• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:22pm

Hong Kong's political system is imperfect but effective

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 May, 2014, 3:35am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 May, 2014, 3:35am

I refer to the report on the comments of Rachel Cartland, a former Hong Kong official under British colonial rule ("'Saner political system needed to end bad dream'", May 14).

Her criticism of our political system was scathing and to my mind, as an indigenous Hongkonger, an insult. But I think her words serve as a warning to us as well.

No political system in this world is perfect. It is true our chief executive does not have any political affiliation, but I believe this is the innovation and creativity that has enabled a period of calm and prosperity after the handover. Legco is split between geographical and functional constituencies and flaws are observable, but all political systems have problems. For example, the British parliament is not perfect. A referendum will be held in Scotland in September in which Scottish voters will decide whether to become independent from Westminster, so clearly not everyone is satisfied.

The "good and evil godmother" analogy is a joke. In early colonial rule, there was no native representation in Hong Kong, and the Public Order Ordinance could be used to limit freedom of speech in Hong Kong. The fact is Britain never thought to allow political development in Hong Kong until the handover loomed and it faced international pressure for not having done so.

Is China an evil godmother, then? In a way, it has caused a degree of disruption, especially in terms of the influx of tourists. But politically, it is trying to do everything it can to make Hong Kong a better place. The ultimate concern is sovereignty, because it is a fact that Hong Kong is a part of China, not a political opinion.

Cartland's words serve as a reminder to Hongkongers. Recently, I observed that some internet users said we were better off under British rule. This statement deprives us of our dignity. Colonisation is not politically realistic, and we are a Chinese society that does not need British hegemony.

On the other hand, regarding the tension between Hong Kong people and mainlanders, it is futile to attempt to say that we are all as one at present because there is a clear cultural divide.

But the fact that we are under Chinese rule doesn't mean we are inferior; nor are we in any way superior. We are problem-solvers, we are proud of ourselves, and we will always do our jobs, and make our homeland a better place.

Ruby Ng, Tsuen Wan


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This article is now closed to comments

@Ruby Ng. "This statement deprives us of dignity"
How's that so? Which would you take, a better life or dignity? I don't care about patriotism at all. It is a concept that doesn't feed. If you think dignity carries any weight, try convince the multi-million Chinese overseas to return to their motherland.
Only the rich & the privileged would hold viewpoint like this.
Give deeper thought to why migration out of China is a one way phenomenon.
Ruby the only reason HK people mention about being under British rule is because many people hate the chinese government with, due right as well. China's sovereignty has become too much of a political and image view to outsiders now, with territorial disputes going on left and right however thats justifiable what with the history of invasions yet most countries have been invaded in history so I don't see why Beijing is so keen to show their 'might' with their reclamation campaign.
On HK's part china needs to just leave them be even though there is a lot of behind the scenes behaviour regarding immigration from china to hk, property, food and tourism. I don't see these problems being solved by a current government unless a 'shake up' occurs.
"The fact is Britain never thought to allow political development in Hong Kong until the handover loomed.." The fact is this is wrong but a common misconception. Political development was encouraged in London as early as the last 1940s but blocked in Hong Kong by the usual 'vested interests'. (Some things haven't changed.) Try reading Leo Goodstadt's excellent "Uneasy Partners" for the real story.


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