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Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

Do Hongkongers care about the steady erosion of ‘two systems’?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 3:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 3:37pm

On Sunday, I witnessed the protest march in Central relating to the missing booksellers and people’s concern over freedom of speech. It appeared to be well (if very heavily) policed, with the protesters somewhat solemn and well behaved.

What struck me most forcibly was the relatively modest attendance – 6,000 people, we are told, or less than 0.01 per cent of Hong Kong’s population. This apparent lack of interest over an issue so fundamental to Hong Kong’s future as freedom of speech and the maintenance of the Basic Law is, I believe, worthy of comment.

The Basic Law, of which China is of course a co-signatory, precludes the erosion of “two systems” in Hong Kong until 2047. Yet we are witnessing a steady attrition, either implied or directed, with over 30 years remaining. Your journal, with its fine record of journalistic and political independence, has reported on the many concerns Hong Kong people have with their relationship to the Hong Kong government and the intrusion into Hong Kong’s affairs by Beijing.

Of course China has every right to maintain a political interest in Hong Kong’s well-being but, as things stand today, this interest is being subverted by a political will that rides roughshod over an agreement that the Chinese themselves have signed.

It is in everybody’s interest for China to become a strong, socially responsible and ethical power in the world. Sadly, current events do not support the likelihood of this happening in the short term.

Despite the apparent power and the potential for China to be respected, and thus more influential in the world, the unnecessary autocratic behaviour being displayed at present will only ensure China’s goal of becoming a great power is diminished.

Tony Price, Tung Chung