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  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 2:41am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 4:27am

Hong Kong needs to get real on national interest

National interest means different things to different people. So it's interesting that President Xi Jinping cited it in his maiden speech as head of state to urge Hong Kong and Macau to rally behind the country.

No doubt he has intended a heavy dose of patriotism and love in his formulation. He wants to say the two special administrative regions need to consider the overall interests of the nation "to safeguard and foster [their own] long-term prosperity and stability".

State leaders have been emphasising the importance of patriotism as a criterion to pick leaders to run Hong Kong during the National People's Congress in Beijing, which ended on Sunday. But perhaps it would be better for both Hong Kong and the mainland to evolve a more realistic and business-like working relationship rather than insisting on love and blood ties.

So let's consider the more usual meaning of the phrase "national interest", something close to the heart of every political realist. It is that in politics, there are no friends, only common interests.

What Xi says makes even more sense in this context. Beijing is ready to consider anything that is in Hong Kong's interest, so long as Beijing's legitimate interests are also recognised and met. New Premier Li Keqiang said something similar afterwards, urging Hong Kong to make good and full use of the central government's economic and social initiatives to benefit the city.

Beijing has every interest to see Hong Kong prosper. But it also has legitimate or non-negotiable core interests in the city and its future development, especially in terms of democracy. One interest is surely our clear recognition that the Chinese Communist Party is the central government, which is also the only legitimate government of "one China". From this, it follows Hong Kong cannot be used as a base to challenge the legitimacy, unity and sovereignty of the Chinese state; nor can it have a leader Beijing does not trust.

Therefore, the screening of chief executive candidates is a given, though Hong Kong may still have a big say on how this can be done in a future "one person one vote" electoral franchise.

This is not what usually passes for full democracy, but it is not a bad deal, given how Beijing defines the nation's core interests.

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xiaoblueleaf
Being "Chinese", one loves China which is not pre-conditioned upon loving its system and values that it propagades. HK and China's relation is one of mutual tolerance, using the other to one's own
advantage and need. HKers have little choice but to accept what is given; not necessarily the other way around as there are limits of such tolerance. It's "live and let live".
whymak
Say you're a 5-year old - that your naivete manifests as such, and you tell your father that he has to be tolerant of your temper tantrum. Now tell me how far you're going to get.
hard times !
I wonder why our national father,Dr.Sun Yet-sen did not make use of his expertise in medicine(as he was known to be an excellent doctor who received western medicine training in Hong Kong) to serve the Ching Dynasty court and the powerful and rich nobles.Instead, he risked his life while advocating revolutions to overturn the corrupted and incapable Ching Dynasty.Dr.Sun Yet-sen is no doubt a patriot but not necessarily loved the ruler of his time.Loving one's country:its culture,scenery,history,customs,people and ...does not mean one should love the ruling regime.Right ? Our National Father is such a good example.
whymak
So you want a revolution. Go ahead and make my day!!!
hard times !
who in Hong Kong dare stage a revolution ? Nobdoy indeed ! Even the most radical lawmakers or public figures and their followers never said that they wanted a revolution to overthrow the existing government across the border nor dare this guy who is just a gentle guy but my brain is clear enough to point out certain facts and bits of history lessons only.Only when the government is lovable and deserve the love of its people, its people will voluntarily love it, needless to have so-called national education to blindly praise the leaders and their ruling regime. Wake up !
whymak
Love it or leave it, give me liberty or give me death, haven't you made this quite clear? Nobody is pointing a gun to your head to live in our beloved city.
hard times !
what are you yelling about ? Being a Hong Kong Chinese who was born here and grew up here,I have the right to live here as long as I like/prefer.You just haven't any rights to ask me to go unless I embrace the Beijing authorities which took over the territory in 1997 from the British colonists who ruled us for over 150 years.Both masters of we Hongkongers were/are not much welcomed here,to speak the truth !' Love it or leave it' ---bearing such mind-set,many Mainland compatriots may choose to leave China once and for all ! How foolhardy and naive your thought is ! Shame on you and your words !!
lucifer
We all knwo what these means....Hong Kong, its financial system, its stock markets, its ports are used in the "national interest" and Hong Kong people should think about the "national interest" in everything they do.
Hong Koing is a self-governing SAR...what wrong with Hong Kong doing what is good for Hong Kong? I think the mainland can take care of itself now.
Greenwash
It may be difficult for many Hong Kong people to get all mushy about China when they see the amount of corruption by governments in China, and the fact that the Central government is holding HK back from democracy. Lastly, China treats Hong Kong companies and professionals in China similar to 'foreign entities'. So much for that loving feeling. The patriotism speeches by Chinese leaders probably just irritate a lot of Hong Kong people. Sometimes, the less said, the better.
whymak
"....the sovereignty of China extends to Hong Kong, although one can make a persuasive case that Chinese sovereignty does not or ought not extend to Taiwan, Tibet and perhaps some of Uigher lands."
There is freedom of speech that is constructive for all concerned and there is irresponsible speech for your feeling good that invites endless disputes, and worse, self-destruction. This underpins Mr. Lo's short essay.
Everyone is entitles to his ignorance, but not to the right to propagate his opinions as facts. Keep your ignorance of history of Tibet and Xinjiang as opinions to yourself. This is not the issue du jour. Comprendre?

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