Hong Kong Intelligence Report #40 2021 Hong Kong Electoral Reform is A Victory of Oligarchs

Updated: Jun 20

Open-source intelligence (OSINT)

FILE PHOTO: A 2021 Hong Kong Electoral Reform Meme. ©WiX
FILE PHOTO: A 2021 Hong Kong Electoral Reform Meme. ©WiX
國家安全? 一個國家真正有主權,人民不餓,有住屋,健康,自由,而且受教育時才算安全的。
National security? If one country has genuine sovereignty, people aren't starved, own their houses, being healthy, free, and educated, then it'll be safe. - General Carlos Prats González quoted from Exorcising Terror: The Incredible Unending Trial of General Augusto Pinochet (Ariel Dorfman, JP ver., 2006, p.165)

IMPORTANT


2021 Hong Kong electoral reform only intensified oligarchy. It won't improve the Hong Kong workers' livelihood in any way.


UPDATE:

The failure of the individual proposal ''Increasing Land Supply on All Fronts'' (this proposal was NON-binding resolution thus it's a kind of PR stuff. However, that's also a litmus test for the political tendency of the newly reformed Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Vacant land tax is one of important solutions to the issue) proved correctness of this analysis. Intensification of oligarchy by the electoral reform will only let oligarchs more easily disapprove any attempt for improving livelihoods of Hong Kong workers. At the same time, citizens shouldn't ignore the hypocritical nature of 'pro-establishment' Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung who submitted the PR proposal (林健鋒議員的 重建社會信心議案). The failure also indicated that the remnant of the 'opposition' camp, Cheng Chung-tai - one of prominent intruders of Legislative Council on July 1, 2019 - stands with oligarchs.


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FILE PHOTO: The failure of the individual proposal ''Increasing Land Supply on All Fronts'' ©LegCo
FILE PHOTO: The failure of the individual proposal ''Increasing Land Supply on All Fronts'' ©LegCo

Apparently, both HKNSL and 2021 Hong Kong electoral reform are political responses of CPC (Communist Party of China; a.k.a. Chinese Communist Party; CCP) to the slogan of ''The Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement'' Five demands, not one less. Unfortunately, it just literally exacerbated pre-existed structural issues of legislative council that had actually produced violent tendencies and reactions of the ''opposition'' camp after 1997. As a result, dictatorship of bureaucrats and oligarchs against non-listed capitalists and the entire working class people has been further intensified by the ''reform'' of 2021 by reducing 35 directly elected seats to 20 (20 out of total 90 seats) for empowerment of undemocratically elected seats of both ''pro-establishment'' functional constituencies and Election Committee. The secret of Hong Kong politics is that vast majority of voters (total about 60%) support the opposition camp while minority ''pro-establishment'' camp (always average 40%) can systematically secure the majority of legislative council with ''nominated'' lawmakers from listed companies and designated business interest groups of functional constituencies. The electoral, legislative or governing system was and still is kleptocratic dictatorship not any kind of democratic system at all even by the capitalist standard itself. According to the Marxist standard, it's far from socialism. Furthermore, no matter whether they are democratically elected or not, all of them are ''privileged'' business owners themselves not representatives of workers. Even though we compromisingly count 3 functional constituency seats for labor as ''representatives'' of workers, it's still only 3 against 87 corporate seats. Of course, it's not any kind of Marxism (dictatorship of proletariat) at all.


The general tendency (outlook) of Hong Kong oligarchy (politics of HK) is that they do everything possible to postpone any social changes that would threaten or undermine their vested interests. This current can be symbolically seen on HK labor laws and policies after 1997(The labour law is the best reflection of the political nature of the ruling classes). Only quantitative changes within the pre-existed framework were allowed without any structural change. 

And also they are waiting for the collapse of the CPC regime while acting as part of the ''establishment'' in order to maintain their social hegemony in Hong Kong. Obviously, this is not any kind of gradualist reformism. In fact, they are just selfish reactionaries. Remember, the''pro-establishment''camp of today was also the ''pro-establishment''camp under the British colonial rule. It means that so called ''pro-establishment'' is not equal with Chinese patriotism fundamentally. Being ''pro-establishment''is just unreliable opportunism. 

Unfortunately, CPC's electoral reform directly serves their political goal(unlike official PR stunts, oligarchs don't really need democracy while they themselves are automatically given designated seats with or without elections). For this, 'separatists', 'external forces', 'opposition' villains were created to stage the political crisis that allowed oligarchs to exploit the situation for political gains. As a result, true winners are Hong Kong oligarchs not CPC. 

Remember, CPC is the only internal force who can really fight greedy oligarchs of Hong Kong. 

