In his final policy address, Governor Chris Patten said Hong Kong is a bridge between East and West. Hong Kong represents the kind of Asia with which both West and East are comfortable. As a candidate for Chief Executive, tycoon Tung Chee-hwa has emphasised the significance of a strong Hong Kong Chinese identity after it becomes a Special Administrative Region of China. The future success of Hong Kong, he says, lies in combining the best of the East and the best of the West under the premise that 'We are Chinese, and we are proud to be Chinese'. Though giving clear recognition of Western culture and values such as rule of law, systems of governance and freedoms, Mr Tung is, in effect, preaching a revival of the virtues of ancient Chinese culture in the SAR. To quote from his manifesto, these include 'trust, love and respect for our family and our elders; integrity, honesty and loyalty towards all; commitment to education and a strong desire to strive to improve and advance oneself; a belief in order and stability; an emphasis on obligations to the community rather than rights of the individuals; a preference for consultation rather than open confrontation'. In essence, the future SAR should be a capitalist city with an international outlook and traditional Chinese virtues. While Mr Tung's attempt to draw public attention to the issue of the Chinese identity of Hong Kong people is laudable, there are other equally important matters that have not been addressed. One fundamental issue is the longstanding debate on how Hong Kong people should deal with developments in China such as crackdowns against dissidents and human rights violations. As Chinese nationals, it is both the right and obligation of Hong Kong Chinese to give their views and participate in national affairs. Can there then be a clear-cut definition of when such expression of views will not be deemed an attempt to 'directly interfere with the affairs in the mainland'? If Hong Kong people are to be applauded for giving donations to flood victims and children from poor regions of China, why are they not allowed to call for democracy and human rights on the mainland? What are the criteria for deciding what Hong Kong people should and should not be involved with? Rights and obligations are a two-way street. While Hong Kong people have obligations such as to abide by the law, their lawful rights must not be sacrificed in the name of so-called national and long-term interest of the motherland. Violations of individual rights in China and some authoritarian Asian nations should be borne in mind. Under the dictum of 'stability is above everything' which has prevailed after the June 4 crackdown, the Beijing regime has taken a heavy-handed approach in dealing with dissent. There have been too many cases in which Chinese officials have labelled as confrontational those who simply hold a different view from the Chinese government. Order and stability, obligations and consultation are high-sounding ideals with which few will disagree. They should not, however, become justification for authoritarian rule. It is true that there are virtues in traditional Chinese culture that are not merely relevant but are pillars of strength that Hong Kong people can draw on. But there are also local characteristics that people should insist on keeping and which could contribute to the development of the mainland. After re-integration, it is important for the Chief Executive to act as a bridge, to help Hong Kong people understand the other 1.2 billion Chinese. But it is equally, if not more, important for the future leader to convince mainland authorities of the importance of preserving the virtues, systems and values that are behind the economic miracle of the territory over the past 150 years. In this way, Hong Kong will continue to be able to benefit from the best of the East and best of the West.