Lau Ming-wai, vice chairman of the Youth Development Commission (YDC), said it would be unrealistic for the public to expect the newly established agency to deal with sensitive political issues such as why young people want Hong Kong to be independent.
Lau said such issues concern not only the youth but society as a whole, and they are best addressed by the central government, SAR government and Legislative Council, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Even if the YDC supports the relaunch of political reform, for example, there is no way that the commission will take charge of the issue, he said.
On March 28 the government announced that the Commission on Youth would be upgraded into the YDT, with Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung as chairman.
The purpose of the revamp is to promote youth development in a more holistic manner, address young people’s concerns about education, career and home ownership, involve them more in public policy discussion and debate, and encourage them to participate in politics.
However, Senia Ng Sze-nok, a barrister and YDC member of the Democratic Party, wants the commission to look into the reasons why many young people are calling for Hong Kong independence or self-determination.
Lau, chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd., considers it more realistic for the YDC to focus on preventing students from committing suicide than dealing with political issues such as self-determination.
Lau also criticized political figures for paying “fake” attention to the youth, noting that few candidates in elections over the past two years had really shown that they cared for the youth and wanted to help them develop themselves so they could move up the social ladder.
On the other hand, Lau thinks many young people do not really approve of political figures or parties and they cast their votes just to prevent a candidate whose beliefs are opposite theirs from getting elected.
This low degree of approval among the youth is a major hindrance to the government’s goal of involving young people in politics, Lau said.
As such, addressing this problem is one of the commission’s priorities, he said.
Lau said it is a fact that a generation gap exists between people aged 50 or above and young people.
That being the case, Lau urged YDC chairman Matthew Cheung and the other eight members who are senior government officials to make more effort to understand what young people are thinking through their participation in the commission’s affairs.
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