In its structure of combining selection and election, the emergent Hong Kong system is a kind of middle way between democratic consent and the idea of meritocratic guidance. In fact, the mechanism proposed to choose a chief executive is not so different from the Electoral College designed by American democracy's Founding Fathers. The idea, spelled out in Federalist Paper #68, was to "refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens." But there needs to be a proper balance not yet achieved in Hong Kong.
For the first time since the outbreak of the Occupy Central movement last month, Premier Li Keqiang has offered some clues on how Beijing wants to see the pro-democracy protests brought to an end, signaling Beijing's reluctance to directly get involved in Hong Kong's worst political crisis in decades.
Given the porous nature of communication between Hong Kong and the mainland, freedom granted to Hong Kong people to elect candidates not vetted by Beijing would have a subversive effect on China. Yet, frustrating Hong Kong people's aspirations by denying them the universal suffrage China promised may not bring the peace and stability that everybody desires.