There is no reason why an ethnic Chinese society cannot also be a democracy
Date: June 16, 2019
By: Gideon Rachman
In mainland China the memory of the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in 1989 is ruthlessly suppressed. But Hong Kong has been allowed to continue to mark the anniversary. That kind of freedom matters not just to the 7.4m inhabitants of Hong Kong. Potentially, it is also of great importance to the future of China itself.
Put simply, Hong Kong is acting as a guardian of China’s memory and of the hope that a more liberal China could one day replace the current one-party state. The “one country, two systems” arrangement put in place when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 has allowed the territory to continue to preserve vital freedoms, such as an independent judiciary and a free press.
Hong Kong is not a full democracy. Its chief executive is elected by a tiny group from a Beijing-approved list. But, nonetheless, since 1997 the territory has provided room for ideas, people and organisations banned from mainland China. I know of well-connected Beijing families who have taken their children to Hong Kong for the June 4 commemoration — just to ensure that the memory of Tiananmen is passed down through the generations. [FULL STORY]