Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I just wanted to say hi, seeing as my current home has cropped up in the conversation. It is interesting to see so many knowledgeable comments about HK, which seems to punch above its weight in interest for such a small place.

A couple of things, in no particular order. Britain is indeed extremely hypocritical about this, seeing as they ruled the place without anything that even looked like democracy until the final few years. 'Looked like' is important, because HK's system of functional constituencies amounts to a gerrymander by profession instead of locale: businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers and social workers get to vote twice (the last two categories are maybe anomalous in terms of their class awareness and possible voting preferences, but I'm sure it was figured out that these potential lefties would be well and truly out-voted by everyone else, so the sop was affordable). So, of the sixty Legco seats, thirty are chosen in more or less 'one man one vote' fashion, twenty are chosen by good solid reliable bourgeois types, and just to make sure, the last ten get picked by a small committee of business people (or maybe Mainland Chinese business people ... I can't remember.)

So the whole thing is purely for show, and even then it's rigged to make sure the show is the right one. And these were arrangements by Britain, not China. Add to that that the Legco is pretty much powerless anyway in executive terms.

I shouldn't need to point out why the aversion to democracy by both Britain and China. HK is run in the interests of its business class, and one thing that dread is the introduction of proper labour laws. If there is even a semblance of democracy, you can kiss goodbye to unpaid overtime (virtually the only type: OT means working for nothing for most people here), twelve hour shifts six days a week (e.g. for security guards and bus drivers), sacking people whenever you like, and so on.

Incidentally someone once figured out that HK's weak labour laws actually cost business and the economy some phenomenal amount of money annually,  because employers hire and fire without much scrutiny of a potential employee's real capacity, and staff turnover is high due to disatisfaction with crap working environments.But the essential insight that one must invest in personnel is lost on Hong Kong's business owners, who still live very much in the Victorian era in terms of their primitive views on productivity ('work 'em as many hours as you can every single day').

I have other incoherent things to say but I must be off to work.

Thanks for ET.

by wing26 on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 07:03:48 PM EST

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