實踐「穩定繁榮」的承諾

                                   吳光正

選擇性誤導或刻意的遺漏可能是在法庭辯論時常用的手法,但李柱銘議員在三月五日發表這篇題為《民主選舉實踐「港人治港」承諾》針對國際社會的文章,未必是與北京建立互信的最可取方法。

到底承諾了些甚麼呢?中國向英國和香港作過的承諾一直是「穩定繁榮」。這方面,香港人絕對有權要求北京信守承諾。目前各方熱烈討論的選舉方法,其實只是北京為了實踐上述承諾所採取的途徑而已。

首先,李柱銘在文中聲稱,一九八四年簽訂的《中英聯合聲明》設下逐步達至全面民主化的既定最終目的,可是:(一)整篇《聯合聲明》中其實從沒出現「民主」這兩個字,也沒觸及未來的政制發展;(二)關於選舉方法的篇幅,亦僅指出 ── 其一,行政長官乃通過選舉或協商產生,由中央人民政府任命;其二,立法會乃經由選舉產生。這是英國在中英談判過程中,最終所能爭取到並已落實了的,而對這些條件,中國亦一一遵守。也許政務司司長率領的工作小組可以就這一法律觀點作出澄清?

其次,李柱銘議員的文章對中國的承諾作出表述,但卻把「第五條」中「原有」那兩字刪掉。「第五條」原文其實這樣說:「香港特別行政區不實行社會主義制度和政策,保持原有的資本主義制度和生活方式,五十年不變」。

對北京以及很多人來說,「第五條」是「穩定繁榮」的基石。

何以李柱銘議員會刪去「原有」這兩個字?香港和北京都堅持有這兩個字。在「一國兩制」框架下的制度,就是「第五條」中所述的「原有」資本主義制度,也就是鄧小平和姬鵬飛所指的制度。這制度將會五十年不變。這不是「任何」制度,也不是英式或美式的資本主義制度。

「原有」的生活方式亦關乎我們的自由、價值觀和民主權利。許多人都堅持經濟與政治不可分割,他們很對。那「原有」的相應政治制度是怎樣的?首先,「均衡參與」就是當時的政治方程式及我們的生活方式,商界、專業界、基層和中產階級一起「直接」參與,那是個成功的方程式,不是美式,也不是英式的政治制度。原有的生活方式肯定不是讓個別階層獨大的。其次,行政主導模式也是「原有」制度的一部分;第三,在從前,英國主權國就是香港殖民地的前提。奉公守法的市民如非政治人物或權力分子不必向英國效忠,沒有人能干擾主權國或其代表(而我們現在身為特區居民在這方面的限制更少,在這方面情況更勝昔日)。

貫徹着第五條的精神,《基本法說明》備忘也明確指出「均衡參與」的原則及原政治體制中行之有效(有效維持「原有」資本主義制度和生活方式)的部分,應予以保留。

政制發展專責小組是否應與北京澄清第五條的意義和原意呢?

第三,去年七月一日,北京收到一個嚴正訊息:「您對我們的選舉、誰當特首委實管得太多,你這方法是行不通的,還政於民,讓我們為自己的選舉作主吧。立即推行普選!」

一月七日的港澳辦及二月十日的新華社聲明重申了香港政制發展必須具備的「先決條件」和「均衡參與」這基本政策。而後者關係到香港社會各階層、各界別、各方面的利益。必須先滿足了有關的「先決條件」,才可以循序漸進地推行有關的改變。也就是說,並無預設時間表。

國際社會就香港政制問題表態前,實在應該先弄清楚這些基本問題。

對要改變選舉方法從而達至全面普選所須具備的「先決條件」(即「實際情況」),李柱銘議員在文章中完全不予理會。政務司司長的工作小組現正主力處理有關「先決條件」的問題,許多人都認為兹事體大,不可以不理會。

第四,階級政治,無處不在,香港亦難倖免。前美國約翰霍金斯大學的孔誥烽先生曾指出,有調查顯示,香港最受歡迎的兩大政黨(即民建聯和民主黨)都不是中產政黨,而是基層政黨。現在的民建聯和民主黨,合共佔了百分之七十之直選選票,只要聯手起來,足以否決任何政府提出的法案,最近兩黨便曾一度聯手阻止了政府削減大學支出的提議。這是個「實際情況」。

不少人認為目前立法會大致上已達致平衡。即使有人想改變這個均衡情況,北京會不會接受正在享受絕大部分政府福利的階層到頭來應該擁有更大的政治勢力和更多的話事權?這有助於依據第五條來保留「原有」的資本主義制度嗎?這又符合「均衡參與」的原則嗎?

