Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beijing is attempting to control future Hong Kong elections. Is this a good or bad thing?




One thing I like about writing this blog is that I often find good examples of how American values differ from other values of other societies around the world.

The Chinese government, for example, certainly does not value "American style" democracy. Indeed, there are many problems with the electoral and political system in the USA that the Chinese government would like to avoid. So the values in China would seem to reflect a desire to avoid the conflicts that a two party political system can cause - as is evident in the USA.  Of course there are problems with a one-party system as well, but this is the system that is in place in China currently and the government wants to make changes within this system instead of abandoning it and replacing it with 'democracy'.

Hong Kong used to be an English colony.  The city was literally stolen from China by England at the end of the Opium War in the middle 1800s.  But Hong Kong was never a democracy under England - the Queen appointed leaders..  Yet, many people in Hong Kong now suddenly oppose any attempts by the Chinese government to control the way things work in Hong Kong.  Indeed, when Hong Kong was absorbed into China, the Chinese government seemed very tolerant and did not seem to interfere much in the life of the people there.

Now, however, Beijing is trying harder to integrate Hong Kong more into the overall Chinese system (Beijing is trying to make the way life in Hong Kong more similar to the way life in China is in general).

Here's an article on this topic:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-29004025

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

Occupy Central - this is a group of people who believe in democracy in Hong Kong. They believe Hong Kong should be separate from the government in Beijing.

a ruling - a decision by thos ein authority in the government

vowed - promised

legislature - the group that makes the laws

to nominate - to offer names for an election; a nominating committee is a group that will offer names for an election

an activist - someone who works to fight against or for something

to protest - when a group publicly expresses anger over some type of issue

unanimously - everyone agreed

the worst-case scenario - the worst thing that could have happened

pan-democratic - this is a political group that supports total democracy in Hong Kong

chaotic - wild, unorganized

meddling - interfering, disturbing

rallies - protests, public gatherings to express disapproval in regard to an issue

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