Hong Kong's Democrats Love Obama

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on February 28, 2008

As an American living in Hong Kong, I miss out on one of the most exciting parts of being a U.S. citizen – going to a polling place on Election Day and casting a vote in person. I’m eligible to vote by absentee ballot, of course, and I also can vote locally (Americans and many other foreigners who have lived in Hong Kong for more than seven years can take part in the Special Administrative Region’s local elections). But for me there’s no thrill to voting by mail. And as for Hong Kong elections, I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t even bothered to register, partially out of laziness and partially out of a sense that Hong Kong, with its unelected chief executive and strange legislature with some lawmakers elected by small groups of bankers or lawyers other “functional constituencies,” isn’t exactly a beacon of democracy.

That said, I did have a chance to vote normally, in a real U.S. election, in person - and I blew it. Michael DeGolyer, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and columnist in Hong Kong English daily The Standard, points out in a column today that Democrats Abroad had a primary in Hong Kong and around the world early this month. I didn’t vote, though. A big fan of Barack Obama, DeGolyeer did, and he writes that Obama won 75% of the vote in Hong Kong, better than the 72.6% he got in Asia-Pacific as a whole. That Asia-Pacific figure was better than the 65.6% that Obama got worldwide.

DeGolyer also writes that Hong Kong authorities could learn a thing or two from the Democrats Abroad primary. “Funny how the U.S. Democratic party has figured out how to let people vote securely from so many countries – even Antarctica – while our own Hong Kong government claims it cannot mast the difficulties of permitting absentee balloting from local residents confined to sick-beds, much less those traveling abroad during election day,” he says. “Stunningly, officials ban absentee voting here, supposedly because officials cannot figure out ways to secure casting and counting procedures….If Americans can solve the voting abroad problem, surely we can. And if litigious Americans can find a way to vote securely by fax, letter, e-mail or gathering in person at specified counting locations in a foreign country, then surely we can.”

Reader Comments

JiaMing

February 28, 2008 10:18 AM

Mr. Einhorn, it's been a while since you wrote anything about business or economy. You are sounding more like a political activist these days.

jcage

February 28, 2008 5:44 PM

Hawaii used to be independent from the USA before it was annexed to the United States on July 7, 1898. Here is link the link in case that you wonder the source of the information
http://www.hawaiian-roots.com/timeline.htm
You can check it out from a book in the library.

When Hawaii was annexed, it got a government selected by the USA government and the native had not saying on it.
Also, HK was taken away from China during the Opium War and I am sure if you were there, you would be looting and killing the native but right now you do it with your bias comment and prejudiced view on BusinessWeek!
Bruce get you off your high horse!

JiaMing

February 29, 2008 12:56 AM

Einhorn gets his reporting guidelines from his bosses at BusinessWeek just like every other "journalist" in America. That's why they speak with this amazingly uniform voice. This is definitely the "bash the Chinese" year, like any Chinese gives a damn.

If they ever dare to speak out against their own government for something like shooting down a satelite, that will be the last thing they'll ever write as a reporter. The ironic thing is that characters like Einhorn is here writing about lack of free speech in China. It's pitiful, but understandable.

Let me chip in a few words to help you finish your China-bashing quota for the month Bruce. How about this? "China is a bad bad bad country. Chinese are bad bad bad people. Chinese products are bad bad bad things." Good writing hah? Yeah, I tried to follow your style to make it sound like your work. You are welcome. Hahaha!

Paul

February 29, 2008 5:55 AM

Hey JiaMing, don’t be so hard on Bruce. He is by no means the worst one. Bruce is just doing his job here as a typical American journalist. I have seen much worse China-bashing in other prominent American owned blogs.

I don’t know if American journalists like to focus predominantly on negatives regarding China because there is such a great demand from American readers who really enjoy reading so much about China’s faults and failures so they can feel superior or is it the other way round that the American public, who typically know little if anything about China, are misled by their media into having such negative views on China.

But you are right that free speech is a farce in America or indeed anywhere else. Objective articles are hard to find anywhere particularly when it comes to politics. Journalists won’t last long if their stories keep contradicting with the political orientations of the media organizations they work for. And yes, these journalists will certainly lose their jobs if they keep focusing on negative stories about their own country the way they bash China. But then, this is an American magazine. For all pretenses, there are no truly “international” media without an agenda, at least not in America.

Steven

February 29, 2008 10:38 PM

US election has nothing to do with China and Hong Kong China. No matter who is elected, the Earth will keep going and China will keep developing. Any US president has to take sino-US relation serious. No matter how hursh their electoin words toward China in the election years, there was no foundamental changes between China and US. You can just look back at any presidential candidates' words from Nixon to W Bush. They said anything in elections, and tried to do something different hard and all found they could not hurt sino-US relation. That's a lose US simply cannot afford.

Good trend is that China has been mentioned less and less in China. China is getting stronger and strong. Basically, US election has not too much with China. We are just waiting for your new president and face his challenge or friendship.

Hope US men select a smart president this time though.

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