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The thoughts of an American expat in Hong Kong living on an "underlying island"

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Ripples of Occupy...

With the 1 year anniversary of the start of Occupy Hong Kong, lots of stories have been written. One of interest as a jumping off point to larger issues is this interview with Occupy players one year on from Harbour Times.

The group {Scholarism} is also advocating constitutional amendment ( 修 憲 ) and the establishment of a shadow government to achieve self-determination. However, Wong does not see the ideas being endorsed by many of the pro-democracy players in the near future.

“The pan-democrats are still too obsessed with restarting the five-step political reform process, which would not yield any fruitful outcome so long as Beijing dictates the content of the reform package. Meanwhile, localist groups do not seem to be paying too much attention to actually reforming the political structure,” {Joshua} Wong explains.

Team CronY from Day One has said that negotiations must work within their framework and misinterpretation of the Basic Law. Pan-dems suggest that the process is not flawed, it's the crap misinterpretation of the Basic Law by Team CronY and the NPC SC's 8/31 White Paper that violates the Basic Law that has prevented the system from working. If Team CronY and the NPC Standing Committee worked within the true language of HK's Basic Law the existing system could and would work for all HKers.

The alternative of course is the belief that Team CronY and the NPC Standing Committee have always been liars and will always be liars and can always be counted on to negotiate in bad faith. The only outcome then is to dismiss negotiations and bypass the CCP altogether. We can see Joshua Wong's approach above which would amend the Basic Law to remove the institutional blocks on a government responsive to the needs of the people, such as the Nomination Committee, the Functional Constituencies in LegCo and the farce of split voting on members bills in LegCo.

Another alternative that's proved popular with young HKers is the Localist movements. Just as the United Front has pushed hard with cash and offers of high-paying government jobs for Nelson Wong and other anti-democractic sell-outs, it would be foolish to think the United Front has not also been pushing hard to recruit on the anti-negotiation side as well. And this brings us to HKI and its convenor Ray Wong Toi-yeung ( 黃台仰 ). HKI claims that it's more effective in getting actual policy changed than the pan-dems by direct and more confrontational protests. Have they really been more effective? Beyond the change by the CCP on multi-entry visas from Shenzhen, it's work on cross-border smuggling has been a dismal failure, and some would argue the CCP's change of heart on multi-entry visas came as a result of polling on the issue and the obvious strain on Team CronY resources, like the MTR. Why do I suspect HKI is a United Front organisation?

Beyond leading new modes of protest in Hong Kong, HKI hopes localists will displace the traditional pan-dems completely in the political landscape. “The [LegCo] elections next year will be critical. It will give localists a larger platform to promote their ideas. A chance to publicly debate with pan-dems and even the pro-establishment,” says Ray Wong. The duo believe that, given their mishaps during the Movement, the traditional pan-dem camp’s influence will slowly wane and their ability to mobilise will diminish.

“In the next ten years, localists will overtake pan-dems,” predicts Ray Wong.

Yeah, HKI has no political quarrel with Team CronY and the CCP who are actually making the policies they protest. They want to eliminate the opposition to Team CronY and the CCP rather than creating a second opposition front. This sounds exactly like Nelson Wong and company with their new 'moderate' United Front political party. Furthermore HKI really didn't push items like voter registration of youth prior to this year's District Council elections and are more interested in possibly pushing candidates to dilute the pan-dem portion of the vote to boost pro-CCP victories. Classic United Front org just like Nelson Wong and friends.

Whether HK's youth will be smart enough to dump Ray Wong or not will be interesting to watch as he and his ilk have captured a fair amount of the mind share for more direct action among the crowd that finds the pan-dems inactive. And given the United Front has both sides of the debate covered, the likelihood that any real progress for democracy in HK will be derailed in the near future by negotiations in bad faith by the United Front from all sides.

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