2008年1月6日 星期日

應為香港2017普選特首鼓掌

應為香港2017普選特首鼓掌
姚永安 <環球華報> 專欄 4.1.2008

12月28日晚上,我是透CNN的電郵獲悉中國人大常委會通過給與香港在2017年普選特區行政首長的新聞,我當時的感受既意外又興奮。

次晨,我翻閱報紙的港聞版,令我再次感到意外的是,我感受不到來自香港的喜悅。民主派聲言要繼續爭取2012雙普選,對人大常委會給與香港普選特首和立法會亳不領情,更有民主派人仕提出要攪抗爭,包括「四罷」(即罷工:罷市、罷課和罷開立法會)、杯葛區議會和立法會選舉等激烈行動。

在不久之前,我們聽到民主派的領袖人物表示對2012不存奢望,所提出的要求亦降低到希望中央能給與普選的時間表。陳方安生去年訪溫哥華時,也只是提倡在2012年的選舉中增加多一點點的民主成份,從而保住基本法的循序漸進要求。

但當人大宣布香港可在2017年普選特首之後,香港民主派卻馬上把目標集中在爭取2012雙普選。這是十分不智的决策,亦平白浪費了民主派與中央建立關係的大好機會,更壞的後果更可能令2017普選成為泡影。

試想想,若果民主派在人大公佈<決定>後的反應不是批評、絕食和提出要攪抗爭,而是慶祝香港市民可以在2017年一人一票選出特首,並且表示願意與特區政府和中央一同合力落實雙普選,為香港和中國樹立歷史里程碑的話,形勢相信會很不一樣。

首先,民主派以善意回應,民主派和中央的關係可能因此而「破冰」。由於基本法有三分之二立法會通過的要求,中央的<決定>也需要有民主派的支持才能獲得通過,因此,民主派與中央建立溝通合作關係是可行的,而這也是為香港爭取建立民主政制的最好方法。民主派要成為香港的執政派,必須獲得中央認可。

香港已經回歸十年,今日的民主派根本便無能力與中央交手。除非能夠發動一百萬市民上街要求2012雙普選,否則中央根本不可能自掌嘴巴推翻2017年的<決定>。民主派若果真有這個能力,早已在人大開會前上街了。香港市民真的那麼在意2012還是2017嗎?會因此集體站起來抗爭嗎?沒有董建華,如何激發那麼多人上街?

事實上,2017普選特首和2020普選所有立法會議員也不是大壞事。由於基本法有循序漸進的要求,一下子雙普選似乎並不合乎循序漸進的條件。特首普選經過一屆過渡,先在2012年攪好符合民主的候選人甄選制度,到了2017年才讓普羅市民投票選出特首,也合情理。

立法會要經過2012(要修改2008年可能已晚了點)、2016才到2020,循序漸進的時間是長了,2016應該更合適,但中間還存在相當大的空間。從現時30-30席直選-功能組別過渡到60席直選,若果平均循序漸進,2016年50席直選已經是大多數。

香港能否有真正的民主普選,關鍵有兩大項,第一是能否真的落實2017和2020?民主派雖沒有能力提前,卻有能力推倒。若民主派堅持2012的話就不會有2017,但他們又能夠向市民交待嗎?若果遲下要面對現實轉軚,今天又何必攪抗爭?

第二項關鍵是在雙普選的細節,就正如當年司徒華和李柱銘參與草擬基本法一樣,能夠在桌上參與自然比在門外示威有效用。但民主派的領袖們能夠擺脱過去十多年與中央對抗的思維嗎?繼續對抗真的有助香港達成雙普選?

就正如半杯水有不同的看法,香港在回歸後50年不變的第二個十年達至普選特首,是值得慶祝的。

從更宏觀的角度看,香港達至雙普選對中國的意義則更重大。香港的經驗若果成功,將會在內地帶來示範作用,促使政治制度民主化的改革。香港普選對內地的影響,北京當然不會不知道,因此,人大<決定>的意義不單純是為香港民主化開綠燈,同時亦顯示出中國未來的方向。

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Hu Jintao Bares His Democratic Soul

Asia Inc. Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008


Wang Tai Peng


According to many China pundits and critics from the New York Times to The Economist, the 17th CCP National Congress held in mid October 2007, if anything, proved yet another indication that no political reforms of substance can be expected down the road and democratic transition remains a dream beyond China’s reach. But they can’t be more wrong.

