China Loses the Mandate of Heaven in Hong Kong

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are an unprecedented and unmitigated disaster for the rulers of China; a disaster whose magnitude cannot be appreciated by Westerners who are not familiar with the concept of the Mandate of Heaven. The Mandate of Heaven is not identical to the West's divine right of kings, which says God appoints the ruler who is then accountable only to God and his own conscience. The ruler is emphatically not accountable to his subjects or other stakeholders although, in practice the nobles who controlled the means of violence could overthrow a king who did not meet their needs. The Mandate of Heaven says, on the other hand, that the king has the right to rule only as long as he does so for the benefit of the realm. The king (and his dynasty) lose the Mandate of Heaven through unsuccessful wars and, in the past, even natural disasters. The underlying principle carries over into Western societies as well where, for example, the President is given blame...(Read Full Article)
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