Sino-US relations

Universal franchise in Hong Kong can strengthen China-US relationship

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 12:31am

Forty-five years ago, I was among some 40 people coming from different countries who attended Henry Kissinger's three-month Harvard International Seminar programme. Among the topics discussed were China and the Vietnam war.

A few years later, Kissinger went to Washington to work with president Nixon, which led to the historic opening of diplomatic relations between China and the US.

It is no mirage that China's new leader, President Xi Jinping , and re-elected American President Barack Obama have met in a relaxed manner in a California desert retreat to know each other better and to discuss the role of their two countries in the global community.

For me, this was the fulfilment of a dream that I had harboured since the Kissinger seminar: the hope that the leaders of the United States and China could meet on equal terms to map closer co-operation between the two countries, and co-operation in concert with other nations to promote stable and peaceful development and make the world a safer, more livable and happier place for all mankind.

We in Hong Kong are fortunate to have the rule of law, the "one country, two systems" concept, freedom of speech and personal freedom. Having lived in Hong Kong for well over half a century, I have my dream for Hong Kong: to see our next chief executive elected by universal franchise in 2017, and similarly the Legislative Council in 2020. For this dream to come true, it is imperative that all stakeholders, whatever the difficulties, forge together a broad political consensus that will have the central government's blessing.

I look forward to that day because I believe Hong Kong citizens in the years ahead will continue to be active, irrespective of other minor or major distractions, in bonding the ties of business, friendship and co-operation between these two great countries.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan