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Liberty Times: A tale of two democracies

2014/09/17 16:47:38

Residents of Scotland will have a chance to decide whether to remain part of the United Kingdom in a historic referendum vote Thursday, which is in stark contrast with the opposition Hong Kong faces as it seeks greater democracy from Beijing.

People officially resident in Scotland will vote in a referendum to decide whether to split from the U.K. and the events leading up to the vote have been peaceful, with both sides exercising reason rather than force to appeal to voters.

London is promising greater autonomy and sustained levels of state funding to woo Scotland instead of intimidation, which guarantees amity whatever the referendum results will be.

In contrast, Hong Kong faces opposition from Beijing in its attempt to seek a greater say in the 2017 leadership vote for the territory's chief executive.

Hong Kong's fight for universal suffrage has been branded as an anti-China movement or a campaign for independence, which, if necessary, critics say, could be used by Beijing as an excuse for putting Hong Kong under martial law.

The number of Hong Kong residents seeing themselves as Chinese nationals is on the decline, while an increasing number of them say they are nostalgic about the days as a former British colony.

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, proposed political reform before its handover to China in 1997, which marked a big step forward for Hong Kong toward democracy.

However, just 17 years after Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, Beijing nipped democracy in the bud and went against its formula of "one country, two systems" adopted in dealing with Hong Kong.

We believe that the people of Taiwan are now aware of the differences between the true democracy in Scotland and Beijing's betrayal of its promise to award Hong Kong universal suffrage in 2017. (Editorial abstract -- Sept. 17, 2014)

(By Scully Hsiao)
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