Why China must tolerate democracy in its midst

A Chinese white paper on Hong Kong's political autonomy has raised the hackles of democracy activists, but a softer touch is required if Beijing wants to avoid any diplomatic and reputational fallout.

In 2009, martial arts film star Jackie Chan told the Boao Forum for Asia, the Chinese version of the Davos World Economic Forum, that a free and democratic society was not what the Chinese people needed. Arguing that democratic Taiwan was ‘chaotic’ and his birth place, Hong Kong, would head that way if given too much liberal democracy, Chan became the pin-up movie star for the Chinese Communist Party. As such, he is frequently targeted for abuse by commentators and bloggers in other Chinese polities such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Singapore.

I’ll conclude with Jackie Chan. Meanwhile, the political future of Hong Kong is back in the news.

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