不少人一直過份高估了商界那少數政治代表權及其在選舉問題上的影響力。其他人又不斷向商界施壓,企圖令商界放棄他們在憲制上原有的直接參與權,有些人甚至醜化商界,可是商界心裡卻很清楚,他們只是棋盤上的另一只棋子而已。

李柱銘議員及其他民主派人士必須令北京相信,即使奪去現時《基本法》賦予商界(資本家)那百分之二十五的少數政治代表權,「原有」的資本主義制度仍能維持不變。

許多人強調現行的政治架構並不可行,但另外一些人卻指出立法會的激辯、傳媒的尖銳批評以及社會各界的和平示威,恰好表現出《基本法》內的互相監察制衡的機制運作正常,在這個層面看,目前的架構並非不可行。如果靜得連這些風波也沒有,才真正叫人憂慮。

許多人都明白,對任何一個擁有特別行政區或殖民地的主權國來說,從策略性角度出發,必然自覺地採取權力均衡、互相制衡的管治模式,以阻止任何一個本地有組織的政治勢力坐大,這就是實權政治。這世界並無免費政治午餐。

九七之後,天沒有榻下來。中國被視為一個善意的主權國。我們過往享有的自由沒有被剝奪,也沒有活在恐懼之中或高壓統治之下,法治仍是我們的生活方式,我們享有很大的新聞自由,我們仍擁有過往的民主權利。在李柱銘議員的華盛頓之行後,美國國務院發言人說:「美國毋須協助香港人實踐民主,香港在這方面已有豐富經驗。」說真的,我們真有革命的理由嗎 ── 不管是和平或其他形式的革命?面對目前的權力鬥爭,香港何去何從?

最後,許多人都相信,現在絕對不應向北京顯示香港人缺乏理性地擕手合作搞好經濟、社會、民生和平衡預算案的意願和能力。面對及解決這些問題是我們對香港市民應有的責任。可是另一方面,仍然有人選擇在香港以至內地和北京打「普選」這場「十字軍聖戰」。

有些觀察家說過,當鄧小平在一九七九年說中國在時機成熟時會收回香港,香港人以為他是說「永不」,結果一九八二年令許多人措手不及;可是當一條附帶「先決條件」的《基本法》條文說最終目的是達至普選時,許多人卻認為《基本法》是說「立即」或者「很快」。我們的政治觸覺到底有多敏銳?

畢竟,最近的熱烈討論並非一場新的辯論。在一九八四年我們並沒有及亦不可能以公投來決定回歸與否,沒有公投的原因,大家心中有數,許多人認為那些因素到今天仍然存在。一方面,在《基本法》的框架下,主權及其行使是一場零和對奕,主權國對實踐「穩定繁榮」的承諾,責無旁貸,沒有其他人或任何政黨可以履行這個責任。另一方面,有部分香港人對全面自治的要求,始自一九八二年,有些人口中的「高度自治」,跟全面獨立的分別,已細若微塵。我在四年前那篇《一港兩心》文章中提及的問題,不少仍然困擾香港。目前的討論不管如何重新包裝,對許多人來說,也只是一瓶釀製於一九八二年的舊瓶舊酒罷了。


 

“Stability and Prosperity”Honour your promise

                                                        By Peter K C Woo

Selective misrepresentation and omission may be normal court room advocacy, but many see that the Honorable Martin Lee’s March 6 article “Democracy – honour your promise” addressed to the international community is not the best way to build mutual trust with Beijing.

What promise?  The promise China made to Britain and Hong Kong is “stability and prosperity”.  This, we can rightfully say – “honour your promise”!  Election methods currently under debate are simply means for Beijing to fulfill the promise. 

Firstly, Martin Lee claimed that the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 envisioned a gradual process of full democratization as the defined ultimate goal.  But curiously,  (1) the word “democracy” is nowhere to be found in the Joint Declaration.  There is also no mention of future constitutional development.  (2) the only mention of election methods were that : (a) the Chief Executive shall be selected by elections or through consultations and be appointed by the CPG (b) the legislature shall be elected.  This was the best Britain could negotiate and settle for.  These requirements have been complied.  Perhaps the Chief  Secretary’s task force could clarify this point of law.

Secondly, Martin Lee omitted the word “previous” from his paraphrase of China’s pledge.  Article 5 reads “The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years”.

Article 5, to Beijing and many,  is the key to “prosperity and stability”.


 

Why was the word “previous” in Article 5 omitted by Martin Lee?  Both Hong Kong and Beijing wanted the word in.  That the system referred to in the “one country two systems” principle is our “previous” capitalist system as per Article 5.   Deng Xiao Ping and Ji Peng Fei referred to the same.  It is to remain unchanged for 50 years.  It is not “any” system – not the US or the UK capitalist system. 

“Previous way of life” is about our freedoms, our values and our democratic rights.  Many rightfully insist that economics and politics cannot be separated.  So what were the “previous” accompanying politics?  (a) “Balanced participation” was the previous political formula and our way of life.  Side by side, business, professionals, grass root and middle class participated in politics “directly”.  It was successful.  It was not the US or the UK political system.  Domination by any segment of the population was clearly not our previous way of life.  (b) the executive-led government model was the previous way.  (c) the British sovereign was the premise to the colony of Hong Kong.  Law-abiding citizens need not be British patriots if not in politics or positions of power.  No one could harass the sovereign or her representative (our SAR laws ensure that we are much less restricted in this aspect). 

