My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 6:59am

Time for C.Y. to show some leadership

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

Let me practise some equal-opportunities criticism. A few columns ago, I complained that the fragmented pan-democrats have no Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi, not even a presentable leader like Martin Lee was in the 1990s. Their futile search for an elusive consensus on a reform plan for full suffrage betrays a lack of political imagination and leadership.

The same, or worse, can be said about the Hong Kong government, which is why we are in this political mess. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying still thinks he can stick to livelihood and economic issues, the resolution of which would ease social tensions and conflicts. Sorry, C.Y., we are way - WAY! - past that now. Got that? Is there any way to get through to you? The biggest elephant in the room is universal suffrage, and the longer you delay and stall in addressing it, the bigger the mess you will face. Occupy Central is just a foretaste of what is to come. If you want to stop it or knock the wind out of it, you as the leader of Hong Kong must speak to us from the heart - assuming you have one. You must tell us now, not six months or a year from now, when you will come up with models of full suffrage with which to consult the Hong Kong public and how you plan to mediate between the demands of Beijing and the pan-democrats.

Get this done, and you have nothing to fear, and may even run successfully in 2017. Ignore it, and you will end up like your predecessor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, retiring in ignominy.

There is an old Chinese saying that the mountain is high and the emperor is far away. It's usually meant derogatively about corrupt local officials. But it also means local officials have enormous leeway to make initiatives. Top Hong Kong officials, however, have turned this saying on its head; they all climb over the mountain to try to get faint signals of what the emperor wants.

The emperor wants you, C.Y., to put your house in order. Beijing has enough problems. It doesn't spend all its time - contrary to the paranoid delusions of the pan-dems - plotting to undermine "one country, two systems" and interfere in our affairs.

If you show leadership and some backbone on suffrage, Beijing will listen to you; so will many Hong Kong people who are smart, educated and weren't born yesterday.

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