Sunday, 1 January 2012

Hopes for 2012

Happy New Year to Fragrant Harbour readers! Thank you so much for your support.

I don't have resolutions, but wishes for Hong Kong and China in 2012:

  • Concerted efforts to deal with the choking air pollution in China. We'd also like Hong Kong to get moving on the bad air too, or are the city's senior officials also using air purifiers in their offices and homes?
  • In prosecutions especially when it comes to "state secrets" that the rule of law is followed with greater transparency and that the central government finally gives a clearer definition of "state secrets". Right now this vague phrase is applied to anything and anyone a threat to Beijing.
  • Innovation rather than imitation. It will be very challenging for China to change its mindset, but the country needs to completely revamp its education system in order to stimulate critical thinking rather than blind memorizing. This will be the only way the mainland will be able to stay competitive in the global market.
  • Hong Kong needs to foster grass roots. The city was built by people with an ethic of hard work and creativity. Greedy landlords making it virtually impossible for entrepreneurs to experiment and try new things. If the government wants more Li Ka-shings, there has to be a more hospitable economic environment.
  • Chinese authorities need to listen to the people. There is a growing number of incidents involving social unrest from strikes to protests and 2012 will only see more as people become more frustrated with the government. They don't want to overthrow the Communist Party, they just want to have what they are entitled to.
  • Loosening of media controls in China. This is a long shot as President Hu Jintao is still in power, but control over the internet is tighter and tighter, making it more difficult for people to get information we take for granted. However there are more internet savvy people who know how to scale the Great Firewall.
  • The gap between the rich and poor gets smaller in both Hong Kong and China. In Hong Kong the government must focus more on the working poor and help them particularly with housing, whereas with China, the government needs to stop being so suspicious and allow NGOs to do their work.
  • A Hong Kong leader who is looking out for the best interests of the city and its people. We are tired of senior officials who eagerly kowtow to China or are too scared to speak up for Hong Kong people. We want long-term thinking rather than band-aid solutions to help Hong Kong stay competitive internationally.
  • The end of eating shark fin. The Peninsula hotel is the latest to publicly announce it will not serve the delicacy, following places like Disneyland. This is not criticism on the tradition of eating this dish, but to save the sharks from extinction.
  • The release of Liu Xiaobo. Former Czech President Vaclav Havel died last month and reminded us of his moral voice for his country and his leadership in bringing the country out of Communism. We probably won't see Liu out of prison anytime soon, but we must remember his best intentions for China and its people.

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