‘Election’ in Hong Kong this weekend

Scott Tong Mar 23, 2007
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‘Election’ in Hong Kong this weekend

Scott Tong Mar 23, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: Hong Kong holds elections this Sunday to choose a leader known as the Chief Executive. Election might be too strong of a word though. We already know who’s gonna win. Our correspondent in China Scott Tong joins us from Shanghai. Scott, how does this “election” work?

SCOTT TONG: Well if we go back, remember 10 years ago when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China? Well at the time the deal was Hong Kong would be part of China but it would retain a degree of autonomy. Now what that means in this election is 800 people get to pick who the winner is and these 800 people are largely the business community. And they see the world largely the way Beijing does. They support kind of the hand-picked candidate. His name is Donald Tsang. He is the current Chief Executive and on Sunday he is gonna be the Chief Executive again.

JAGOW: And why does the business community like him?

TONG: Well it’s kind of like the business community in the States generally. They want stability, they want no surprises. As on Kong Kong comedian put it, “Just shut up and make money.” The idea being people will be reasonably satisfied and they won’t rise up against the government.

JAGOW: So I take it then that the Hong Kong economy is going just fine then?

TONG: Better than that. GDP growth 5 percent a year, mainland Chinese tourists are going to Hong Kong, Hong Kong bankers are taking these giant Chinese banks public in the biggest IPOs ever, and Hong Kong investors are putting their money into mainland Chinese manufacturers.

JAGOW: So in the end, OK, Hong Kong’s making a lot of money for China, I mean are people in Hong Kong OK with this whole situation.

TONG: Well Hong Kong people are known for being pragmatic. So on one hand people are pretty OK with the good economic situation. On the other hand, there are a fair number of democracy activists, but they do see signs of progress in their view. And when he’s been pushed, the Chief Executive Donald Tsang has said, ‘in five years, I will present a roadmap for how we get to universal suffrage.’

JAGOW: Alright, Scott Tong our correspondent in Shanghai, thank you.

TONG: Thanks Scott.

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