Reform is an opportunity beyond risk

Conspiracies aside, election decision should focus on best way to bring prosperity to city

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 4:22am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 4:22am

This is a crucial week for Hong Kong. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is meeting to consider methods for selecting our chief executive in 2017. The outcome is expected this weekend.

The best outcome is for the city to be given maximum latitude, within the Basic Law framework, for genuine universal suffrage to take place.

I am no prophet, but the signs aren't good for that to happen.

For one thing, Hong Kong is already cracking up along seismic political fault lines. Chants such as "in someone's pocket" or "to pocket something first" are a dead giveaway.

And behind each farcical façade comes the tragic perception that all is not well.

From various comments by the pro-Beijing and pan-democratic camps, it is clear "people's nomination" of candidates is out and "Occupy Central" is in.

Then there are serious signs of distrust. Some believe that unless Beijing exercises total control over the city's electoral system, the city might elect a confrontational chief executive to collude with foreign powers and subvert China.

Conspiracy theories are much like the light in a refrigerator; you never know whether the light is still on when the door is closed.

Literature from around the world is cluttered with stories of fallen heroes, all victims of suspicious minds.

Conspiracy theories have the same effect as trying to clutch the shadow of an imaginary shadowboxing opponent.

Such suspicions fog the mind with imaginary fears and let opportunities slip. Collective blind belief in conspiracies leads to collective blindness.

In Mao's "little red book", he propounded adherence to solid facts and not artificial fiction.

In envisioning "the one country, two systems" concept, now enshrined in the Basic Law, Deng Xiaoping himself realised the intrinsic differences between capitalist Hong Kong and communist China and envisioned "horse racing as before; dancing as usual and 50 years' no change".

Obviously, Deng read Hong Kong correctly and understood the realities of taking over Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty.

Learning from history, successful implementation of reform means turning risk into an opportunity for the stability and prosperity of the city.

Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien was secretary for health and welfare from 1990 to 1994 and a lawmaker from 1995 to 1997