What can Hong Kong people do, and must do, when the “one country, two systems” arrangement expires in just 32 years?
Looking back, we can say that the post-handover years until 2003 were the most liberal period during which Beijing adopted a de facto laissez-faire policy towards the new-born special administrative region.
But after the Hong Kong government failed to enact a national security law and the massive July 1 protest in 2003, central authorities must have decided to tighten its grip on the territory and not to show the slightest hesitation when it comes to issues of principle like sovereignty.
One example is that just 1,200 members made up the 2012 election committee compared with the original proposal for 1,600 representatives in 2005.
Beijing’s long-term plan for Hong Kong is perhaps something like this: to continue to leverage the territory’s advantages (mainly in finance) and simultaneously pave the way for a genuine and ultimate reunification with the communist mainland after 2047, to merge the two systems into one.
How should Hongkongers prepare for that?
The way that is in the interest of the majority is to arduously guard our treasured way of life — in particular, freedom and rule of law — both in speech and in lawful acts, and, meanwhile, to stay indomitable and unflagging in the pursuit of ideals that we are all entitled to, that is, a fair and open election.
At critical moments, each and every Hongkonger must have the resolve and mettle to say no to Beijing and the SAR government, but that doesn’t mean we need to show our disapproval through abusive means.
Rather, we just need to face Beijing and local officials with dignity and reason.
For instance, rejecting the 2017 election bill does not mean Hongkongers are unpatriotic, treasonous or supportive of pan-democrats.
The only reason for refusal is our consideration of the interests of the territory.
These article first appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 29.
Translation by Frank Chen
[Chinese version 中文版]
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