18 October 2014
As thousands of Hong Kong students stage pro-democracy protests against China, the issue of political reforms has resurfaced, with fears that that youths in Macau and the mainland will draw inspiration from the activists in Hong Kong. What is at stake, however, is not just access to democracy, but the conflict between personal ambition, reflected by greater individual rights, and state authoritarianism, which is seen as curtailing the extent to which individual citizens can pursue their own dreams, including electing their own leaders.
As Evan Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker, notes in his recent book “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China” the Chinese people have benefited from the country’s rapid modernisation and now have access to fortune, truth and faith , three things that were previously denied them by politics and poverty. Since the opening up of China in the late ’70s, more and more Chinese are enjoying a life that compares favourably with that of the West.
… Benjamin Ho is an associate research fellow in the Multilateralism and Regionalism Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He specialises in Asia-Pacific security multilateralism and Chinese politics.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 20/10/2014