Time for an open mind and cool head

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 May, 1997, 12:00am

I and others formed a new political entity yesterday, called the Citizens Party. We put the emphasis on people because it is in their name and interest that we work.

Citizens Party does not work for any institutions or the establishment. We do not represent any particular class or interest group. We work for the public interest.

We aim to build a society where all men and women can realise their potential and shape their lives. Through liberating the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the people, society can better serve its material and non-material needs.

We believe in building trust through openness and participation. We promote political representation, rule of law, personal freedoms, equal opportunity, tolerance and taking personal responsibility. We believe people have the right to know what its government is doing, be able to question those in power and to hold them accountable for their decisions and actions.

Hong Kong's democratic institutions are as yet imperfect, and we must work to remedy the defects. It will take time and effort. We believe in a constitutional framework based on consent, with the ultimate aim that representatives elected by universal suffrage can chart policy direction.

The Basic Law clearly states that the ultimate aim is universal suffrage, so we see nothing in Hong Kong's soon-to-be constitution which bars us from this pursuit.

Citizens Party wants to promote a competitive but non-adversarial political culture which focuses on genuine issues and solutions to improve the quality of life.

We are prepared to work with others on different sides of the political divide on common causes. Where we differ, we will compete on who can come up with quality research and better solutions to society's problems.

We believe in small but caring government that provides high quality public services which guarantee information, choice and dignity. We want the people to become healthier, safer and better housed, and for our children to have an education that equips them for the modern world.

Citizens Party believes in free-market principles because they can best respond to change and provide choice. However, we also want to see proper regulation where there is an overriding public interest, such as to ensure fair competition.

Citizens Party will consider economic issues and the environment together. We support economic growth but not that which is solely judged in terms of quantity.

We want to encourage a competitive and enterprising economy which is also environmentally sustainable. We have a duty to our children and future generations to protect the environment and the planet.

This can be best achieved by conserving biodiversity, ensuring economic activities are sustainable, and in building true environmental costs into the market to penalise polluters and reward conservers.

There is a view that political work will be more difficult after July 1 because China is less tolerant of political diversity and dissent. Some people even see politicians as an endangered species.

Hong Kong will become a part of China and a part of Chinese politics. The people fear its more authoritarian political culture. They fear the 'one country, two systems' policy will fall apart in implementation.

My view is this is no time to allow our concerns to debilitate our action, even less to cloud our vision for a forward-looking modern society. We need to learn about the Chinese system and keep an open mind about future possibilities.

Citizens Party believes that at every hurdle we can all choose to make better, rather than, worse choices. We need a cool head and a strong heart.