Civic Party calls for localism, autonomy and pluralism

March 16, 2016 17:33
Civic Party says it's getting more difficult to maintain communication with the central government given its tinkering with "one country. two systems". Photo: HKEJ

Civic Party has launched a new manifesto which describes itself as a "local, autonomous and pluralistic" political group.

The document, released Tuesday ahead of the group's 10th anniversary, widens its founding mission statement aimed at promoting communication with the central government under "one country, two systems", the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

However, that goal has been made difficult by Beijing's increased focus on "one country", the party said in a statement. 

The pro-democracy group said Hong Kong people must defend their right to choose and civil disobedience can be a useful form of protest.

It said Hong Kong should never repeat the mistake of the past when it was left out of the Sino-British talks on the handover of sovereignty.

Hong Kong people must have a voice in the "critical process of deciding their future" after 2047 when the Basic Law and other handover treaties expire.

Party leader Alan Leong said meaningful communication with the central government "no longer works" because it comes with strings attached, often at the expense of Hong Kong values.

He said the party, founded on March 19, 2006 in opposition to efforts to introduce a national security law, will work to put "one country, two systems" back on track.

Leong said the new manifesto is meant to complement the 2006 mission statement, not replace it.

He said the party will continue to demand the vindication of the victims of the June 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Political commentator Ma Ngok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said the new document shows that the Civic Party is not keen to open any more communication lines with Beijing.

Tam Yiu-chung, former chairman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Beijing is not shutting the door on the Civic Party but adding that timing is important in discussing certain issues.

Meanwhile, commentator Ivan Choy said the Civic Party might not win the localist vote in next year's Legislative Council election even if it aligns itself with those groups.

Civic Party controls six Legco seats, making it the biggest party in the pan-democrat camp (in a tie with the Democratic Party) and one of the third largest blocs in the chamber. 

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Hong Kong Economic Journal