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Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong is too closely tied to mainland China for serious talk on independence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 April, 2016, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 April, 2016, 4:50pm

Earlier this year, the University of Hong Kong student magazine, Undergrad, published an article devoted to the subject of self-determination for the city in 2047.

It criticised the poor administration of the present SAR government. It pointed out that it was agreed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration that the “one country, two systems” principle would be adhered to for 50 years after the handover, during which the socialist system practised on the mainland would not be extended to Hong Kong.

The capitalist way of life here and other freedoms are protected under the Basic Law. However, some local people, especially younger citizens, feel these freedoms and rights are now being gradually eroded.

Undergrad also called for self-determination in an article in 2015, shortly after the end of the Occupy Central movement. Calls for an independent Hong Kong have been growing. And the voices of criticism against the chief executive have become louder. Some of his comments in response to these activists have been provocative and this has not been helpful.

The strength of the localist movement has grown and the formation of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party has been heavily criticised by the central government. A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office has said localist groups threaten the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

I believe that the vast majority of Hongkongers believe in the status quo and do not support independence. They recognise that the mainland is our biggest trading partner. Many Chinese companies use the Hong Kong stock exchange for their initial public offering platform when they want to go public.

By the end of this year, Hong Kong will become a sub-sovereign member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will bring increased trade and investment and more employment prospects. This will benefit us.

Our retail sector is suffering because of a drop in the number of mainland visitors. If this situation persists, we could see shops closing and large-scale lay-offs.

We rely on the mainland for most of our food and water.

The Basic Law makes it clear that the Hong Kong SAR is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China. I do not see how Hong Kong can gain from the different political parties being embroiled in continual squabbling. Surely it is now time to bury the hatchet and bridge our differences.

Dr Raymond Tam, principal, G. T. (Ellen Yeung) College