19 September 2019
Some politicians want to win the support of the so-called silent majority while seeking to establish closer ties with Beijing. Photo: HKEJ
Some politicians want to win the support of the so-called silent majority while seeking to establish closer ties with Beijing. Photo: HKEJ

There is no such thing as ‘third road’ under Communist rule

Some Hong Kong politicians want to position themselves as an alternative choice between the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps.

Their objective is to win the support of the so-called silent majority while establishing closer ties with the central government to advance their own political interests.

Such a stance, to say it most diplomatically, is a bit naive. They shouldn’t expect Beijing to take them seriously.

For the Communist Party leadership, you are either loyal to them or part of the opposition.

There is no such thing as a “third road” in the Hong Kong political landscape.

Hong Kong people have been frustrated by the political deadlock between Beijing loyalists and democrats.

Both sides have failed to establish an effective communication mechanism to iron out their differences for the sake of Hong Kong.

Central authorities have also taken an unfriendly stance towards the democrats and refused to talk to them on a regular basis. They simply cannot stand any form of opposition.

The “one country, two systems” principle is but an empty rhetoric that Beijing will invoke or discard at its convenience.

Against such a backdrop, several Hong Kong politicians have thought of breaking the impasse by distancing themselves from their pan-democratic comrades.

They are forming new political organizations or think tanks to take a middle-of-the-road stance on the matter of political reform in order to please the silent majority.

These politicians include former Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong and former Democratic Party members Nelson Wong and Tik Chi-Yuen.

Wong even expressed his support for the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), which he described as the ruling party of Hong Kong.

Tong, who has established a think tank called Path of Democracy, last week revealed the results of a survey conducted by the public opinion program of University of Hong Kong to support his view.

According to the poll, which involved 1,000 respondents, around 40 percent said they prefer a middle ground in the political arena, 28 percent said they prefer the pro-democracy camp while 11 percent said they lean towards the pro-Beijing camp.

The survey also found that 75 percent of those who prefer the pro-Beijing camp and 64 percent of those who identify themselves with the pro-democracy camp feel that there is a need for moderate political figures to serve as the middle ground.

But those politicians seem to be overestimating their role in the political arena, particularly in dealing with the central authorities.

As far as the Communist Party of China is concerned, you are either a loyalist or an enemy.

Veteran Beijing loyalist and political science scholar Lau Siu-Kai pointed out that Beijing has taken a more hardline approach towards Hong Kong political issues.

This means that the central authorities don’t recognize any “middle ground” or “third road” in the political landscape.

Even if a third road exists, it should be the way towards becoming Beijing loyalists, or the so-called loyal opposition camp.

In fact, Beijing has been stepping up their “united front” work. They are putting in more resources and nurturing more professionals and talents from different sectors in a bid to tighten their rule in Hong Kong.

The middle ground that Tong, Wong and Tik are thinking about could even serve as a tool to be used by the central authorities to undermine the political influence of the pan-democrats in Hong Kong, as well as to reduce the number of seats that pan-democrats hold in the Legislative Council and district councils.

Once the pro-Beijing camp secures more than 50 percent of the votes in the territory-wide election, Beijing can claim their united front work a success, and Hong Kong could then be under the full control of Beijing without any interference from democrats in the legislature.

Amid the campaign for district council seats, several candidates have declared that they have no political ties, even though they have been working closely with the pro-Beijing camp.

That could be a strategy suggested by the pro-Beijing camp for the candidates to win support from moderate voters and grab the votes for pan-democrats.

Under the Beijing game plan, top leaders won’t accept any opposition to challenge its legitimate rule in Hong Kong.

They could gradually marginalize radical democrats as well as democrats with a tough stance.

The government will also allocate additional resources to strengthen national education and nurture a new generation who will be proud to consider themselves as Chinese people, rather than admiring western-style democracy.

It’s quite clear that Beijing is setting aside its commitment to “one country, two systems”.

Hong Kong people want to uphold the core values that led to Hong Kong’s success, but some of our politicians are walking away from their supporters and turning to Beijing for their own interest.

What’s happening to Hong Kong?

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EJ Insight writer