Former financial secretary Antony Leung is blaming successive administrations for Hong Kong’s ongoing crisis, saying they have ignored young people since the handover.
Leung said the government has not paid enough attention to them and now they don’t see a bright future, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
“That’s a major mistake,” Leung said at the launch of a think tank founded by Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong’s first post-colonial leader.
Exorbitant property prices have made young people feel “hopeless” about the future and they can only find entry-level jobs despite a record-high employment rate, he said.
“The government and the business sector should discuss housing issues with young people,” he said.
He called for increased supply of public housing for them and more government support to enable them to start their own business.
“Young people are entitled to opportunities to move up the social ladder,” he said.
Leung said the present generation cares more about social issues in contrast to their elders who are more concerned with economic matters.
He said the protest movement is a “good thing” but it is unsustainable.
“I understand you, and you are the future and hope of Hong Kong as we are getting older,” he said, directly addressing the student protesters who are on a seventh week of protests.
Leung urged the government to set up a system to listen to views from various sectors and tackle them “legally and sensibly”.
Effective governance is key to any government and the focus should not only be electoral reform, he said.
Tung, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s highest political advisory body, said one of the top priorities of the think tank, dubbed Our Hong Kong Foundation, is to create conditions for an early and peaceful end to the protests.
However, he dismissed reports the think tank is a prelude to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s campaign for reelection.
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