David Wong wel­comes pres­i­dent’s clear mes­sage and hopes all groups can work to­gether on press­ing is­sues

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

The high­light of cel­e­bra­tions mark­ing the 20 th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the Hong Kong Special Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion was be­yond doubt the three-day visit by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping. The pres­i­dent vis­ited the con­struc­tion site of the West Kowloon Cul­tural Dis­trict and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Ma­cao Bridge, of­fi­ci­ated at the mil­i­tary pa­rade at the gar­ri­son and in­au­gu­rated the new chief ex­ec­u­tive. While all these events were sig­nif­i­cant, the most note­wor­thy was his speech at the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre in Wan Chai on July 1, af­ter the Hong Kong ad­min­is­tra­tion led by Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was sworn into of­fice. Many key points of the speech were long-stand­ing poli­cies and have been re­it­er­ated by var­i­ous se­nior main­land of­fi­cials at dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions for quite some time. How­ever, some in op­po­si­tion de­lib­er­ately ig­nored them, claim­ing that the rel­e­vant of­fi­cial’s views did not re­flect those of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. As this speech was be­ing de­liv­ered by the top State leader to the heads of the HKSAR Gov­ern­ment at such a key cer­e­mo­nial event and broad­cast live to all, there should be no doubt that this rep­re­sents the lat­est poli­cies and think­ing of Bei­jing.

The speech cov­ered sev­eral top­ics but I believe the cen­tral part of his speech was about im­ple­men­ta­tion of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”, specif­i­cally his four main points. Firstly, he re­ferred to the “one coun­try” prin­ci­ple as the roots of a tree which must run deep and strong to hold the tree sta­ble. This ref­er­ence is clearly in response to the re­peated provo­ca­tion by the op­po­si­tion to chal­lenge the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s au­thor­ity over the SAR. Op­po­si­tion par­ties have long been try­ing to use “two sys­tems” to re­sist “one coun­try”. In re­cent years, they have even stepped up their rhetoric and used terms like lo­cal­ism, self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and even in­de­pen­dence. Af­ter all, the Ba­sic The au­thor is an ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber of the New Peo­ple’s Party and a former civil ser­vant. Law has al­ready guar­an­teed Hong Kong a very high de­gree of au­ton­omy and the re­peated use of these in­flam­ma­tory slo­gans can only be in­ter­preted as an at­tack on China’s sovereignty. There­fore, Xi had to be very straight-for­ward with his points when he drew a “red line” for those im­per­mis­si­ble be­hav­iors.

Se­condly, Hong Kong peo­ple are very proud of their tra­di­tion of up­hold­ing the rule of law. Yet there is a fair amount of re­sis­tance to the pro­mo­tion of the Ba­sic Law. Ef­forts to pro­mote the Ba­sic Law have al­ways been de­famed as brain­wash­ing by many, es­pe­cially those in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. Granted that it is in­deed challenging for stu­dents to un­der­stand the many ar­ti­cles of the Ba­sic Law, but it is the task of ed­u­ca­tors and the gov­ern­ment to de­vise creative and in­ter­est­ing ways for stu­dents to bet­ter un­der­stand the Ba­sic Law. Fur­ther­more, the key mes­sages of the Ba­sic Law, such as the “Hong Kong Special Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion is an in­alien­able part of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China”, is some­thing that ev­ery­one can and should un­der­stand. To en­sure the cor­rect un­der­stand­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ba­sic Law, the pres­i­dent said public aware­ness of the Ba­sic Law, es­pe­cially among civil ser­vants and the young peo­ple, should be im­proved.

Thirdly, as we all can see clearly, al­most ev­ery­thing in the SAR has been politi­cized nowa­days. Many peo­ple are ob­sessed with par­ti­san at­tacks and the so­ci­ety seems to be con­sumed by petty dif­fer­ences. Clearly, this is lead­ing us nowhere. Xi re­minded us that we ought to fo­cus on de­vel­op­ment as the top pri­or­ity since it holds the golden key to re­solv­ing var­i­ous is­sues in Hong Kong. As I have re­peat­edly said, there are golden op­por­tu­ni­ties, like the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the Greater Bay Area project, for us to seize; there are also many prob­lems wait­ing to be solved, such as stag­nant eco­nomic growth, housing shortage, poverty and age­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Years of po­lit­i­cal bick­er­ing have torn our city apart. We have wasted too much time and at­ten­tion on triv­ial dis­agree­ments that ben­e­fit no one but politi­cians in the op­po­si­tion. Fi­nally, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is will­ing to lead the way by seek­ing broad com­mon ground while set­ting aside ma­jor dif­fer­ences. It is ready to com­mu­ni­cate with any­one who gen­uinely sup­ports the prin­ci­ple of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” and the Ba­sic Law of the HKSAR, re­gard­less of their po­lit­i­cal views or po­si­tion. The op­po­si­tion par­ties should change their men­tal­ity and at­ti­tude and try to work con­struc­tively to solve our com­mon prob­lems. On the other hand, the new ad­min­is­tra­tion should dis­play more good­will by invit­ing the op­po­si­tion for di­a­logue. Ac­tu­ally, it has started do­ing that.

Xi’s speech is a timely re­view of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “one coun­try two sys­tems”. Hav­ing lis­tened to the speech in full, one has to agree that the State leader has a thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of Hong Kong and has of­fered us suit­able and work­able so­lu­tions to our prob­lems. I sin­cerely hope that this would be the be­gin­ning of the end of the po­lar­iza­tion of our com­mu­nity.

Xi re­minded us that we ought to fo­cus on de­vel­op­ment as the top pri­or­ity since it holds the golden key to re­solv­ing var­i­ous is­sues in Hong Kong.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.