Der er ingen chance for, at Kinas Kommunistparti vil ændre sin mening og tillade demokrati i Hongkong. Der er for meget på spil, som jeg skriver her.
Et af kravene fra studenterne er, at byens chefminister Leung Chun-ying skal træde tilbage. Men som flere af demonstranterne fortalte mig i løbet af ugen, hvad skal det nytte, for han vil blive erstattet af en mand eller kvinde, som også er udpeget af Beijing. Altså mere af det samme.
Så de to sider kunne næsten ikke stå længere fra hinanden. Derfor mener professor Steve Tsang fra University of Nottingham, at de bør finde et kompromis, som han skriver her i Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Leung is also adamant that he will not resign, as he restated late Thursday night, although the demand for his removal has become a rallying cry for protesters. He deserves to go, not least since he bears significant responsibility for allowing a peaceful protest to escalate through his Draconian policing attempt. But he is too wedded to his office to step down voluntarily, and Beijing will not remove him immediately for fear of encouraging Hong Kongers—or anyone else in China—to view civil unrest as a viable form of “democracy.” Beijing is likely to oust Mr. Leung eventually for his failure to maintain order, but will wait a decent interval to do so.
So rather than implicitly arguing with protesters about goals everyone knows are unobtainable, the government and protesters alike should focus on the more pressing issue of preserving the right to protest. The best way to achieve this would be for Mr. Leung to engage the protesters in civil discussions. But it’s also important to allow the protests to play themselves out.
By demonstrating a commitment to stand back and let the protests run their course, the government can reassure Hong Kongers that it has suppressed its initial instinct to quell the protests by force. Many of the more moderate protesters may then conclude that their civic duty is done for now and return home. In this scenario, the massive outpouring of public support could lose steam by Sunday evening.
Men resultatet kan også blive, at Hong Kong ender med at miste mange af de borgerretigheder, som indbyggerne har i dag, mener Nicholas Bequelin, der er researcher for Human Rights Watch. Han skriver her på China File, hvor der en god debat mellem Sebastian Veg, David Schlesinger, Fu Hualing. Her uddrag fra Bequelin:
The resulting situation is volatile. Two editorials from the People’s Daily published in recent days have made clear that at the moment Beijing is still hoping it can steamroll opposition in Hong Kong and close the chapter of trying to fulfill its obligation under Article 45 of the Basic Law to set a system by which the Chief Executive is designated “by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” (Article 45 of the Basic Law.)
It could then move to the next item on the Basic Law: the dreaded Article 23 anti-subversion law, which would almost certainly result in a dramatic decrease of political and civil liberties as well as freedom of information in the territory.
This will be at the back of the mind of the protest organizers as they meet with the government’s number two, Carrie Lam. But so it should be for C.Y. Leung himself: In 2003, facing a million-strong demonstration to oppose the passage of Article 23 anti-subversion legislation, then-Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa adamantly said he would not resign. One year later, he was gone.
For now, the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong are betting that they can wait out the demonstrators, counting on support among the general public to fade. Beijing could have its way, and C.Y Leung save his seat. Much will depend on how the protesters can maintain the momentum, presumably by uniting around one popular demand: that C.Y. Leung steps down. Whatever the result, the Hong Kong public will have demonstrated once more that their determination and courage to defend what we in the West take for granted: civil liberties and the rule of law.