Dear Subscribers and Friends
The Tung Chee-hwa
Administration has effectively fallen in the sense that it is no longer able to
Since 1 July, the government has been unable to
function normally in the face of the massive challenge presented by the protest
of 500,000 demonstrators. The Central People's Government (CPG) is now involved
as the Chief Executive (CE) appears to have become incapacitated. One day is
therefore a long time - things remain fluid.
A. Consequences of poor
1. The Tung Administration paid no
attention to what might happen on 1 July even though every sign indicated that
at least 150,000-200,000 protestors would take to the street. Even this
eNewsletter (28/6) estimated the upper limit could be 250,000.
2. When more than 500,000 people protested, the
Administration was completely unready thus precipitating a political crisis that
Hong Kong has never seen before.
B. 4 July
After saying very little and two rounds of cabinet
meetings, the CE finally had this to say yesterday:
" ... I am weighing carefully the views that have
been presented to me, the suggestions that have been made to me. I will let you
all know immediately when a decision is made".
" ... I would like to reiterate that it is our duty
as Chinese citizens, it is also a duty under the constitution, to legislate
national security laws."
" ... It is also a very
important part of our relationship with the central
C. Hot footing to
1. The CPG is asking for views directly. It is no
longer dealing only with the Tung Administration as the crisis deepens in Hong
2. Evidence of hot feet includes James Tien's trip
north. Tien is the head of the Liberal Party, a part of the ruling coalition in
the cabinet and a minister without portfolio. He came back yesterday saying that
the government may have to postpone the passage of the Article 23 national
security legislation. Others are hot footing north as well.
1. CPG embarassed: By dragging the
"central authorities" into the fray, the CE presented a negative picture of
the CPG forcing the issue on Article 23 legislation, which may well be
sounding his own downfall. The CPG does not like to be embarassed.
2. Waiting for instructions: If
the CE is no longer able to take decisions then decisions will be taken for him.
Now that the CPG is looking at the issue directly and flexibility to the draft
Bill is being considered, it shows that the CE and his officers had
not explored flexibilities earlier even though opposition has been
mounting for some time.
3. Chattering: Now that the CPG is
inviting views, those who were reticent to speak (e.g. business leaders and
pro-government folks) about their reservations to Article 23 are now
doing so as they detect the change of wind.
4. Red faces: There are red faces
among the mainland officials in Hong Kong with responsibility for local affairs
and who "advises" the CE on relations with the CPG - had they helped to
precipitate the political crisis?
5. Political solution: A political
solution is needed before the 9 July when the draft Bill is schedule to pass. An
aspect that must be considered is what to do with a CE that has been effectively
disabled. The wisdom of the CPG is also being tested in respect of how it
handlea Hong Kong.
6. Stay tune: The situation
Civic Exchange, Hong Kong's independent think