在訂立《基本法》的時候,中央政府很明白如果立法會全部議席由一人一票產生,他們便不能控制誰是立法會的多數派。然而透過保留功能界別以及背後的利益交易,中央政府就可以很大程度上左右立法會的派別構成。自特區成立以來,主流民意一直要求取消功能界別制度,唯自二零零四年起地區直選和功能界別的議席比例就一直都沒有改變過,維持各佔一半,政府也未能承諾最終取消功能界別。功能界別的存在保持了建制陣營在議會的主導權,卻同時帶來一個很壞的後果:市民對立法會的期望改變。在一個正常的議會當中,選民投票選出議員時的其中一個考量,是議會的構成會如何影響議案的處理。在理性選擇的框架下,支持某項政策的選民理應投最有能力落實此政策的候選人一票,好讓他們在議會中佔多數,然後通過相關的法案。實際上的選民的考量當然會複雜很多,例如有些選民會接受他們的代表在必要時妥協,另一些的選民卻會希望他們的代表立場堅定,甚至「有破壞沒建設」,但求阻礙他們眼中的惡法通過。問題的重點,在於當選民認為他們支持的政黨或派別永遠無法成為多數的時候,選民的思考便會傾向後者多一點,對候選人能力的評估也從重視審議的能力變成破壞的能力。(1)

The ''reform'' specifically embodies CPC's view, intelligence on the political and economic situation of Hong Kong. And most importantly it's a major compromisation to oligarchs of Hong Kong. In fact, it has nothing to do with increasing political power of the working class of Hong Kong as the number of the labor seats has been kept unchanged since the previous structure. In other words, CPC revisionists betrayed workers in terms of Marxism.


Remember One Country means the socialist constitution, and both socialism of mainland China and capitalism of Hong Kong / Macau are essential composition of Two Systems. Theoretically, only acceptable capitalism for CPC is capitalism under the control of socialist constitution of China.


The only way to overcome poverty is to give power to the poor.

However it's quite understandable while labor aristocrats of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (a ''pro-establishment'' pseudo-trade union. The limited company itself is not registered as any kind of trade union in order to legally ''earn'' donations from capitalists; HKFTU) dominate 4 seats at the legislative counsel. And another labor aristocrat organisation The Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions (''pro-establishment''; FLU) owns 1 seat. Thus adding one more labor seat would only be beneficial for labor aristocrats and no significant change for working class people.


For correctly understanding both Hong Kong politics and the election reform, there are several questions must be answered.


  1. ''Political parties'' of Hong Kong are fundamentally same with political parties of other countries?

  2. ''Lawmakers'' of Hong Kong are fundamentally same with lawmakers of other countries?

  3. ''Trade Unions'' of Hong Kong are fundamentally same with unions of other countries?

  4. Who are true beneficiaries of both ''The Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement'' and the pandemic? (a full list required)

  5. Is there transparency on all nominated members and appointed organisations involved in the entire election (''selection'') process? (a full list required)

  6. Is there transparency on donators who support specific politicians, political parties and candidates? (a full list required)

Simple answers to the question 1, 2, 3 are NO; an answer to the question 4 is Hong Kong’s 50 Richest People (Forbes), and answers to question 5 and 6 are also NO. For instance, chambers of commerce don't disclose their full members online for political reasons. And those members would also be political donators.


FACTS


1.There is still no political party law in Hong Kong thus so called ''political parties'' are registered as limited companies under Cap. 622 Companies Ordinance or NGOs / clubs under Cap. 151 Societies Ordinance. In other words, there is no authentic political party in Hong Kong at all. Therefore, party politics in HK is just an illusion created by media. Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) denied possibility of political party law in Hong Kong in 2004. It's one of major differences from other countries.


