The US claims to be supporting democracy from Ukraine to Cuba, and from Somalia to Iraq, often by bombing the alleged opposition, or by supporting proxy wars and subversion. But one place where real democracy activists are battling against the forces of repression they are curiously getting no backing from the United States: Hong Kong.
There, student activists, a local occupy movement, and now the independent trade union movement, are mobilizing to prevent China from going back on a pledge made in 1997 to allow Hong Kong people in 2017 to elect their city’s “mayor,” called the chief executive, by popular vote.
The government in China, which assumed sovereignty over Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, at the time established what was called a Basic Law governing Hong Kong, and granting the former British Colony self-rule. As part of that Basic Law, the partially-elected, partially-appointed legislative council was dissolved, and new elections were held.
The British governor was replaced with a chief executive appointed by a panel of business leaders and other prominent figures selected by the central government in Beijing.
But over the course of the next 20 years, the number of members of the Legislative Council who are directly elected by the citizens of Hong Kong was to be gradually increased (it is currently 40 out of 70, with the balance elected by so-called functional constituencies, basically the professions like law, banking, etc.), and in 2017, the chief executive was to be directly elected.