Apart from China’s resistance, the reason why political reform in Hong Kong faces a roadblock is the unwillingness of the city’s elite to see a change in the status quo, the New York Times noted.
Talks between government officials and pro-democracy student leaders were aimed mainly at easing tensions in the streets, but fundamental reform of the conditions that provoked the unrest was not on the agenda, the paper said in an editorial Tuesday.
Among these conditions is a persistent and widening wealth gap in Hong Kong, it pointed out.
A small pro-Chinese government elite has profited greatly from the city’s role in the rise of China, while incomes and opportunities for the middle and working classes have been squeezed, it noted.
“This elite, which controls the most lucrative sectors of Hong Kong’s economy, fears that greater democracy — in the form of political participation and shared prosperity — would threaten the increasingly monopolistic crony capitalism from which they benefit,” the editorial said.
The worthy goal is to link robust democracy to robust capitalism to broadly raise living standards, it said, adding that it is not achievable or sustainable without struggle.
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