catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Marxist democrat against Beijing

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It’s strange times when a prominent Hong Kong human rights activist is a self-declared Marxist who wears a Che Guevara t-shirt:

Hong Kong’s most colourful politician has served notice to Beijing that he will take the swearing-in oath as a newly elected legislator in the territory but add changes to fit with his prolonged battle for full democracy …

Leung Kwok-hung said on Friday he would add a sentence to say he would declare allegiance to the people of China and Hong Kong despite this possibly resulting in his disqualification.

Hong Kong legislators must choose one of three standard oaths. The 60 returned in elections on September 12 will be sworn into the Legislative Council next month …

“I will add that I will bear allegiance to the people of China and residents of Hong Kong, and fight for democracy, justice, and defend human rights and freedoms,” said Mr Leung, 48, a Marxist activist and protester, clad in his trademark Che Guevara T-shirt.

Or is it that surprising? I think there will come a time when people will rue the day China abandoned ideological Marxism. Because of its free market reforms China is obviously on its way to becoming a world power but it will be a world power with the capacity to rapaciously promote its values and social system if it so chooses. But let’s have no illusions about the vulgar babitts and spivs who comprise a substantial part of Hong Kong’s business community. I am a believer in liberal capitalism as the best means of organising an economy but this doesn’t oblige me to have much faith in (or indeed liking for) capitalists. As the example of Tung Chee Hwa demonstrates (or to take a more extreme case, the big businesses who supported Hitler), these people would have no hestitation about selling out on ‘trivial things’ like basic civil liberties as long as they are assured a stable place for cultivating Mammon. China will probably evolve towards the direction of highly repressed, ‘Brave New World’ type technocratic-fascist dictatorships with a ‘pro-business’ facade such as Singapore. Add to that a streak of nasty ultra-nationalism and Confucian chauvinism that is bursting to come out after decades of being bottled in by a superficial Marxist-internationalist facade and you have a nasty mix. So, no I am no Sinophile and I think Australia has both a strategic as well as principled interest in taking Taiwan’s side (at least verbally) in any future disputes. Ironically I think there is more hope of truly robust liberal democracies evolving in Muslim or Muslim-majority societies like Malaysia and Indonesia.

Written by Admin

September 27, 2004 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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