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Chief executive Donald Tsang has come under fire from democratic legislators.

Economy over democracy

The Hong Kong government’s latest move to avoid the issue of democracy is a disappointment to the population. In an…

By Aaron Tam , in A Lighter Shade of Red: Hong Kong politics , on January 27, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Hong Kong government’s latest move to avoid the issue of democracy is a disappointment to the population.

In an attempt to minimize the impact of avoiding talks on universal suffrage, the government tried to gift-wrap its decision with something that’s on everyone’s mind: the failing economy.

Chief executive Donald Tsang has come under fire from democratic legislators.
Chief executive Donald Tsang is taking heat from democratic politicians Photo: Youtube

Moving quickly to counter the economic problems that Hong Kong is facing, chief executive Donald Tsang has put everything related to political reform aside and put economy first.  This strategy for sure, will work towards solutions for an ailing economy.

But wait.

Though not directly elected by the people of Hong Kong, didn’t Tsang dangle the promise of undying efforts to achieve universal suffrage before the masses during his campaign in 2007 to win over popular support?

Seems like Tsang isn’t keeping to his word.

Using the global financial crisis as an excuse, Tsang is pushing back public consultations for universal suffrage, which were supposed to have started July of last year, until the end of 2009.

At a recent chief executive question and answer session on January 15th, pro-democracy legislator Lee Cheuk-yan said that this move breaches citizens’ trust in the government.

“First of all, we are not dropping the public consultations, we are only postponing the consultations for one quarter” Tsang said at chief executives questions and answers on January 15th.  “It is important to prioritize between what is urgent and what is not.  These are the actions of a responsible government.”

Postponement has become a tactic that the government is taking for granted in matters of political reform.  This can be seen with the postponement of democracy from 2008 to 2012, and then from there, under the guidance of Tsang, to 2017.

“All the promises that you’ve made about political reform, you’ve not achieved a single one.  How are you going to face the people of Hong Kong?”  Lee asked Tsang.

Almost with a sigh, Tsang used an all-encompassing response to questions of that nature to respond Lee.  “Everyone please remember, that during my current term, that we’ve worked out (with Beijing) a viable timetable towards universal suffrage.”

Less and less time lies between now and the end of Tsang’s term in 2012.  If Tsang can push back developments for democracy to the end of this year, what’s there to guarantee that he wouldn’t postpone it to the end of his term, or even, leave it to his successor?

It seems like this government is feeding a vicious cycle with excuse upon excuse with no signs of stoppage.