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Mo’ democracy for Hong Kong? No, says Mo

September 9th, 2014
09:22 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

With a new decision by the Chinese government on how Hong Kong elects its leader, the dream of democracy “is nearly dead,” Hong Kong legislator and democracy activist Claudia Mo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

What China has offered instead, Mo said, is a “sort of fake democracy.”

It was not too long ago that Hong Kong was not Chinese at all; in 1997, the United Kingdom handed control of the territory over to Beijing. The agreement the two powers then signed promised “a high degree of autonomy” and “universal suffrage” Hong Kong’s population.

Now, activists say, China has reneged on that agreement. The government last week said that while Hong Kong’s population will be able to directly elect their leader for the first time, the candidates for the position of chief executive must be approved by a committee of Communist Party leaders.

China’s decision must still be approved by Hong Kong’s legislative council before it goes into effect.

“I think China, Beijing, is essentially very insecure and paranoid, and they want to play tough with Hong Kong. And the message is ‘We don't care about Hong Kong anymore. Hong Kong is disposable.’ The supposed financial hub in Asia; the supposed cosmopolitan city, never mind. If you don't like it here, Hong Kong people, you can leave.’”

China, she said, only cares at this point about its “international image.”

“They're so paranoid. They're terrified of Hong Kong becoming some subversive base.”

Hong Kong has a strong pro-democracy movement. It has of late manifested itself in the form of “Occupy Central,” a protest movement modelled on America’s “Occupy Wall Street.”

The movement has been peaceful. What the future now holds, after Beijing’s ruling, is uncertain.

“We know in life, if you fight, you may not get what you want. But if you don't fight, you definitely won't get what you want.”

Could Hong Kong fall victim to a Chinese crackdown, the next Tiananmen?

“If they send out APCs or tanks into central district in Hong Kong, will people be terribly surprised? I don't know. There's been a threat lingering on.”

“We're appealing to basic humanity. We're appealing to basic political rights to be, you know, enjoyed by Hong Kong people.”

The United Kingdom may not have heard that message. Its Foreign Office last week put out a statement, saying that while it recognizes that “there is no perfect model,” “We welcome the confirmation that China’s objective is for the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive through universal suffrage.”

Mo called the stance “a lot of diplomatic gobbledy gook.”

“At least have some sense of honor. It has the moral obligation for Hong Kong, and they should at least speak up. In life, we really have to realize that there is some bottom line. And we have to draw the line somewhere. Speak up at least.”

Amanpour asked Mo whether she was frightened for her safety.

“Personally, at my age – you look at me, right – I have nothing to lose anymore. My parents are gone and my boys are grown up. They're young adults, they're doing fine and I have a steady, married, happy life and I have nothing to lose.”

“But then I am worried about our next generation and more next generations.”


Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Hong Kong • Latest Episode
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Erm...

    So why don't you report about Ukraine regime banning dozens of opposition tv channels?

    September 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  2. chenhaoru

    these reports today sound a lot like 100 years ago.

    September 10, 2014 at 12:06 am | Reply
  3. Peter Hu

    Miss Mo, why don't you go to England with your English husband and shut the hell up?
    Don't use the next generation as an excuse, you make me throw up.

    September 10, 2014 at 4:48 am | Reply
    • Peter Hu

      Dear Miss Mo , where the hell were you when the Governor of Hong Kong was appointed by England.
      There was no voting at all. You would rather be a slave under the British than a citizen of China?

      September 10, 2014 at 4:52 am | Reply
      • Bill

        Great Britain has not controlled Hong Kong for 17 years, so it really does not matter how the previous governor was elected. The people deserve and desire a true Democracy now, and Hong Kong is more than ready. What does China fear in giving them the ability to elect their government?

        September 10, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • Dave

        FACT: We cannot trust pro-Beijing comments as they are likely written by PAID COMMENTERS. People in free countries often don't realize this because they cannot imagine this kind of information control.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:30 am |
      • Kam

        What a communist apologist. Taiwan take notice- here awaits your future.

        September 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
  4. Jinxiu

    Good luck to the democracy advocates. It is a long road ahead because the central government is very good at suppressing the people and maintaining totalitarianism. However , if enough people rise up, there can be democracy.

    September 10, 2014 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • Peter Hu

      Hong Kong is not ready for democracy. People are mostly not interested in politics and has been like that for many years.
      The Brits was afraid that HK people might declare independency like India and they were suppressing democracy.
      Comparing China in the 60's and China today, I am totally comfortable. After 1997, I do not see we have lost any freedom.
      People can travel freely, media can criticise the Chinese Government (you can't do that in Singapore). people can get on line and visit any websites, even the cult FALUNGONG can exist in Hong Kong freely. What more do you want? Everybody can buy a gun like the US?

