in China. Elections are held more regularly than in bourgeois states, both direct and indirect. Thus,  elections internal to the Communist Party are held at all local branches. In a village, in a small company, in a school – wherever there are three or more party members a branch is formed and elections are held for local posts, especially the local branch secretary. Why three? Only then can you have elections to such a post. In society as a whole, elections are held for the local National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC). These elections are held annually, are direct and include candidates from all nine political parties.

At higher levels – from the provincial to the national – elections are indirect. That is, people are elected from the lower and local bodies, and are subject to assessment as to whether they have the appropriate skills and experience. Thus, the national NPC and CPPCC require significant electoral processes each year. Thousands of representatives from across the country, from all classes, minority nationalities, religious groups and other sectors of society, are elected to the two bodies. I cannot go into more detail here, but the question remains: do these elections have a political character? No, for the system is known as a ‘multi-party cooperation and political consultative system [duodang hezuo he zhengzhi xieshang zhidu]’, which designates that the system of elections that is not based on class conflict but on non-antagonistic relations among the different groups and their representatives.

Thus, in many respects elections have already lost their political character in China.