A gesture of goodw ill
The central government will issue Home Return Permits to Hong Kong politicians from the opposition camp who abide by the Basic Law and the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. The idea is to facilitate those moderate members of the “pan-democratic” camp, whose permit was invalidated in the past for various reasons, to visit the mainland.
Looking back, the “pan-democrats” do not have a track record they could really be proud of. To say the least, they have not been helpful or cooperative in working with the administration and other Legislative Council colleagues for Hong Kong’s overall interest. They have focused too much on the political wrangling and more or less neglected the livelihood issues, which are the real concerns of Hong Kong people.
But the central government has always been magnanimous in dealing with the opposition in the SAR. That Beijing is taking the initiative this time to express a gesture of goodwill is a display of profound inclusiveness and willingness to communicate with different sectors of society in Hong Kong.
The move shows the central government’s clear-cut stand: It keeps an open mind toward those who are in pursuit of their political goals within the framework of the Basic Law and “One Country, Two Systems”, maverick as they may be. But it will show no mercy toward those who dare to cross the bottom line of “One Country, Two Systems” and pose a grave threat to the country’s sovereignty and national security and Hong Kong’s rule of law. There is absolutely no compromise in that respect.
Some of the opposition lawmakers lent assistance to the two separatist legislatorselect inside and outside the legislative chamber before the two were disqualified by the court. They might have naively thought they were helping fellow members of the “pan-democratic” camp, but apparently the duo did not see themselves as one of them. Helping the separatists is like playing with fire. You get burnt before you know it.
If the “pan-democrats” have the wisdom to make good use of this opportunity to visit the mainland, and we hope they do, they will find themselves more receptive toward the central authorities and the mainland in general after seeing how the country’s development has progressed in leaps and bounds in the past decades. As the saying goes, “Distance breeds contempt.” Increased interaction and communication are always conducive to forging a closer relationship. The “pan-democrats” must not let this opportunity slip through their fingers again.