HK people must accept a hard truth before seeking concessions

December 30, 2019 17:05
Anti-government protesters attend a ‘United We Stand’ rally. Hongkongers must come to terms with the fact that any political reform initiative in the city must not be seen as endangering Beijing's fundamental interests, the author says. Pic: Reuters

Amid the political and economic fallout of the months-long civic disturbances, there are different viewpoints within society in regard to the way forward, with the responses depending on whether the person being queried is pro- or anti-establishment.

Some establishment sympathizers have gone so far as to suggest that central authorities should bring forward the end of “one country, two systems” and implement direct and sweeping governance in Hong Kong, in order to restore social order to the city as quickly as possible. 

On the other hand, some citizens insist that if Hong Kong burns, the mainland would burn as well, and that Hong Kong people should force Beijing into making concessions by threatening total and mutual destruction.

In my view, things would be easy if Hong Kong and the mainland were determined to take on a collision course, and would probably get even easier if we were determined to bring down each other at all costs.

However, the truly difficult yet gravely necessary task facing both Beijing and Hong Kong right now is to rein in the horse at the brink, or simply put, to calm down and start seeking common ground through communication.

If Hong Kong truly wants to have a real future, what it needs is a new generation of people that have sufficient political wisdom to explain to and convince Beijing that allowing democratization and liberalization in Hong Kong within a proper limit and framework will actually benefit the long-term political development of the mainland, rather than pose a threat to national security.

Hongkongers must come to terms with the fact that any political reform initiative carried out in the city must never work against the most fundamental interests of the central authorities, a reality that shouldn’t be seen as unreasonable.

After all, no country would like to see any subversive political force getting voted into office on its soil, right?

Given the situation, I believe it's time for both Beijing and Hong Kong to make another bilateral attempt that can truly defuse the ongoing crisis and bring hope before it is too late.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 23

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Editor-in-Chief, Oxford Political Review