香港的政黨仍在發展階段,我們應讓政黨有足夠的空間成長。在現階段對政黨運作施加法定管制,可能會窒礙而非促 進政黨的發展。事實上,部分立法會議員和學者也曾發表類似的意見。例如在二零零四年六月的事務委員會會議上,有委員指出立法旨在規管,而引進政黨法會對政黨的運作施加限制,並窒礙政黨的發展。
香港並無法例要求政黨註冊,也沒有專為規管政黨的運作而訂立的法例。一般來說,政黨是根據《公司條例》(第 32 章)註冊為公司,或根據《社團條例》(第 151 章)註冊為社團
我們採取進一步措施,促進政黨發展。自二零零四年立法會選舉開始,我們推行了為候選人提供財政資助的計劃,又讓候選人在選票上印上所屬政黨的名稱和標誌。在財政資助計劃下,當選或取得不少於 5%有效選票的候選人或候選名單可獲得資助以抵銷部分選舉開支。計劃有助減輕政黨在資助黨員參選方面的財政承擔。政黨可以把省下來的資源轉而投放於其他用途,例如進行政策研究和其他活動。透過減低競選活動的財政開支,這項計劃有利於政治人才晉身政壇,這點對政黨的發展十分重要。
有意見認為引進政黨法將帶來積極意義,包括政黨可獲得法律下的認可,政黨運作和財政透明度得以提高,以及為政府資助政黨提供法律依據。雖然香港沒有政黨法,但現行措施足以涵蓋上文第 11 段所述政黨法的有關影響。根據我們的選舉法例,所有候選人均須申報他們的選舉開支和所得的捐贈
我們也須留意海外經驗顯示政黨法會包含規管條文。一些海外的司法管轄區有專門的法例,規管政黨的登記、 財政來源和運作。這類法律旨在規管,並在不同範疇對政黨施加管制。例子包括美國、加拿大和德國的政黨須公布帳目,列明年內的撥款來源和用途。在德國、英國和新西蘭,政黨須向指定的選舉機構登記,方合資格參加某些選舉。此外,德國和新西蘭的法例對政黨派出候選人參選的選拔程序作出了規管。(2)
政黨 (political party)指 ——(a)宣稱是政黨並在香港運作的政治性團體或組織;或 (b)其主要功能或宗旨是為參加選舉的候選人宣傳或作準備的團體或組織,而候選人所參加的選舉須是選出議員或任何區議會的議員的選舉。(3)

According to Cap. 542 Legislative Council Ordinance, so called ''political party'' only means an election and propaganda device for candidates. It has nothing to do with political ideology or principles. It's just a tool for elections.


2. ''Lawmakers of Hong Kong'' have no independent rights to make law proposals on the government structure, governmental operations and the state budget thus actual ''lawmakers'' are governmental officials while the most of law proposals are government proposals not individual proposals. Furthermore, the logical contradiction is that any law proposal is inevitably about governmental operations because it's basically regulated by the government itself. The definition is quite vague.


議員 (Member) 指獲選為立法會議員的人。(2000年第10號第47條修訂;由2003年第25號第2條修訂) (2)就本條例而言 ——(a)某人與某團體有密切聯繫的情況包括(但不限於)為該團體的成員、會員、合夥人、僱員或(如該團體是法人團體)高級人員或(如該團體不是法人團體)人員;及(b)某人與某功能界別有密切聯繫的情況包括(但不限於) ——(i)為該功能界別的團體選民的成員、會員、合夥人、僱員或(如該團體是法人團體)高級人員或(如該團體不是法人團體)人員,或為該團體選民的團體成員;或 (ii)屬於指明為該功能界別的選民的某類別人士。 (1999年第48號第2條修訂;由2001年第21號第62條修訂) (c)(2001年第21號第62條廢除) (4)

According to Cap. 542 Legislative Council Ordinance, the implied premise is that ''members'' should be representatives of interest groups in this society not just a pure individual with citizenship.

《基本法》第六十二條第五款訂明,香港特別行政區政府獲賦職權,擬定並提出法案、議案及附屬法規。政府提出的法案稱為政府法案。 根據《基本法》第七十四條凡不涉及公共開支或政治體制或政府運作的法案,可由立法會議員個別或聯名提出。至於涉及政府政策的法案,議員在提出前必須得到行政長官的書面同意。立法會議員提出的法案,稱為議員法案。(5)

In 2019,

香港立法會和世界各地的議會一樣,首要功能固然是要代表民意。不過香港立法會無論是選舉方式和議事制度,都使它無法好好發揮民意代表的功能。現時香港立法會有七十個議席,當中一半由地區直選產生,另一半由功能界別產生。所謂功能界別很大程度上和行政長官選舉中的選舉委員會相重疊。選舉委員會中有漁農界、保險界和法律界,立法會功能界別當中一樣有漁農界、保險界和法律界。不同的地方,在於每個界別選舉委員會中所佔的席數不一,但在立法會當中則一般只有一席。...... 政府提出的法案,如獲得出席會議的全體議員的過半數票,即為通過。立法會議員個人提出的議案、法案和對政府法案的修正案均須分別經功能團體選舉產生的議員和分區直接選舉、選舉委員會選舉產生的議員兩部分出席會議議員各過半數通過。......自特區成立以來,就有很多議案雖然獲得過半數議員支持,卻在「分組點票」之下被否決特別是以保護勞工和低下階層為目標的議案,既得利益就往往可以利用工商界在功能界別的優勢,把「分組點票」變成他們的專屬否決權。(6)

