This is not the first time that Chinese politicians refer to African Americans. Typically, the analogy is meant to suggest that the US has human rights abuses too, so why do Western/American observers criticize China’s human rights record? For the pathology of “comparing degeneracy/rottenness (比爛 ),” see Chinese commentaries 比爛 美國也有 | 梁文道 | 主場新聞 and 圣奴-隶 （the original post has since been harmonized, a saved copy is attached here 比爛 李承鹏 圣奴-隶 copy).
This time, it is meant to suggest that HK protestors should be patient. Laura Cha, a nonofficial member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council, and the first non-mainlander to serve China’s central government at a vice-ministerial level, says:
“American slaves were liberated in 1861, but did not get voting rights until 107 years later… So why can’t Hong Kong wait for a while?” (“Hong Kong Politician Likens Protesters to African-American Slaves“)
… democracy cannot be reached in just one step, and no one knows whether democracy will be achieved after 2017. So why not accept the current policy and wait longer? (“Don’t be a slave to reform, says finance figure“)
If HK protestors are as deprived as American slaves, why not support both the Umbrella Movement and the Civil Rights Movement? And Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience?
Cha issued a statement afterwards:
“Mrs Cha’s comment on the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act was by way of example that every country’s path to democracy was evolved in its own historical context. She did not mean any disrespect and regrets that her comment has caused concerns.”
Cha should be reminded that HK officials and pro-establishment figures have been arguing that democracy cannot be reached in one step for decades! I began to hear this argument in the 1980s. At this rate, HK people may well have to wait for a century. See Genuine universal franchise is “Western” and not “gradual and orderly”? As for HK’s own historical context, Cha surely knows that HK is one of the richest cities in the world with a long tradition of the rule of law. What is at stake is that the rule of law is being eroded without democracy.
A HK citizen started another petition campaign on Change.org against Laura Cha’s remarks.