Date
24 July 2017
Former Bar Association chairman Paul Shieh said Beijing should allow Hong Kong people to talk freely about  independence. Photo: HKEJ
Former Bar Association chairman Paul Shieh said Beijing should allow Hong Kong people to talk freely about independence. Photo: HKEJ

HK independence can’t be contained, says top barrister

Former Bar Association chairman Paul Shieh Wing-tai said he personally thinks that Hong Kong independence is not feasible, but he believes the central government should allow Hong Kong people to talk freely about the issue.

Speaking at a Commercial Radio talk show, Shieh said it is beyond a legal issue that people are forming political groups advocating Hong Kong independence, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Even if the matter could be resolved by law, no one could really stop people from talking about it because psychological considerations would remain in their hearts, he said.

Society is swamped by sentiments of discontent and rage, Shieh said, adding that it is more important to address those deeper issues before confronting Hong Kong independence by law.

He also said Hong Kong people probably would be happier if Leung Chun-ying failed to secure a second term as chief executive.

“Even those who support him now would be happy,” Shieh said, adding that he has great sympathy for the “Blue Ribbon” camp, who continues to support Leung’s administration.

Without naming names, Shieh chastised young people who pursue Hong Kong independence without sharing their thoughts about its feasibility.

“They were after sound bites in the media by waving the British Hong Kong flag, knowing that [such an action would get on] the nerves of Beijing leaders,” he said.

Nonetheless, Shieh said we should not blame the young generation for being negative, as those who have always said good things about the mainland have never come out to address the key concerns of Hong Kong people, including the lack of free flow of information, suppression on dissidents and the unfair systems in China.

Shieh used former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa as an example.

“Now Tung’s reported health problems are gone, and he is now sitting shoulder to shoulder with national leader Zhang Dejiang in the latter’s last visit to Hong Kong. He should come out and tell Hong Kong people why they should not have such concerns over the mainland, and what is the plan to solve those problems,” he said.

Shieh also criticized the tourism industry for blaming protests against mainland parallel traders for the drop in the number of visitors from the mainland.

He said the industry appears to be overlooking the fact that Hong Kong lacks attractions and policies to lure tourists.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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