When a former member of China’s parliament makes scathing remarks about Hong Kong’s “patriotic” elite and also finds fault with the central government’s approach toward the city, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
On Wednesday, David Chu Yu-lin, an ex-Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, spoke some bitter truths about the city’s political and business leaders who tend to go overboard in trying to please Beijing on all key issues.
Patriotism is seen as a business that one can profit from, Chu said, accusing the elite of acting with selfish motives and ignoring the larger problems confronting the city.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying came in for some particularly sharp criticism, with Chu questioning the leader’s unquestioning embrace of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, among other things.
Blaming young people for the problems in society is not right, Chu said, insisting that it is the adults, “especially one of them”, who need to shoulder the responsibility.
The barb was directed at Leung, who has been accused of using his official position to dominate the so-called patriotic camp in Hong Kong and forcing all pro-Beijing politicians to be loyal to him.
“There are people in Hong Kong who do things to please Beijing,” Chu said. “These people treat patriotism as a business.”
Ahead of the latest outburst, Chu had slammed Leung in recent weeks over an airport baggage controversy.
Leung has been accused of pressuring airport staff to have security rules bypassed so that his daughter can have a forgotten bag delivered to her inside the restricted zone in the airport.
Abuse of power is something that no Hongkonger will accept, Chu said.
In a news conference Wednesday, Chu called for “a new start” in Beijing’s policy over Hong Kong, saying the “one country, two systems” can only be implemented by appealing to people’s hearts, and not through show of power.
Beijing’s wrong approach is partly to blame for the problems and divisions in Hong Kong society, Chu said.
Top leaders should respect Hong Kong people’s way of living, rather than force the city’s residents to follow a particular path, he suggested.
In a free society like Hong Kong, it is quite normal for people to have different opinions.
As Beijing has sought to tighten its grip over Hong Kong, the attempts have only bred resentment and fueled the rise of localism and even pro-independence sentiments, especially among the youth.
This was among the things that Chu sought to highlight in his news conference.
According to the veteran politician, Leung bears a lot of responsibility for the divisions in Hong Kong society.
While no one knows what Beijing thinks about Leung’s performance in the past four years, mainland authorities should allow the pro-establishment camp to at least nominate candidates on their own for the chief executive election next year.
Rather than listen to a handful of “patriotic” politicians and business tycoons, Chinese leaders should heed the voices of ordinary people and make the right decision.
Hong Kong deserves a leader who enjoys the trust of locals as well as Beijing.
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