Today’s South China Morning Post.
The District Council elections were a moment of elation, but they point to the dire need for reform.
Pessimists would have us believe that it’s inevitable that Hong Kong returns to the disfigurement and paralysis of cannonades of tear gas, volleys of rubber bullets, and Molotov cocktails.
Fighting the wrong battle in the last ditch, and surrendering to a sense of inevitability, would be a terrible defeat for all sides and not worthy of the popular and peaceful upsurge represented by ballots rather than bullets. Hong Kong and Beijing both need a fresh start rather than a resumption of paralysis.
Boldly turn these councils into something more than parish pumps – give them an immediate consultative role – devolve decisions and opportunities to them – pioneer reforms – and the Hong Kong government may come to see last Sunday’s elections as a decisive turning point, replacing the need for protest with the leadership and commitment demanded by the voters and indelibly printed on a landslide of ballot papers.
Chris Patten forensically sets out the arguments in favour of supporting pro democracy campaigners in Hong Kong – and why they are living on the equivalent of California’s San Andreas Fault fault line between autocratic totalitarianism and the free air of democracy. And the tectonic plates are moving.
“The Chinese authorities’ insulting suggestion that Hong Kong’s citizens were being manipulated was plainly ludicrous. The not-so-silent majority made its views known. The China Dream does not seem to have many takers in Hong Kong” .Lord Patten of Barnes