Do we want a Hong Kong without morals and rule of law?

December 12, 2019 16:36
Anti-government protesters gather on a bridge during clashes with police outside PolyU on Nov.17. The government should nurture our young people into responsible citizens of modern society, says the author. Photo: Reuters

Since June 9, when one million people took to the streets to oppose the now-withdrawn extradition bill, police have arrested more than 6,000 people for protest-related offenses, with students constituting a significant portion of them.

I think what we should worry about isn’t just the huge number of people arrested but also the more serious problem lying behind it: the serious flaws and shortcomings in the education of our young people with regard to morality and the rule of law.

Also, there are a number of other social factors contributing to the escalation of violence involving our youth, such as the deteriorating political atmosphere, acute social rifts, the continued political deadlock, volatile public sentiments, sluggish economic growth, housing shortage, and poverty.

While some people have called for the police to have more power to crack down on youth crimes, others have said that patriotic education and decolonization efforts have not been well carried out since the handover.

But whether it is a question of law enforcement or education, I believe the aforementioned suggestions are unable to resolve the underlying issues. In fact, they may even fuel more resentment among the youth.

In my view, what the government should focus on is “prevention”, i.e., keeping our young people away from crime by enhancing legislative initiatives and diverting more resources toward strengthening our social security system.

In particular, the government should nurture our young people into responsible citizens of modern society by promoting virtues such as obedience to the law, integrity, as well as respect for the principles of fairness, rules, transparency, rights and civic duties among them through moral education and education on the rule of law.

As we all know, our young people represent the future of Hong Kong. Their parents and grandparents have built the city to become what it is now, but it is up to our youth to shape the future of society.

Just think about it: do we really want to have a Hong Kong that has no respect for morality and the rule of law?

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal onNov 30

Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]


Chen Xiaofeng, Doctor of Juridical Science