Beijing kept its promise to leave Hong Kong’s governance structure unchanged but, by 2002, deep fissures in society had begun to hamper its effectiveness. The 2019 social unrest hastened the introduction of national security legislation and an electoral system that will ensure the effectiveness of governance going forward.
The annual policy address should include concrete targets instead of pledges to review systems and formulate proposals, while senior civil service officers’ pay could be linked to performance. Key performance indicators for the civil service must convey an immediate sense of gain to the people to be meaningful.
Influential members of the community have led young people to believe that violence is justified when pursuing a noble cause. But such action may well ruin the lives of the protesters and forever discredit the democracy movement in the eyes of Beijing.