Interviews

An Interview with Professor Sonny Lo: Political Reflections in Hong Kong

0 1

Jean-Paul Gagnon: What do you see as Hong Kong’s democracy future?
Professor Sonny Lo: HK’s democratic future depends on two main factors: China’s inter-nal democratic changes and Hong Kong’s push for democratization. At the moment, the push for internal democratization in Hong Kong has pitted the pan-democratic forces against the govern-ment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). On the other hand, Beijing as the central government is reluctant to see a Western-style democratic Hong Kong which will be vulnerable to Western influences and become a means through which foreign powers like the United States seek to de-mocratize the mainland. As such, democratization in Hong Kong is now touching upon the bottom line of the central government in Beijing, which remains a largely paternalistic regime although it has become more politically liberalized and plu-ralistic than ever before. It is very likely that Hong Kong’s democratic changes will proceed gradually and at a snail pace, if we use the yardstick of measurement from the viewpoint of Western-style democracies where there are rotations of parties in power and competitive struggle among political leaders for people’s votes. Yet, Hong Kong remains the most politically pluralistic society in the PRC as many of its citizens are not only pro-democracy in terms of supporting the direct elections of both the Chief Executive and the en-tire Legislative Council, but also assertive in making their demands known and criticisms heard. Hong Kong also enjoys a relatively high degree of civil liberties, the rule of law and by and large clean government under the supervision of a re-spectable anti-corruption agency. Hence, Hong Kong is having a large degree of horizontal ac-countability, although not vertical accountability in terms of competitive struggle among political leaders for people’s votes, not to mention the possibility of rotation of party in power. However, it must be said that democratization in Hong Kong, and the corresponding resistance from Bei-jing, illustrate a clash of two political cultures and civilizations, the more Western civilization held by many Hong Kong people and the more Chinese civilization in the psyche of the PRC leaders. As long as the PRC is ruled by a Leninist-style Chi-nese Communist Party, democratic changes in Hong Kong are bound to be seen as politically dangerous, socially unstable, economically detri-mental to the interests of the co-opted pro-Beijing business class, and territorially entailing cross-border impacts on mainland China.

JPG: Is organized crime a significant obstacle to realizing these democratic goals in HK?
SL: Organized crime does not constitute any ob-stacle to the realization of democratic goals in Hong Kong. Arguably, some elements of the or-ganized crime even participated in the rescue operations of the student democrats in mainland China shortly after the Tiananmen incident on June 4, 1989. Hence. organized crime in Hong Kong has been displaying multiple political orien-tations. On the one hand, it has remained a patri-otic force rescuing mainland student democrats from a humanitarian perspective. On the other hand, it has remained an economic interest group trying to enrich its own profits by both legal and illegal means. The leaders of organized crime groups in Hong Kong are also the targets of sup-pression and co-optation by the PRC authorities. Politically, organized crime has not yet evolved into a political interest group keen to topple any regime in power, in both the mainland and Hong Kong, unlike the triads in the Qing dynasty as they were upholding the banner of overthrowing the Qing dynasty and restoring the Ming dynasty. The PRC government sees organized crime as harmful to its national security interests, and therefore its elements have to be controlled and suppressed. Any attempt by organized crime groups to turn into political interest groups is disallowed, albeit in practice they are economic interest groups thriving in the midst of a whole range of legiti-mate and illegitimate businesses.

JPG: Do you think mainland China will impede these democracy developments?


Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 3 No. 1


 

About the author / 

Jean-Paul Gagnon

Jean-Paul Gagnon is a social and political philosopher specializing in democratic theory. He joined the University of Canberra in mid-2015 as assistant professor in politics and is based in the School of Government & Policy (Bruce). He co-edits the Berghahn (Oxford, New York) journal Democratic Theory and also co-edits the Palgrave Macmillan book series The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

jga bookreview


jga bookreview


cesran_unai


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview

CESRAN Blog

  • New Issue is Out Now!

    Vol. IV | No. V – October-November-December 2018 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 04-06…..World News by Furkan Sahin  08-20…..Terrorism in Syria and Beyond: An Interview with Prof. Alain Gabon by Dr. Rahman Dag 22-24…..Erdogan’s Best Shot is Still in the West by Dr. Murat Ulgul 26-30…..Raqqa vs Kobani – Terrorism vs Revolution by Dr. Rahman Dag 32-34…..Future of…

  • Domestic Politics and the Design of International Institutions

    Abstract Scholars are increasing focused on how and why states design international institutions. International relations theories have historically guided research on these institutions, but have not provided adequate insights into the theoretical bases for their design. Rationalists’ theories of domestic politics offer an alternative approach to understanding institutional design. This study utilizes the positive theory…

  • Five generations after the Balfour Declaration: How do Palestinians Resist and Engender Significant Social Change?

    How to Cite: SELLICK, P. (2018), Five generations after the Balfour Declaration: How do Palestinians Resist and Engender Significant Social Change?. Journal of Conlicft Transformation and Security, 6(2): 139–142. The context of Israeli expansion and Palestinian dispossession Over the past year, a series of anniversaries has occurred which marks the progressive dispossession and displacement of the Palestinians….

  • CESRAN International named the World’s #83 “Best Independent Think Tank”

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named the world’s number 83 “Best Independent Think Tank”. The ranking was announced in the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report compiled by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the Lauder Institute. CESRAN International was also ranked 77th among the “Top Environment…

  • The Current State of AI as We Begin 2018

    Artificial intelligence (AI) states one recent article is no smarter than a six-year-old. A study that appeared last summer compared the intelligence quotient (IQ) of Google, Apple, Baidu, and Bing AI to the average human 18, 12, and 6-year-olds. The 6-year-old’s IQ was rated at 55.5 while the 12 and 18-year-olds rated 84.5 and 97.0 respectively. The end result rated…