The NPC Offer: The Reaction from Tamar and Beyond 人大方案:添馬集會的反思

按:原刊於 Asia Sentinel Monday ,英文原文在上,譯文在下。譯文由 Sally 提供。

“Like thousands of others, I’m disappointed by the harsh, narrow and restrictive terms of democracy offered by Beijing”, read the message, “so I joined the Tamar protest to call for greater democracy”.

Another friend wrote of “sharing the genuine disappointment everyone feels with Beijing’s offer”. Another sent me a photograph of the government posters calling on people to vote as “laughable”. What makes all these comments so surprising is that this is the private reaction of those who support the establishment position; people frightened by and who have been vocally against both Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP) and the Pan-democrats.

As I read the document outlining the NPC Standing Committee proposed framework for electoral reform, I felt as irritated by the way the proposal was dressed as what it stated. To propose a framework that is more restrictive to democratic candidates, that would in effect rule out such a candidate from even running a campaign, let alone contesting an election, and to say this is representative of the views of Hong Kong people is both dishonest and disrespectful of the Hong Kong people.

As with the antics of the anti-occupy Alliance for Peace and Democracy, the document seems designed not to be understood from Hong Kong but from the Mainland. The emphasis on presenting the framework as being a result of consultation and of reflecting the majority views of Hong Kong people just does not pass muster in the territory itself, where even the pro-establishment camps must play the democratic card. The debate in Hong Kong has never been to debate democracy on principle, but to debate the form it should take.

Let us be very clear with what is being offered. The framework presented may rename the existing 1200 strong election committee as a “nominating committee”, but there is no effective change in who will hold the election strings. By limiting the number of candidates who may run for election to between two and three, and by increasing their requirement for support from 150 to 600 members of a committee whose majority is in-effect selected by Beijing, Beijing is offering Hong Kong the choice of universal suffrage within a system that is even less democratic. You may vote, Beijing is saying, but only between two candidates who we support. Democratic reform, Beijing ought be reminded, is not about giving people a vote, but giving them power. Even a communist regime is built upon the principle that it is from the people that the power to rule is derived.

Consider the last CE election. Whilst only 1200 Hong Kong people were allowed to vote, it was also only ever a two horse race between Henry Tang and the eventual winner CY Leung, both candidates backed by Beijing. Rather than an election, the people of Hong Kong were treated to a game of second guessing which candidate Beijing would eventually choose to back. At the end it was not so much an election won by CY Leung as a story of how Henry Tang lost Beijing’s confidence.

The last CE election was also marked by the relative success of pro-democracy lawmaker Albert Ho in gaining sufficient support among the election committee to run his own campaign. The democrats may have a swell of support among the people, but without the vote this did not matter. But by being given a chance to run a campaign the democrats were allowed a platform to present an alternative to the almost identical messages coming from the two establishment candidates. The new threshold will ensure this platform has been removed.

In 1993, Lu Ping, then Head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and one of the leading architects of the handover, reassured the people of Hong Kong with these words:

“The [method for universal suffrage] should be reported to the NPC for the record, whereas the central government’s agreement is not necessary. How Hong Kong develops its democracy is completely within the sphere of the autonomy of Hong Kong. The Central Government will not interfere.”

All that Hong Kong people are asking is for Beijing to keep to its word. We do not want to be accused of being subjects of “foreign interference” when we express our views to a government who claims to represent our country. This is not “unpatriotic”. We are Chinese, and this land is our home.

On the evening of August 31st a crowd gathered at Tamar. Intermittent rain ensured only a small group of people of no more than a two to three thousand sat on the soggy lawns. Many thousands more filed by, standing on the paved walkways to experience a slice of the action before returning to the shelter afforded by the malls that criss-cross Admiralty.

