Get HKSAR back on track

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Hong Kong po­lice fi­nally took long an­tic­i­pated ac­tion over the past cou­ple of days to clear il­le­gal block­ades set up by “Oc­cupy Cen­tral” pro­test­ers on some of the city’s main thor­ough­fares.

By as­sist­ing court of­fi­cials to clear streets blocked by the il­le­gal cam­paign and ar­rest­ing those who ob­structed them, the po­lice per­formed its statu­tory du­ties and up­held the rule of law.

The clear­ing op­er­a­tion could last for a few more days be­fore end­ing weeks of mas­sive chaos and dis­rup­tion on the streets. But it has spelt the de­feat of the “Um­brella Revo­lu­tion” — the Hong Kong ver­sion of the “color revo­lu­tion”.

The po­lit­i­cal ad­ven­ture sup­ported by out­side forces, who are schem­ing to curb the rise of China, was doomed to fail from the very be­gin­ning.

In a free and pros­per­ous civil so­ci­ety such as Hong Kong, there is sim­ply no way any sort of revo­lu­tion can suc­ceed. A spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion backed by a mighty cen­tral gov­ern­ment can never be made a tool for po­lit­i­cal schemers to ad­vance their own agenda.

The de­feat of the “Oc­cupy” cam­paign did not­comeas a sur­prise. It failed to rally pub­lic support be­cause the oc­cu­piers had no le­gal or moral grounds on which to stand. The lat­est opin­ion poll con­ducted last week shows 83 per­cent of lo­cal peo­ple want the pro­test­ers to end their ac­tions now.

In a di­rect chal­lenge to the au­thor­ity of the na­tion’s top leg­is­la­ture, the oc­cu­piers de­manded the with­drawal of the decision by the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress. This land­mark decision was on con­sti­tu­tional re­form pro­pos­als for the elec­tion of Hong Kong’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive via univer­sal suf­frage in 2017. The com­mit­tee has the ul­ti­mate au­thor­ity on this is­sue.

To push through an elec­toral mech­a­nism with no le­gal stand­ing but with the aim of en­sur­ing their fa­vored can­di­dates had a chance to grab the top po­lit­i­cal job in the SAR, the pro­test­ers have taken Hong Kong so­ci­ety hostage by il­le­gally oc­cu­py­ing the main roads of the city’s ma­jor business and com­mer­cial dis­tricts for two months.

This po­lit­i­cal gam­ble proved to be a high-stakes one. It has not only torn apart the so­cial fab­ric of Hong Kong but caused tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in eco­nomic losses. More im­por­tantly, it has un­der­mined the city’s rule of law, one of the cor­ner­stones of sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity.

The po­lice ac­tion is a cru­cial move to get the HKSAR back on track. But for univer­sal suf­frage to be im­ple­mented in the SAR as sched­uled, it is im­per­a­tive for fu­ture dis­course on elec­toral re­form to be con­ducted within the es­tab­lished le­gal frame­work. And for the “One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems” pol­icy to con­tinue to be im­ple­mented smoothly, Hong Kong peo­ple must re­spect the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s com­pre­hen­sive ju­ris­dic­tion over the SAR.

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