A new starting point in China’s history: democracy

Quite the contrary, the 17th CCP National Congress is historic in many ways. It is historic because it is only now that Hu Jintao gets powerful and influential enough to unmask himself as a true blue political reformer and to redefine a new democratic, prosperous and peaceful future for China down the road. This is a sea change of Beijing’s mindset. This is a paradigmatic change in the Chinese communist leadership style and structures. This is a quiet revolution from above set in motion by Hu Jintao and his likeminded political reformers. This is totally unprecedented in the history of communist China not only because China is set to change its anti-democracy policy but to make developing democracy by empowering the people with the participation in a democratic process across China its policy goals in the next five years and beyond. It has indeed taken communist China nearly more than half a century to make this U turn. Which is why Hu Jintao proudly proclaims that China is now setting off a historic new journey of the long overdue democratic transition ‘from a new starting point of China’s history’.

Walking on two legs: Political and economic reforms

There are, however, two central pieces in Hu’s roadmap of China’s continued reforms apace to reconnect the ruling party with the Chinese people for the next five years. One is to introduce Hu’s scientific outlook on development: putting people first and balanced and sustainable growth in all areas instead of lopsided GDP growth trumping all else. And indeed, the latter is essentially what Deng Xiaoping theory and Jiang Zemin three represents come down to --- economic determinism. Yet, ever since 1989 until now, the political legitimacy of the CCP’s rule has been based on no more than the red-hot engines of explosive GDP growth. As a result, China’s been deeply plagued with the twin problems of explosive social tensions and rampant government corruptions. That shows an abyss of disconnect widening between the CCP and the Chinese populace. Thus the other centrepiece: expanded socialist democracy at all levels in all fields across China under the rule of law to reconnect the Chinese ruling party with the people. This is hoped to achieve some degree of political legitimacy for the CCP. Nevertheless, socialist democracy, modest as it is, has been stalled and tabooed by Deng and Jiang ever since the downfall of political reformers Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang in 1989. It is only now that Hu Jintao has enough control of undisputed power in the military, party and government to boldly declare in the 17th CCP Congress: “We must ensure that all power of the state belongs to the people, expand the citizens’ orderly participation in political affairs at each level and in every field, mobilize and organize the people as extensively as possible to monitor state and social affairs as well as economic and cultural programs in accordance with the law”. It is only now that Hu Jintao gets sufficiently broad consensus both inside and outside the party to bare his political soul to the whole wide world: “The essence and the core of socialist democracy is that the people are the masters of the country. We need to improve institutions for democracy, diversify its forms and expand its channels, and we need to carry out democratic election, decision-making, administration and oversight in accordance with the rule of law to guarantee the people’s right to be informed, to participate, to be heard and to oversee.” In a word, Hu Jintao is now set to make China a Chinese democracy by ways of enshrining this goal in the party constitution and getting there with his roadmap of expanded democracy and intra-party democracy.

No teeth to the enforcement mechanism

Within China, however, it is widely expected that democratic reforms will go ahead and even accelerate and intensify. Still, problems such as lacking public oversight of the government’s operation, no mechanism to hold leading cadres accountable, remain. Professor Liu Chun, deputy director of the Institute of post-graduate students at the Central Party School of the CCP, reckons that the next step is to solve the problems of political reforms having no teeth to the enforcement mechanism and a paucity of democratic institutions and their resources to rein in widespread abuses of power.

Hu’s Herculean efforts behind the science

That said, it hasn’t been easy, indeed, for Hu Jintao to redefine a new democratic future for China. In an effort to make CCP a learning party, Hu frequently convened politburo study sessions for acquiring real solutions to burning issues. In the 32nd politburo study session on 29 June 2006, he put his ideas of democratic reforms and the rule of law on the table for reaching a consensus at least within the politburo before the 17th CCP Congress. Unequivocally, he already advocated democratic election, democratic policy-making, democratic management and democratic oversight by the people to galvanize China. Then, in the 36th politburo study session on December 1 2006, he pushed for extending village self-government and direct election across China. In writing up his work report for the 17th CCP Congress, it has taken him a Herculean effort in nearly 10 months to convene 20 meetings collecting opinions from 5560 people both inside and outside the party, the government, the military across the nation. But even so, it doesn’t mean political reforms launched will in future meet no stiff resistance within the military, the government and the party. It certainly will. The conservative hardliners like Jiang Zemin’s faction may be down but not out. These guys remain very much in the picture and incredibly powerful and influential especially in the propaganda and national security departments. They will try every possible way like banning books and publications, censoring news media and blogs, putting journalists and boggers behind bars to undermine or even kill off political reforms like they did before. The power struggle is still far from over. But what remains clear is that a new era of democracy is already dawning on the horizon of China.

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