An elderly woman asked one of the 5000 additional policemen deployed to police the event how to get to Tamar. The policeman, one of a patrol of six, replied only by saying “I don’t know what is Tamar”. Another protestor, a younger woman, offered to show her the way. “Are you not scared of coming?”, the elderly woman asked. Whilst her family all supported the protest she had told her children and her husband not to come. “I’m old and I don’t work”, she said, “I’ve nothing left to fear.”

This sense of fear was again apparent among some student communities. “Many of my friends have been arrested before, or have had to support friends who were arrested”, I was told. “We are tired of being arrested, and of giving our families reason to worry about our future.”

In June OCLP was a mass movement straining to hold together very different pro-democracy factions representing a broad swathe of this city. Beijing’s proposal may have united the democratic camp, yet last night the crowd simpered when once it had roared. Standing at the back, looking at the small gathering against the immensity of the harbour and the skyscrapers that have come to define this city to so many, the event felt insignificant and isolated, a final cry into the dark by a dedicated core.

Shouts of “enough talk” were bellowed from the crowd as the OCLP organisers spoke. “Always talk, never action”, said the man standing to my left. He was not angry, nor did he shout. Like everyone else I met there was a strong sense of resignation about him, in his posture and tone of voice. The crowd still called their approval, but no longer with the force or sense of belief that they could make a difference.

The students got the greatest cheer. They spoke repeatedly of “our hope” and of this city being “our home”. A crowd devoid of hope cried out in support each time the word was said, as if clinging desperately to a fading dream.

There was very little said to suggest the path now to be taken. Martin Lee, referencing slogans on the nearby CITIC Pacific Tower, spoke of the need for a new chapter in the democratic story of this city, reminding the crowd that at 76 he was an old man. How this chapter would be started, and what it might entail, were left to billow in the wind. OCLP’s statement of a “wave” of protests was not elaborated upon. Many in the crowd seemed disappointed – promised a landmark event for democracy many felt short changed.

It was left to Scholarism to again galvanise the crowd into action by leading a march to the Grand Hyatt hotel in hope of confronting Basic Law Committee Chairman Li Fei. An exhausted crowd set off at 9.30pm, surrounded and heavily outnumbered by the police. They camped outside the hotel until midnight. Joshua Wong and two students who had previously reserved a room at the hotel were forcibly evicted, carried out by the police and hotel security guards, though it remains unclear on what grounds the police had acted. The sit in was peaceful. There was no fighting. As a friend remarked, “these are not the angry young people I was led to believe”.

The majority of Hong Kong people, whether or not they support OCLP, want democratic reform. They do not only want the right to vote, but also for their vote to count in the way in which Hong Kong is run. To have a government that carries a greater legitimacy among the people of Hong Kong is what this city desperately needs. Rachel Cartland is right in saying that Hong Kong is becoming ungovernable not because of a lack of ability, or that the wrong people are running Hong Kong. Every democratic government suffers from these ills; it is because the government lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the people. But has Beijing in this framework addressed this?

The changes that are afoot in Hong Kong itself must not be underestimated. Freedom of press, Rule of Law and a clean business environment and civil service safeguarded by the ICAC are not the only legacy of this city’s history. Alex Lo may write that there are no “core values” and only “institutions” that define our difference, but what he fails to grasp is that both exist symbiotically. There are core values among Hong Kong people, and these core values not only exist because but also shape our institutions.

Yesterday a friend from the Mainland who had come to see the events at Tamar told me of her amazement that the protestors don’t target the police. “In China the police are the enemy”, she said. This distinction is defined not only by the Hong Kong police as an institution, but also by the way Hong Kong people have grown to understand and relate to policing. Our policemen may act more “professionally”, as some may say, only because they police a people with a more “professional” respect for them.

Since June’s OCLP referendum, Hong Kong people have changed. In the name of “patriotism” we have been made to fear. In the name of “harmony” we fear expressing our opinion. In the name of “public order” we have been made to feel suspicious of a police force, who have served us with distinction for a generation, and who along with a civil service are increasing seen as no longer ours.

