There's a little old saying that goes, "What's good for the goose, is good for the gander," meaning that two things almost exactly alike will generally experience the same effects if the same thing happens to them. Conversely, if the proverbial goose is, say, Hong Kong, and the gander is Taiwan, then we could say that 'whats bad for the goose is bad for the gander.'
Indeed, China laid a big goose egg on Hong Kong when officials in Beijing pushed back by five years the planned date for direct elections in the special administrative region, saying the earliest possible year for such a vote is now 2017. There is no reason to believe that when the year 2013 rolls around, the vote will not be pushed back to 2022, and so on, and so forth, ad nauseam.
What does this mean for Taiwan? Well, what's bad for the goose. . .
After the unhappy decree was handed down from Beijing, Hong Kong's democratic leader Martin Lee came out to say that, "I do not see Hong Kong with genuine democracy in 10 years more or 20 years more. It is just a mirage," according to an AFP news story. At this point, it is indeed reasonable to expect that Hong Kong will not enjoy open democracy until, by dint of a miracle, all of China becomes democratic.
With the head of Hong Kong's democratic goose cleanly lopped off, for all to see and just in time for New Year's dinner (t-1:30 in Taipei ; t-14:30 in Washington), the brain in the head of Taiwan's democratic gander is wondering why anyone would expect Taiwan to willingly put its neck to the chopping block (hint: chopping block = unification). From the same AFP story:
A senior Taiwanese official said Beijing's move underlined why the island could not accept reunification [sic] with mainland China.
Tung Chen-yuan, a deputy chief of Taiwan's China policy-making body, known as the Mainland Affairs Council, said the decision sent a clear signal "that the Chinese Communist Party does not allow genuine democracy.
Even the Foreign Ministry of Great Britain—which, as the port city's former colonial ruler, usually remains mute on all things Hong Kong—made a statement describing Beijing's latest anti-democratic antics "a disappointment."
Having flogged the 'goose and gander' analogy sufficiently for the entire year of 2007, we would simply like to wish all who read this a very happy New Year. See you in 2008!