Consistent with Article 5, the memorandum of “Explanations for the Basic Law” outlined the policy of “balanced participation” and ensuring that the part of the political structure as stated by the Basic Law proven to be effective (in the preservation of the “previous” capitalist system and way of life) will be maintained.

Perhaps the Chief Secretary’s task force could clarify the meaning and intention of Article 5 with Beijing?

Thirdly, Beijing received a hard message on July 1 last year: “You have too much say about our local elections and who the Chief Executive should be.  Your ways are not working.  Return the rule to the people.  We would determine our local elections.  Universal suffrage now.”

The January 7 HKMO and the February 10 Xinhua news agency statements reaffirmed Beijing’s “pre-conditions” to any changes of election methods and the fundamental policy to balance.  The latter involves the different segments of the community, the different professions and business sectors, and the different aspects of society.   And that only after the “pre-conditions” are satisfied can changes be made in a gradual and orderly manner.  That being the case, there is no timetable.

The international community should be clear on all the basic issues and legal points before taking side on the constitutional debate.

In his article, Martin Lee disregarded the “pre-conditions” (the actual situation provision) to any changes of election methods toward full universal suffrage.  The Chief Secretary’s task force is now substantially dealing with these pre-condition issues.  Many doubt that they could be ignored. 

Fourthly, like anyplace else, class politics is real in Hong Kong.  Mr H. F. Hung, formerly of John Hopkins University, once wrote that surveys showed that Hong Kong’s most popular political parties are not middle class parties but two grass root parties (namely DAB and DP).  DAB and DP together take 70% of the direct election votes.  Together they can block any government bills.  They recently stopped a government proposal in the first instance to reduce university expenditures.  This is an “actual situation”.

Some see that Legco is close to finely balanced.  For any election changes, Beijing needs to be convinced why the segment of the community that is already a substantial net receiver of government expenditure could end up having even more power and more say?  Does  that help preserve the previous capitalist system as per Article 5?  Is that consistent with the “balanced participation” principle?

Many often over-estimate the influence the business sector has with its minority constitutional representation and on election methods.  Others relentlessly hound the business sector to surrender its allotted constitutional roles.  Some even try to demonize the business sector.  On the other hand, the business sector knows themselves that they are another chess piece amongst many on the chess board.

Martin Lee and the democrats need to convince Beijing that the previous capitalist system can remain unchanged without the business (capitalist) sector’s 25% of minority political representation as provided for currently in the Basic Law.

Many argue strongly that the current political structure is not working.  Others, however, point out that ferocious Legco debates, hostile media criticisms and peaceful demonstrations by the community are all signs that the “check and balance” specifically designed by the Basic Law is being effectively kicked into motion.  In this respect, it is working.  Many would worry if it is quiet on all these fronts.

For any sovereign overseeing a special administrative region or a colony, many recognized that the strategic choice of the balance of power and the rejection of possible dominance by any single local organized political force is instinctive to her interests.  That’s real politics.  There is no political free lunch. 

Post 1997, the sky did not fall.  China is accepted as a benign sovereign.  Our freedoms are not stripped nor are we living in fear.  We don’t have a repressive regime.  The rule of law is our way of life.  Our press is very free.  Our democratic rights are preserved.  After Martin Lee’s Washington visit, the US State Department spokesman said, “The United States doesn’t need to help the people of Hong Kong practice democracy.  They have a long experience in that.”  So, are there really grounds for a revolution?  Peaceful or otherwise?  Where could our current power struggle lead to?

Finally, many suggest that the mission now clearly is not to show Beijing that Hong Kong people lack the will and the ability to work together on issues related with economics, social and livelihood issues and the budget.  We owe it to the people of Hong Kong.  On the other front, there are others who still elect to crusade against Beijing on universal suffrage both in Hong Kong and in the mainland.

Some observers reflected that when Deng Xiao Ping declared in 1979 that China will take back Hong Kong when the time is ripe, Hong Kong people thought that it meant “never”.  1982 was a big shock.  When a “conditional” Basic Law provision says that universal suffrage is the ultimate objective, some want it to mean “now” or “very soon”.  How sharp are our political senses?

Well, all current debates are not new debates.  Many think that the very reason that we did not and could not have a referendum to fix the matter before 1984 is still applicable.  On the one hand, sovereign power and the exercise of it is a zero sum game under the Basic Law.  “Stability and prosperity” – Beijing must honour her promise.  No one else and no political party here can assume that responsibility.  On the other hand, demand for autonomy by part of Hong Kong started in 1982.  That we define our autonomy as only microscopically distinguishable from independence.  Many of the issues I raised in my article “One City Two Loyalties” four years ago are still relevant.  No matter how any new packaging looks, to many, it is an old wine in an old bottle of 1982 vintage.