Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tung's Charm Offensive

Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa did his best to sugar-coat the situation
Beijing is now on the charm offensive, trying to soften the blow of Sunday's news to Hong Kong people by trotting out former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa out earlier today.

He gave his first press conference for the first time since he stepped down from office in 2005, looking a lot older, but wielding more power now that he is vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Tung claimed he understood the pan-democrats' disappointment and anger in the National People's Congress Standing Committee's tough guidelines on how candidates for the next election for chief executive will be chosen for 2017.

"I understand how they feel. I understand how deeply and strongly felt those emotions are," he said.

Does he really? Then why does he support the decision to have 1,200 people picked by Beijing to choose the candidates, who must have at least 50 percent of the nominating committee's vote?

It is interesting to note that in 1996 he was chosen by a panel of only 400 members, whereas in 2012 current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was voted in by 689 out of 1,132 people.

In addition, Tung remarked that from 1997 to 2017 -- "a short time of 20 years" -- Hong Kong has gone from a governor who was parachuted in to 5 million being eligible to vote.

"From 2017 onwards the people of Hong Kong will elect the chief executive by universal suffrage, fulfilling the collective aspiration of Hong Kong," he said.

"Today, on the eve of Hong Kong's crucial development in our long history, on the verge of our going for the biggest political leap, how can we possibly choose to stand still? How can we let our march towards democracy stop and stall? We cannot," he said.

But we still can't nominate the candidates so how is that universal suffrage according to international norms?

"I appeal to people of all political stripes to come together and turn negative sentiments into positive energy. Hand in hand, we will build a sound electoral arrangement on the basis of the foundation laid down by the NPC," he added.

Grandpa Tung even has the gall to say: "Five million voters personally picking their leader... is democracy, real and substantial".

He is obviously doing his best to sugar-coat the situation, but we all know he is speaking in half truths in the hopes of getting greater consensus on this. But Tung already said he was opposed to Occupy Central, so he is not offering any other suggestions on how people can make their voices heard, or other avenues for negotiation.

Tung is hardly the voice of reason, but the voice of propaganda... does he really have Hong Kong's interests at heart?

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