Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Chan's Focus on Hong Kong

Anson Chan Fang On-sang reminds us to protect Hong Kong's core values
Finally -- a voice of reason has spoken out. Former Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang has said that Hong Kong must "determine for itself" the role it plays in the development of China, and that it should not be content to be just another Chinese city.

She insists she is not "anti-China" but criticized those who seemed to blindly follow whatever Beijing wanted.

Chan said it was important for SAR leaders to safeguard Hong Kong's core values.

"What is best about Hong Kong is the fact that we are a pluralistic society, we are open, we are tolerant," she said. "But above all, we have proper regard for human dignity, for rights and freedoms and above all for the rule of law. These are Hong Kong's strengths and these strengths are what set Hong Kong apart from mainland China."

She warned that those who simply did what Beijing or the central government's liaison office wanted needed to reflect.

"They don't stop to think what is it that makes Hong Kong tick... We have neither the land nor the human resources, so where do we compete if not relying on our strengths?" Chan asked. "Why do business come here? Why are we the pre-eminent financial centre for China and not Shanghai and not Beijing?

Chan said those who had benefited from living and working in Hong Kong "owe a duty and a commitment to the general public" to protect its core values, because "for some of the richer people, they always have a choice, if things go wrong here, they can up and go".

"Hong Kong is our home, but it's our home for very specific reasons, we don't want to turn into another Chinese city," she said.

In light of the tensions between mainlanders and locals in the city, China says it is time to rethink the city's role being a part of China.

"I'm not anti-China. I fully respect 'one country, two systems', but I place equal emphasis on both one country and two systems," she said. "If you see things happening that are chipping away at 'one country, two systems' and eroding our rights and freedoms, then you have a duty to stand up and have the courage of your convictions, that's all I am doing."

When it comes to democracy, Chan says those "who have the ear of Beijing should impress upon them that the SAR's current constitutional framework needs reform such as genuine steps towards universal suffrage and the development of political parties to make Hong Kong stable," she said, adding that if this was not done, "Hong Kong will become increasingly ungovernable".

The Occupy Central movement led by associate law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting is regarded as the last ditch attempt to force both the Hong Kong and central governments' hand in pushing through democracy for 2017. So far those against it have criticized it at every opportunity, but Chan says it would be better if the government tried to forge consensus and establish an electoral package that would be agreeable to all.

Where's the wolf Leung Chun-ying Hong Kong was scared of?
Reading Chan's comments helps focus Hong Kong back to where it should be. When we had the election for chief executive last year, we hoped Leung Chun-ying would be the better alternative to Henry Tang Ying-yen. We thought Leung would speak for the rest of us, and not the 1 percent that Tang represents.

We were wrong. Instead Leung is going through the motions of what Beijing and the Liaison Office want, and not thinking clearly about what is best for Hong Kong.

He is in a difficult position, but his plunging ratings show that he's not the smartest cookie in the city. He was described as a wolf, but really he seems like an obedient lamb.

Where's the wolf to protect Hong Kong's interests?

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