Tan Ee Lyn: Outlook bleak for Hong Kong democratic reforms

From Reuters:

Hong Kong is unlikely to win more democracy from Beijing, despite promises by the man expected to be its next leader that he will usher in a new era of openness and strong governance, political analysts said on Monday.

Backed by Chinese leaders, Donald Tsang is certain to clinch a two-year term as the city’s chief executive in July. But he will have to keep his masters in Beijing happy if he is to extend his leadership and procure a full five-year term in 2007.

Beijing, which took back this former British colony in 1997, has baulked at demands for more democracy and decreed there can be no full voting rights for several more years.

“I don’t think Hong Kong can get far on democracy under Donald Tsang. He’s a pragmatic person and any reform would be tightly within the boundaries set by the central government,” said Kuan Hsin Chi, professor of government and public administration at the Chinese University.

“There will be only marginal improvements as far as electoral reforms are concerned. He will tread very cautiously.”

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