A front page editorial in today’s edition of the People’s Daily again attacked Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement and its organizers, saying their actions are “illegal” and “doomed to fail.”
The editorial seemed to offer unqualified support for the SAR Government under the leadership of the current chief executive, CY Leung, and accused protest organizers of “cooking up allegations and spreading rumors,” a possible reference to recent revelations of payments to Leung from an Australian firm.
The editorial bears the byline, “By this paper’s editorial writer,” an attribution that means at the very minimum that the piece is the paper’s official editorial — not forgetting, of course, that the People’s Daily is the official mouthpiece of the CCP’s Central Committee.
Our quick translation of the editorial, which appears at the bottom-left of the front page, follows:
“Firmly Supporting the SAR Government’s Administration According to Law” (坚决支持特区政府依法施政)
By this paper’s editorial writer (本报评论员)
October 15, 2014
Ever since a few people in Hong Kong launched the illegal gathering called “Occupy Central,” the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has handled the matter in accordance with the law. Its prudent response has won the widespread support of city residents, and it has the full support also of the central government. At the same time, the organizers of “Occupy Central” have taken the SAR government as their target, constantly seeking to create agendas and stir up dissension, fiercely attacking the authority of the chief executive and hindering the actions of the government. Any person who cares about Hong Kong and about the people of Hong Kong should say “NO” to this hijacking of the general public will for personal objectives, and should support the actions of the SAR government under the principle of rule of law.
At present, the development of constitutional rule in Hong Kong has come to a crucial point. According to the Basic Law, the SAR Government has, after extensive consultation, provided the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress with a related report; following the decision of the NPC Standing Committee, the SAR Government will hold a second round of consultations over the question of political reform. Whether or not this process can legally move forward in a smooth manner directly concerns the question of whether or not Hong Kong can hold general elections in 2017.
But some, ignoring the Basic Law and the decision of the NPC Standing Committee, have instigated a campaign of so-called “civil disobedience” (公民抗命), seeking through the plainly illegal method of “Occupy Central” to force the central government to make concessions on an important matter of principle. In order to achieve this goal, they have pointed blame at the SAR Government and its chief executive, cooking up allegations and spreading rumors in an attempt to force a chief executive out of office who has the support of the central government, playing out a “color revolution” (颜色革命) in Hong Kong. But they have chosen the wrong place, and they are doomed to fail.
Democracy must have a foundation of rule of law. It cannot be a tyranny of the few, and it certainly cannot become an excuse by which the vast minority defy laws both human and divine to do whatever they please. In the “Occupy Central” movement, a few have attacked the normal social order, paralyzing traffic and affecting people’s livelihoods, so that people feel indignation. The SAR Government and the police have handled this illegal gathering in accord with the law in order to preserve social order and uphold their responsibility to protect the public interest, as demanded by the protection of rule of law.
Just imagine if nothing at all were done in response to this illegal conduct. Who would preserve Hong Kong core values? If those who indulge in law-breaking will not desist, who will protect law-abiding citizens? The rule of law is the greatest public interest. Supporting the SAR Government in administration according to law means respecting the responsibility of the SAR Government and the police to preserve the basic interests of seven million Hong Kong residents.
Stability means prosperity, and chaos mean calamity (稳定是福，动乱是祸). As for differing demands for the development of Hong Kong’s democratic system, we can seek common ground while reserving differences. And we can use any number of legal means to express [our demands]. Many facts and histories outside China instruct us that if we yield to political blackmail when certain people launch radical and illegal actions, this will only bring even more and even more serious illegal movements, which will only aggravate unrest and chaos until there is never any peace in society.
Only through unswerving support for the legal preservation of stability in Hong Kong by the SAR Government led by chief executive C.Y. Leung can we preserve a favorable business climate in Hong Kong, preserve Hong Kong’s status as a center for international finance, trade and shipping, and accomodate the interests of various rungs of Hong Kong society and foreign investors.
Under the “One Country, Two Systems” formula, the administrative, legislative and judicial organs of the SAR all have a responsibility to respect and carry out the Basic Law, and all have a responsibility to preserve rule of law. The central government will continue unswervingly to implement the principle of “the people of Hong Kong running Hong Kong’s affairs” (港人治港), with a high degree of autonomy. [The central government will] unswervingly support the administrative, legislative and judicial organs of the SAR in carrying out their various roles and responsibilities in accordance with the law, together preserving the sovereignty, security and development interests of the state, and protecting the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.