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Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

Freedom is a fundamental pillar of our Hong Kong system

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 January, 2016, 5:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 January, 2016, 5:22pm

Hongkongers value freedom, particularly of opinion and expression. This is a most fundamental pillar of our Hong Kong system, with reference to the much vaunted “one country, two systems”. When I read the front page of your January 4 edition, I felt a strong sense of anxiety.

The reason for this is that it does not take a vast conceptual leap to connect the two main reports, headlined, “HK seeks answers on missing booksellers” and “Some cadres ask things that should not be asked: Xi”.

The suffocation of enquiry and dissenting views only ever achieves a strengthening of underground resolve to oppose monolithic authority. Full diversity of expressed views, pragmatism and compromise are essential to good governance. In this context, our Hong Kong government is fundamentally a grouping of career bureaucrats whose background and mindset belies vision and avoids responsibility and hard decisions.

I commend David Dodwell’s article “No consensus please” (January 2), as our system since 1997 has institutionalised inertia. Public consultations are a sham and an excuse for official procrastination.

However, in respect of his subsequent article “Light without progress” (January 4), Dodwell will also realise that China’s amazing economic rise in the last three decades was born on the back of exports of consumer products to the major so-called Western-style democracies. There was little scope for such incredible growth by selling domestically or to North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Academics such as Zhang Weiwei (張維為) should beware of hubris, as three decades is a relatively short period of time, and the “China Wave” may have already crested.

And, in my book, freedom trumps economics in creating a sound living environment.

K. Y. Leung, Shouson Hill