In 2021,

立法會以往要通過議員提出的議案或法案,都須跨過「分組點票」的門檻,即要同時獲得功能界別過半數在席議員,以及地區直選過半數在席議員贊成才可通過。而在人大常委會修改香港選舉制度後,「分組點票」的要求仍然存在,但門檻跟以往有不同。根據基本法附件二的內容,除《基本法》另有規定外,立法會對法案和議案的表決採取下列程序:一) 政府提出的法案,如獲得出席會議的全體議員過半數票,即可通過。二) 立法會議員個人提出的議案、法案和政府法案的修正案,均須分別經選舉委員會選舉產生的議員和功能團體選舉、分區直接選舉產生的議員兩部分出席會議議員各過半數通過。同樣根據附件二,未來立法會由選舉委員會選舉產生的議員為40人,此40人屬一個分組;而功能團體議員和分區直選議員,則分別有30及20人,此50人屬同一分組。未來由議員提出的議案、法案和對政府法案提出的修正案若要過通,就需要獲上述兩個分組,各自出席會議議員的過半數,才會獲得通過。(7)

In the 2016 composition, there are total 70 seats of legislative council (30 ''geographical constituencies'' seats directly elected by citizens; 5 seats nominated from directly elected district councils; 30 seats for nominated functional constituencies). The ''pro-establishment'' camp can't win democratic elections solely for the 30 seats, and they even lost the 2019 district council election, the 5 seats will be dominated by opposition thus they requested CPC to simply eliminate the 5 seats which could be allocated for district council members in order to outflank their competitors. On the other hand, the secret of the less popular ''pro-establishment'' camp to maintain majority in legislative council is its dominance on the functional constituencies (25 seats out of 30 seats within 28 categories). We don't think about infighting among opposition camps and their own split that caused another difficulties on the legislative elections(it's still strategically improvable even though they can't change the system itself).


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A member proposal must be green-lighted separately by more than half of democratically elected members and functional constituencies. Separate voting requited for individual law proposals.


In the 2021 composition, the right of members has been further undermined by the ''reform'' because both 20 democratically elected seats and 30 nominated functional constituencies combined into 50 seats. And additional 40 newly nominated seats of election committee constituency form another unit for approval of any individual proposal. As a result, an individual proposal of ''lawmakers'' must gain over the half of 50 seats (one unit) and 40 seats (another unit) each. A-priori, 30 functional constituencies dominate the absolute majority against democratically elected members within one unit. Simply, it undermined rights of members, the democratic elements and effects of the election in order to secure election victories of unpopular ''pro-establishment'' camp. In other words, ''lawmakers'' of Hong Kong are mainly bureaucrats themselves (only a few individual proposals can be seen) because the rights of individual proposals of members have been further nullified by the ''reform'' in practice. This is so called ''executive-driven'' government system of Hong Kong. Separation of powers is permanently in crisis.


In this legislative structure, crony capitalist negotiations between capitalist functional constituencies and bureaucrats become decisive factors to approve law proposals in Hong Kong. It's total denial of any democratic process from the beginning. The 'reform' just only intensified this malpractice. In other words, CPC gave more power to greedy local capitalists who are major causes of the social issues of this city. Con artists won the game. 

3. Trade unions include labour unions, employers' unions and hybrid ones. Moreover, associations of trade unions (trade union federations) are also registered under Cap. 332 Trade Unions Ordinance. The term ''trade union'' doesn't only mean a ''labor union''.


Trade union (職工會) means any combination the principal objects of which are under its constitution the regulating of relations between employees and employers, or between employees and employees, or between employers and employers, whether such combination would or would not, if this Ordinance had not been enacted, have been deemed to have been an unlawful combination by reason of some one or more of its purposes being in restraint of trade; (Amended 15 of 1971 s. 3) Trade union federation (職工會聯會) means a trade union which is wholly an association or combination of other registered trade unions. (8)

Like ''political parties'' and ''lawmakers'' of Hong Kong, trade unions, especially ''labor unions'' are not authentic because they don't have the essential right to be functional labor unions. That is the right of collective bargaining. Not only Hong Kong workers but also Mainland Chinese workers and Macau workers don't have basic three rights due to fatal lack of the right of collective bargaining. A labor union must have the basic three rights otherwise it can't function as a genuine labor union under capitalism. Thus, there is no labor union in Hong Kong at all in practice.


Collective bargaining is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more. Collective bargaining is a way to solve workplace problems. It is also the best means for raising wages in America. Indeed, through collective bargaining, working people in unions have higher wages, better benefits and safer workplaces. In the United States, some three-quarters of private-sector workers and two-thirds of public employees have the right to collective bargaining. This right came to U.S. workers through a series of laws. The Railway Labor Act granted collective bargaining to railroad workers in 1926 and now covers many transportation workers, such as those in airlines. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act clarified the bargaining rights of most other private-sector workers and established collective bargaining as the “policy of the United States.” The right to collective bargaining also is recognized by international human rights conventions. The freedom to form and join a union is core to the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights and is an “enabling” right—a fundamental right that ensures the ability to protect other rights. (9)

READ MORE:

History of Labor Unions

The legal protection of workers in a place is generally assessed by its substantial implementatio