Is dictatorship suitable for Hong Kong?

BeeroYau asked this question on 7/12/2000:

Is a dictatorship kind of government suitable for Mainland China and Hong Kong?

JesseGordon gave this response on 7/12/2000:

Well, to begin with, Hong Kong no longer HAS a government -- they're part of China now. They DO have a "Basic Law" which is like a separate constitution from China, so they have some autonomy, but they're not a country, since 1997. You can read details of that at interview of Hong Kong's last governor), which addresses lots of issues on your topic.

The more general question is whether dictatorship is "suitable" for China. Well, the most pragmatic answer, which the Chinese government would say, is to compare China's growth since 1950 with India's. They both started off at about the same level (very poor and very overpopulated), at now everyone agrees that China is doing much better economically.

The problem is, they achieved that by forcibly redistributing wealth (e.g., they took all landlords, lined them up, and shot them), by forcibly reducing population (via forced sterilizations of women after one child), and by forcibly moving millions of people around the country.

But the result is that the people of China have a lot more hope for the future than the people of India. India is still poor and still over-populated, with a lot less bright outlook than China. But they never had a dictatorship -- you'll have to decide which is better on balance.

Now some details about "dictatorship".

China no longer tries to control the economy -- they're basically capitalist, but they still control people's personal lives heavily. You can read details at .

I have a theory that political control only lasts about 20-30 years once an educated middle-class is established -- see .
Japan was the earliest to achieve that, and their one-party system fell a few years ago. Indonesia's "strong-man" government fell dramatically last year; the rest of China's neighbors are moving towards voting out the one-party powers. Presumably all of those governments will become less rigid in political control over time. A lot of people -- including Clinton, Gore & Bush -- say that we should promote China's economic growth despite their atrocious dictatorshiop because an improved economy will cause the downfall of the dictatorship.

In answer, then, to your final question, I don't think that democratic gov't is more suitable than authoritarian gov't in China, but I think it's tolerable for the period that they're growing, as long as they don't go too far against human rights (which they often do). The famous phrase here, by some African president, is "Give us bread before you give us freedom."

In general, I think when a country is poor, some political controls are ok, to speed along the process of building an educated middle class. I DON'T think that economic controls are ok, like in 1970s China, because then the people stay poor and uneducated and there's no hope for eventual change.

BeeroYau asked this question on 7/12/2000:

My school asked me to do a research assignment about dictatorship. i received a question "Is this kind of government suitable for Mainland China and Hong Kong?" Please help me.

npscott gave this response on 7/12/2000:

A dictatorship is not suitable for any country under any circumstances, at anytime in mankind's history--past, present, or future.

We are part of a Revolutionary Heritage and belief that "All Men are Created Equal".

We believe we possess Natural Rights which are given to all men by God alone, and which no government may take from us, or infringe upon.

The word used to describe these rights in the Declaration of Independence is "inalienable". That means "non-transferable". It follows no person can give his 'inalienable' rights to another. It also follows no group of people can give their inalienable rights to a Dictatorship.

All I ever needed to know about Communism I learned when the Berlin Wall, walled-out democracy, and re-learned when the same wall was hammered to pieces by the people who were walled-in, just thirty years later.

No American Revolutionary can ever answer this question "yes". No American should ever answer this question positively.

Dictatorship is wrong if it exists in a two person nation, with one person opressing the freedoms of the other one.

How much more wrong it is then, when a handful of 'proletariat dictators' tell nearly one quarter of the Earth's population how to live? A 'dictatorship of the workers" is still a dictatorship.

"...all men are created equal [endowed] by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...

"...that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness..

"that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

"...whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it."

Those are the words of our forefathers in the Declaration of Independence.

These words were Revolutionary in 1776, and they are no less potent today. It is any wonder Communist dictators and petty tyrants the world over attempt to suppress American influence?

We are so accustomed to the benefits of our Revolutionary Doctrine, that I sometimes think we sell it short and do not fully realize its power to transform nations.

Some people would argue that certain peoples cannot 'take care of themselves'. (Which is another way of saying some peoples cannot handle their own God-given liberities.) Thus, a dictatorship is necessary or beneficial, they conclude.

That's a sophistic argument.

It is only a matter of time until the Communist dictatorship in China crumbles. I doubt if it will last out this decade.

The Chinese people are a proud, smart, ancient
race who inherit no fewer 'inalienable rights' than any other people inherit.

And they possess the same Revolutionary Right which our fore fathers laid claim to.

No, a dictatorship is not suitable for China.

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