Date
17 September 2019
Hong Kong needs to move past the extradition bill controversy and focus on economic and livelihood issues to ensure the city’s long-term development, an observer says. Photo: CNSA
Hong Kong needs to move past the extradition bill controversy and focus on economic and livelihood issues to ensure the city’s long-term development, an observer says. Photo: CNSA

Time to turn our focus back to the real issues

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made a public appearance last Tuesday and apologized for “deficiencies” in the government’s work in relation to proposed extradition law changes, in an apparent effort to prevent social tensions from continuing to escalate.

In my opinion, Lam has demonstrated courage and commitment that all political leaders should possess, and her concern and care for Hong Kong’s society are beyond dispute.

As such, I believe it is time for various sections of society to set aside differences and turn their focus to economic and livelihood issues once again, as well as uphold social harmony and stability in keeping with the long-term interests of Hong Kong.

As a civilized, free and open society, Hong Kong has always been treating diverse opinions with openness and respect, with the citizens always seeking to express their views and largely making their demands through peaceful and rational means.

The violent protests that we saw on June 12 not only violate the core values of Hong Kong, but would also work against facilitating rational discussions in society.

The police deserve support and recognition as they seek to deter acts of violence that threaten social tranquility, so as to preserve the city’s law and order and safety of the citizens.

Over the past two years, the government has done a lot of work in bid to enhance economic development, improve people’s livelihoods, and strengthening the business environment and competitiveness, in particular, promoting tech innovation and addressing youth issues.

Given that, we shouldn’t write off all these painstaking efforts, which have paid off and benefited the society, just because of the recent extradition bill fiasco.

That is why I hope everyone can show more understanding for the work of chief executive and the government and give them an opportunity to continue to serve the city.

Together, we must make a concerted effort to enhance cohesion among the public in order to address the fundamental economic and livelihood issues that have profound implications for Hong Kong’s long-term development.

Only by sticking together and finding common ground can we succeed in building a harmonious, stable and a more prosperous Hong Kong.

Amid the uncertainties posed by the ongoing trade frictions between the United States and China, the Brexit negotiations in Europe, as well as other international geopolitical issues, all of us should stay focused on economic and livelihood topics so as to ensure proper business environment and the overall stable development of the city.

Hong Kong has long remained the freest economy across the globe. Under the “one country, two systems”, our unique advantages such as freedom of speech and judicial independence are fully guaranteed.

And such guarantees have provided a solid and unshakable foundation for the city’s status as an international financial hub and a separate customs area.

It is my sincere hope that different sectors of society and parties across the political spectrum in the Legislative Council can set aside their differences and join forces in promoting efforts that are in the best interests of Hong Kong’s long term development.

In the meantime, I also hope the government takes steps to meet the challenges stemming from external uncertainties and provide more policy support as well as special measures for the local business and industrial sectors, as well as other segments in society.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 21

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/RC

Jonathan Choi Koon-shum is chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and a standing committee member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.