Hong Kong’s political system is ‘beyond redemption’

Hong Kong’s political system is beyond redemption and any pro-democracy politicians taking part in it would be used solely as “window dressing”, an academic said on Thursday.

Kevin Carrico, a senior research fellow in Chinese Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, said there is a fine line between representing the aspirations of citizens, and compromising and colluding with an unrepresentative system.

His comments on RTHK’s Backchat programme came as Legco’s remaining lawmakers prepared to vote on a bill to pave the way for Beijing’s overhaul of the SAR’s electoral system.

The number of Legco members chosen by the public is to be slashed to just 20, while a vetting committee will screen candidates to block out any “non-patriots”.

Democratic Party chairman Lo Kin-hei told RTHK earlier this week that his party is yet to decide whether to take part in future Legco races, with Beijing figures calling for them to run, but most of their supporters urging them not to.

Carrico warned the pro-democracy camp against taking part in a “rigged” electoral system.

“We’ve seen over the past year the implementation of the national security law, the disqualification of so many directly elected Legislative Council members, the delay of an election on really quite baseless grounds and the detention of participants in open and fair primaries, under the pretext of national security,” he said.

“So in the past I can certainly understand compromising, working within an imperfect system made sense. However, I think that at this point, the political system in Hong Kong is beyond, really, any sense of representativeness, beyond any sense of redemption. Democrats participating in this system would indeed be, essentially, window dressing”.

But another guest on the show, Brian Wong who is the founding editor-in-chief at Oxford Political Review, said there is a need for pan-democrats in the system, to make politics and reforms work.

He said the pro-democracy camp could still provide constructive criticism on livelihood issues or social economic reforms.

“When it comes to democracy, I’m a firm believer that we still need conversation, whether it be informal and formal settings about the eventual striving towards universal suffrage,” Wong said.

“Is it far-fetched? Possibly. Is it difficult? Definitely. But in the absence of some representation – at least within the institution – attempts to push forward genuine reforms would fall prey and victim to what I would term the sycophancy of a monolithic entity.”