My generation of Hong Kong people did not know this fear. This has been Beijing’s gift. We had embraced a return to China as the righting of a historic injustice against our motherland, only to sit by helplessly as our motherland, in the name of the selfish interests of an elite few, wrought new injustices on its newly returned peoples. Rather than embrace our city, your gifts have been to the benefit of a tiny elite – the same elite who, a generation ago, kowtowed to a different colonial master. No wonder the crowds at Tamar clung so desperately to hope. By taking such a hard line Beijing is forcing the democrats to unite behind a more radical position. Beijing may hope this corners the democratic camp into an unelectable position, but have they considered the alternative, that this posturing may in fact push the people of Hong Kong further away?


「就像其他成千上萬的人,我對北京提出的香港民主方案之苛刻、狹窄和具限制性感到極度失望。所以我加入了抗議,要求有更多的民主 。」這是我收到的一條信息的内容。



當我閲讀全國人大常委會就特首選舉定下框架的文件時,相關内容及提出的方式深深激怒了我。提出的方案固然對民主候選人諸多設限,並會令這類候選人沒法參選,遑論公平競賽;更離譜的是它聲稱這方案代表了香港人的意見; 兩者都是極不誠實及不尊重香港市民。


我們姑且細看人大方案的內容。在提出的框架下,擁有 1200 名成員的選舉委員會或會改名為提名委員會,但選舉權則不會有實質更改。透過限制誰可以參選,以二至三位參選人數為限,並把出閘要求由現時的獲得 150 名委員支持增加至 600 ( 委員會大部分成員由北京揀選),北京供香港選擇的普選方案甚至比現行方法更不民主。北京的意思是,你可以投票,但只能投我們支持的兩個候選人之一。但北京應要明白,民主改革不在於给人民選票,而是賦於人民權力。即使是共產主義政權,也是建基於統治力量來自人民的原則上。

回顧上一次行政長官選舉,只有 1200 港人可以投票,而且選舉也只不過是被北京點中的唐英年和最後勝利者梁振芵兩人之間的搏奕。不能參與選舉的香港人,只能猜估哪位候選人能得北京青睞而屏雀中選。最後,與其說是梁振英贏了選舉,不如說是唐英年失去了北京的信任。












會中極少著墨將來應採取的路向。老牌民主標誌李柱銘利用附近中信泰富大廈引用的口號,談到有必要為這城市的民主故事開展新的一頁。但這也提醒了眾人,76 嵗的他已經是個老人了。這新的一頁該如何開始,如何發展,都無言地流失於當晚的風雨裡。佔中發表了「一波又一波」的抗議活動聲明後,詳情卻落空了。許多人都顯得十分失望,本以爲是民主的里程碑,到頭來原來什麽都沒改變。


香港大多數的人,不論支持佔中與否,都希望得到民主改革。他們不僅想要投票權,也希望自己的選票能影響治港方針。這個城市迫切需要一個在市民眼中有認受性、合法性的政府。簡何巧雲( Rachel Cartland,英籍前 AO)說得對,這城市越來越無法控制的原因不在於能力不濟,或者是挑選了不適合的人管治香港。每一個民主政府都可能遭受這些弊病——這是因為政府在人們的眼中缺乏合法性。但北京提出的又能解否解決這困局?

香港面臨的劇變不容低估。新聞自由、法治、在廉政公署捍衛下保持的廉潔的營商環境以及公務員隊伍不僅只是這城市的歷史遺產,也是我們的核心價值。南華早報的 Alex Lo 或許覺得沒什麽所謂的「核心價值觀」,只有「制度」來決定我們的不同。但他沒有掌握的是,兩者在這城市共存共榮。這些港人的核心價值不僅存在,也同時塑造了我們的制度。





1 thought on “The NPC Offer: The Reaction from Tamar and Beyond 人大方案:添馬集會的反思

  1. Pingback: The NPC Offer: The Reaction from Tamar and Beyond. | 主場博客 The House News Bloggers

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