Dialogue is the only way out for Hong Kong

October 10, 2019 18:06
Chief Executive Carrie Lam, along with her key officials, takes part in a community dialogue at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai on Sept. 26. Photo: AFP

The protesters' so-called endgame on Oct. 1 turned out to be a damp squib compared to what happened over the weekend following the government’s decision to invoke emergency powers to impose a ban on wearing face masks during public assemblies.

The Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation has not only prompted protesters to escalate their violence but has also caused MTR Corp. to temporarily suspend its train services. Some mainland banks saw their branches and automated teller machines vandalized, and many people had to scramble for food in eateries and supermarkets before the outlets closed.

Is Hong Kong likely to face an even more horrifying “endgame” in the coming days?

There appears no end in sight for our city's woes as protesters insist that their demands must be met. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has launched a community dialogue to thresh out the issues underlying the unrest, but many think her concession is “too little, too late”.

While I agree that political issues have to be resolved by political means, I also firmly believe that violence is not a solution to the deep-rooted issues confronting our society.

If anything, violent protesters are simply banging their heads against the wall by facing off with the riot police in the streets. They are not on the same footing with law enforcement when it comes to the use of force.

That said, protesters would be very stupid if they thought they could really have their demands granted by fighting riot police.

In the meantime, in order to break the political deadlock, the “Yellow Ribbon” bloc must also ditch their mindset of “achieving their goal in one go” when it comes to pushing for universal suffrage.

I believe only by seeking the biggest possible common ground within feasible parameters through dialogue can Hong Kong truly find a way out of its current crisis.

It is also the only way to facilitate progress in our city’s democratization.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 8

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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HKEJ Columnist