As a returnee to Asia since 2000 with most time spent in Hong Kong, I am deeply concerned about Hong Kong’s competitiveness and the near death of “one country, two systems”.
The people of Hong Kong should unite together to fight for true democracy.
I would like to present to the readers of EJ Insight, our 10 requests to the Communist Party of China, which became international news on April 23 (on the same day we published this statement in the Financial Times):
To Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, and Zhang Xiaoming, director of the liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong,
Ten requests to the Communist Party of China from the people of Hong Kong (finance and banking sector)
Since Hong Kong’s reversion to the motherland, Hong Kong government policies have increasingly fallen short of applying the principle of “one country, two systems” and the policy objectives of the Basic Law.
This has created a perception that the Hong Kong government has not been listening to the voice of the people, creating deep-seated conflicts across various spectrums in our society.
The current political climate is having a negative impact on Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a major financial center in Asia. The Hong Kong political system has become a stumbling block to the city’s long-term social, political and economic growth, and is the root cause of social division and disharmony in the city.
We are a group of professionals who work in the Hong Kong finance and banking sector and we represent this industry group. We are all Hong Kong permanent residents who truly love the country and Hong Kong.
We wholeheartedly believe that the central government of China is one that serves and seeks the greatest well-being for the people of Hong Kong. We have full confidence in the future of Hong Kong and hope that the city will remain firmly in its position as an international financial center.
We hope the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party will heed the following 10 requests which reflect the voice of Hong Kong people, specifically that of the finance and banking industry.
1) Fulfill the promises made in the Sino-British Joint Declaration by fully supporting one country, two systems. Allow Hong Kong people to rule Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, and refrain from interfering in the administrative affairs of Hong Kong.
2) Establish a system of genuine universal suffrage that conforms to international standard and recognize that this is the political freedom that all the people in Hong Kong seek. To implement the principle of “one country, two systems”, the central government must accord the Hong Kong government with a high degree of autonomy and recognize its legitimacy.
3) Defend Hong Kong’s freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, creation, and all kinds of freedom enshrined in the Basic Law and relevant international conventions.
4) Allow Hong Kong to continue to operate under a fair, just and open business environment. Prevent monopoly by persons or organizations of special privilege in various industries.
5) Empower the Hong Kong government to set policies independently, including but not limited to policies relating to immigration, naturalization and travel entry to advance the city’s long-term interests. Maintain and enhance Hong Kong’s position in the international finance community so that it retains its competitive edge in attracting high quality professionals and talents from all over the world and from various industries and sectors.
6) Safeguard the spirit of the rule of law and judicial independence.
7) Protect and respect the freedom of the press and empower the public and the media with the right to monitor and critically challenge the Hong Kong government and its policies.
8) Understand Hong Kong’s unique historical background and preserve Hong Kong’s uniqueness as a melting pot of eastern and western cultures.
9) Safeguard Hong Kong’s reputation for maintaining a strong anti-corruption culture in government and business. Eliminate all perception and possibility of growth of a bribery culture, and take considerable effort to establish anti-corruption policies and campaign in China which can only have a positive impact on Hong Kong’s status in the global economy.
10) Create and facilitate universal suffrage for Hong Kong that can be leveraged as a blueprint for democratic elections in China to advance China’s progress toward democracy.
We sincerely urge the leaders of the central government to consider these requests which reflect the voice of the Hong Kong people. Our objectives are firmly rooted in the belief that the Hong Kong people should be granted the right of universal suffrage and the Hong Kong government should have the independence to make laws based on consensus drawn from the people of Hong Kong.
These are views expressed by a group of finance and banking professionals who are passionate about the interests of Hong Kong.
I am still optimistic about the prospect for Hong Kong, as long as Hong Kong people stand together to fight for their own true democracy.
Hedge fund manager and columnist, organizer of OCLP.hk finance and banking group, FCC press freedom committee member
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