Macao votes for democracy against Beijing dictatorship.

Discussion in 'China' started by yuebaili, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. yuebaili

    yuebaili Regular Member

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    Macau Votes for Democracy - WSJ.com

    Macau’s voters went to the polls over the weekend and cast their ballots for democracy. Their choice sends yet another signal to the world that the aspiration for freedom still runs strong in Chinese territory.

    While the main pro-democracy bloc on Sunday won only three seats in the 29-member legislature (and can count on some legislative support from a fellow traveler who also kept his seat), they are by far the biggest winners—theirs is the only camp that increased its number of seats. Overall voter turnout set a new record at nearly 60%.

    Macau's legislative elections don't make much policy difference since only 12 of the 29 seats are directly elected; the rest are filled by the city's Beijing-picked government or its sympathizers. But to the extent issues mattered, voters worried about pocketbook concerns and corruption. Allegations of vote-buying and smears against the democrats only heightened the latter concern. Macanese citizens apparently are growing more attuned to the connection between democracy and good governance. A recent opinion poll found rising support for democracy in Macau, especially among young people.

    The democrats are also figuring out how to make the best of Macau's rigged electoral system. They devised a smart strategy—splitting into two smaller parties—to circumvent a complex proportional representation system that effectively punishes big parties that are too popular.

    The Macanese and Hong Kongers, who both abide Beijing's rule under a "one country, two systems" rubric, want their systems to be democratic. See also the perennial campaign for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. It's just unfortunate the Macanese don't have an electoral system worthy of them.

    It's also unfortunate that the rest of the world—and especially former colonial power Portugal, as Jillian Melchior wrote in these pages yesterday—seems all too content to stay silent as Macau's democrats try to swim against the tide. Macanese citizens deserve to get the democracy they want, and they deserve at least some moral support as they continue pushing for it.
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  3. redragon

    redragon Regular Member

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