Joshua Wong and the pan-dems should get their priorities right

March 23, 2016 16:54
The discussion of 2047 should be left to the academics for now, because Joshua Wong (center) and his colleagues have a much more urgent task to take care of at the moment. Photo: HKEJ

It appears politicians in Hong Kong have suddenly become exceptionally visionary, as they rush to join in the discussion of Hong Kong’s way forward after 2047.

Many say we should start fighting now for our right to determine our own future after 2047.

However, that begs the question: what about the unfinished business of fighting for universal suffrage that is still lying right in front of us?

Are the pan-democrats really that concerned about planning ahead for the days after 2047, or are they just deliberately changing the subject in order to hide their failure and incompetence?

Apart from rushing to change the subject in order to divert public attention from the pro-democracy campaign, there is also a stampede among the pan-democrats to claim they are “indigenous parties” in an apparent attempt to ride on the tidal wave of popular support for nativism and widen their support base.

For example, the Civic Party, which rose to prominence after the July 1 rally in 2003, has recently changed its party’s main theme by replacing “fighting for democracy” with “defending our indigenous self-determination”.

Also replacing its goal is Scholarism, which announced Sunday that it will shortly cease to exist and split into two different wings, one of which will form a political party and send members to run for public office pledging “self-determination in 2047”.

But what about the idea of “popular nomination” in the election of the chief executive that these parties pushed for during the Occupy movement?

Have they all ditched the idea already?

Don’t the pan-democrats who are pitching the 2047 issue owe the public an explanation as to whether they will, from now on, focus on promoting nativism rather than fighting for democracy, something we have been relying on them to do for us for the past 30 years?

In fact it is undeniable that the subject of “2047 and beyond” is important, but at this moment, discussion of this topic should be confined to academic circles and remain on a theoretical level only.

It is because there is something far more urgent lying immediately before us, which is the fight for universal suffrage and the right to choose our own leader, and it is this ongoing and unfinished fight that people like Joshua Wong should remain focused on right now.

The freedom and civil rights promised under the Basic Law, although continuously deteriorating, still give us a window of opportunity to fight for as much democracy as we can.

What we should be doing now is making full use of that window of opportunity to get the best deal from Beijing before that window is closed, rather than worrying about something 30 years from now.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 22.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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HKEJ columnist