My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 8:39am

If CY Leung is forced to quit, what then?

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.
 

People should be careful what they wish for. NeoDemocrats lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai and hundreds of people signed an advert that ran in newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan calling on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign. They also warned Taiwan against "mainlandisation" as the island plans to boost cross-strait tourism.

What's easier to demand? If you don't like something, throw it away. That's how children behave, because they care nothing about the consequences and only want to vent their anger and frustration. Many of us still remember similar calls for Tung Chee-hwa to quit. And when he did, people cheered. Well, we ended up with Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who enjoyed a long honeymoon and high popularity ratings, at least initially. Look where he is now!

Tsang was arguably worse than Tung, who at least correctly identified key problems confronting Hong Kong: an out-of-date education system, an unsustainable public health system, an out-of-control property market, an ageing population, eroding competitiveness. What he lacked was the ability to develop and execute plans that could address these problems. Tsang, the consummate civil servant, just swept them under the carpet. As a result, we wasted almost a decade.

People are understandably angry because of the many problems confronting Hong Kong today and threatening its future. But many, if not most of these problems, were already there before Leung took office, and will remain whoever replaces him. The "brainwashing" national and moral education? It started with Tung and worked out under Tsang. Mainlandisation or expanding mainland tourism? It was Tung's and Tsang's baby.

Under the current system, whoever replaces Leung would still be perceived as a Beijing lackey, and the pan-democrats could repeat their whole routine of demonising, obstructing and destroying the new guy. How does that help Hong Kong? Far more responsible would be to press Leung to come up with a viable constitutional reform blueprint acceptable to both sides. But I suspect some of our young radicals are not interested in anything so constructive. They would rather see a government destroyed or in disarray. And if that means taking Hong Kong down, so what!

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