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Opinion
Nisid Hajari

To Save the Rich, China Ruins Hong Kong

Rejecting compromise plans for Hong Kong's 2017 election, China protects the city's elite at the cost of alienating its citizens.
Hong Kong's future doesn't look as bright anymore.
Hong Kong's future doesn't look as bright anymore.

When they meet on Sunday, legislators from China's rubber-stamp National People's Congress are expected to disregard even the most moderate proposals to open up Hong Kong's political system. In all likelihood the decision will provoke street protests, drive moderates into the more radical pro-democracy camp and call into question the former British colony's standing as a global financial center and bastion of free enterprise. And for what? The good of Hong Kong, of course.

Wang Zhenmin, a Chinese law professor who sat on the committee overseeing Hong Kong's constitution, laid out the case most blatantly on Thursday, when he told journalists that the interests of the city's powerful tycoons had to be safeguarded from unchecked democracy. "If we just ignore their interest, Hong Kong capitalism will stop," he said. "Democracy is a political matter and it is also an economic matter."