Executive Council member Regina Ip called on the government to help young people in terms of education and industry support after the dust settles on the Occupy protests, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
Ip said easing the housing situation, broadening the economic structure and shrinking the wealth gap will go a long way in helping the young generation move up the social ladder.
The New People’s Party chairperson said some young people hold the narrow belief that democracy is the magic bullet for everything. They should understand that there is no conflict between fighting for democracy and adhering to the “one country” principle.
Some quarters have proposed that large-scale events, like the Harbour Fest and Wine & Dine Festival, be held to create a merry atmosphere that will dissipate the cynicism and antagonism from the Occupy protests, such as what the government did after the SARS outbreak in 2003.
However, Ip considered such measures as short-term solutions. She said the government should take an effort to find the reasons why young people would want to take part in civil disobedience campaigns in the first place.
Hong Kong is falling behind in its economic competitiveness, especially after the manufacturing sector has shifted up north to the mainland. People have seen no genuine growth in their disposable income, hence they choose to believe that universal suffrage could bring about change.
But Ip stressed that slogans such as “genuine universal suffrage” were often fake. “Where on earth could an election offer universal and equal rights of nomination?” Ip challenged. “There is simply none. The young people just did not dig deep into the issue to find out the truth.”
Ip urged Hong Kong’s youth to exercise more rational thinking. “What were the interventions from mainland? Which city would let you occupy streets and roads for this many days? If this happened in the UK, protesters would be brushed aside in a matter of days!”
The feeling that Beijing is meddling too much in Hong Kong affairs is part of a deeply-rooted sentiment, Ip said. “Hong Kong people no longer feel they are superior to their mainland peers. Hong Kong people could be intimidated by the emergence of mainland people, their much stronger buying power, which has led to the lack of supply of baby formula and even housing flats.”
“We have to accept that we are ‘smaller’ now as the mainland continues to grow, and the only answer we could have is to make ourselves stronger,” Ip added.
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