      September 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Reply
      • Dave

        FACT: CHINESE GOVERNMENT "5-cent army" paid to fight ideological battles on foreign news websites.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:19 am |
      • Hong

        Some people need to do more research and straighten the historical facts before they talk... They not only have no logic in all their comments, they are ill-educated. They are blind-folded in one eye and see only their own side. They are those who turn white to black, false to true... They claim that they are ruled by system of law, in reality, they are ruled by people. They are a whole bunch of uncivilized people! They are hopeless!

        September 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • Kam

        You are such a Chinese government hack. Nothing has changed since 1997? Well duh- the agreement for the handover was to maintain the status quo – one country two systems for up to 50 years. They are slowly reverting back to the one system approach of the mainland, that you call the Fulonggong a cult gives away who you really are. There's no comparison between Hong Kong under British rule and the Hong Kong in the future under Comminist rule. You are a brainwashed mainlanders.

        September 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
  5. G

    Hong Kong, you are the city upon which China's development and reforms were based on. Now show your "big brother" in Beijing that freedom and democracy are the values that put Hong Kong so far ahead of any city in the mainland. You should not have to suffer because of Beijing's desires to continue the world's longest-running and most-successful experiment in controlling the minds of an entire population.

    September 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • Peter Hu

      Don't make me laugh, controlling the mind of the people of HK? How much do you know about China for the last forty years? Can you see the economy, ? the infrastructure? the living standard? the freedom of travelling out of the country/

      September 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Reply
      • Dave

        He said controlling the minds of mainland Chinese, you nitwit.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:18 am |
      • Alan

        Yet China still has heads like you who can't take criticism friendly. What else (infrastructure, economies...) matters?

        September 11, 2014 at 12:39 am |
  6. Peter Hu

    Don't treat democracy as a religion. The British has been gone for 17 years, right before they left, they told the people of Hong kong that they should fight for democracy, just to make trouble for China. The Brits were there for a hundred years and the Brits did not want democracy when they were there, what hypocrites.
    China wants a leader in Hong Kong working for China, not the US or England, get it?
    DEMOCRACY? Look at Egypt , Thailand, Iraq, the US spreading the seeds of democracy, I want to puke.

    September 10, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • bingo

      support you ! don't be angry, time will prove we are true.

      November 18, 2014 at 8:04 am | Reply
  7. Peter Hu

    Miss Mo's husband is from England with "Royal lBlood" , so she has the right to live in England. Why is she so concerned with Hong Kong? Publicity? More political donations? Or she wants to run for office?

    September 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  8. Peter Hu

    Recent exposure of large amount of donation to all these democratic parties including even a priest makes people wonder.
    The man who made of these donation just had a secret meeting with a high ranking official from US DOD. The man has an assistant whose father is a longtime CIA veteran. As Snowden said, the CIA headwater is just right down the road.
    We all know what CIA does for a living.

    September 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  9. Alan

    CCP is not to be trusted. Many elderly in Hong Kong fled from China after 1949. We bought the idea of high degree of autonomy, one country two systems, 50 years no change in way of lives. None of that is in place now, they have all been replaced by Sino-HK integration. All the government policies are facilitating integration, while in the process much of the locals interests and welfare were ignored. All the policies have been pro Beijing, any voice less friendly have been suppressed. Not Beijing friendly newspaper see their advertisements go away. TV stations play propaganda or anti West sentiment themes all day. The list goes on and on how our way of lives has changed.
    NO. We don't want to live like this anymore!!

    September 11, 2014 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • Peter Hu

      Get your timing right. 1949 people fled China due to the cultural revolution. One country two system was not in place until 1997. What do you see wrong with the system? We are still using British law, same police force, same civil servants,
      even a better passport, free to go to Macau to gamble anytime we want, actually 24 hrs transportation available.
      free of speech, some media has been criticising the Chinese Government everyday, can you do that in Singapoe.?
      Can you demonstrate in Singapore? We could not vote for HK Governor , why should we be able to vote for the Chief executive now? We do not need to pay for the army although they are protecting HK. HK teenagers do not have to serve in the army, how nice. All I can say is HK people are spoiled .

      September 11, 2014 at 2:08 am | Reply
      • Alan

        You can't even earn your 5 cents Peter. 1949 Cultural Evo?

        September 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
  10. Peter Hu

    Controlling the mind of mainland people? Have you been to China in the last 10 years?
    Do you live in HK? If not , shut the hell up, it is none of your business.
    PAID? I can tell when you use the term "5 cent army" that you are so naive and ignorant.

    September 11, 2014 at 1:16 am | Reply
    • Nathan Chan

      Shut up, she is a councilor in Hong Kong voted by Hong Kong citizens, she has Hong Kong citizen's support. What she's saying is right, Mainland China does not want Hong Kong to be democratized as she is afraid of " powers from other countries "

      September 11, 2014 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • Dave

      His reaction to the accusation proves it to be true.

      That's just what you want – this to be none of anybody's business. Oh but if we lived in China, it's STILL nobody's business, isn't that right, Comrade?

      September 12, 2014 at 3:30 am | Reply
  11. Peter Choi

    "Mo" at her age act like a child. Politically naive.

    September 15, 2014 at 3:51 am | Reply

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