DAB will uphold 'one country, two systems' in campaign to realise political reform for Hong Kong

Holden Chow says a rejuvenated DAB will continue working hard to bring political reform to Hong Kong, by striking a balance between ideals and reality

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 May, 2015, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 May, 2015, 3:00pm

The new leadership of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, led now by Starry Lee Wai-king, was elected last month. With this renewal, the DAB now has the highest number of young legislative and district council members.

Leadership succession is easier said than done. Unlike many other political parties that have attempted to carry it out but failed, the DAB has delivered.

After her election as our new chairperson, Starry pledged that the party would uphold the principle of "one country, two systems" and strive for a prosperous and stable society. As part of the patriotic camp, the DAB must ensure that "one country, two systems" is being implemented in a proper and robust manner. To the opposition, the "one country" element ought to be scrapped if at all possible, which is utterly wrong.

Take the current political reform. The opposition has railed against the government's reform package, asserting that it contravenes international standards. All candidates from the patriotic camp are portrayed as devils, while the pan-democrats also challenge the existence of the nominating committee, although this is clearly enshrined in Article 45 of the Basic Law.

Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, yet pan-democrats believe that the city ought to carry out political reform purely in line with their own wishes, snubbing the "one country" element. They have pledged to veto any reform that fails to meet their standards.

However, one must understand that any political reform that does not have Beijing's consent will never be implemented. Pan-democrats' so-called idealistic proposition will lead us nowhere. If the reform package is vetoed, according to the framework laid down by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, our electoral arrangements will remain unchanged until we kick-start the next round of reform, whenever that may be. Time will have been wasted.

The central government does have national security concerns regarding the implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Some may disagree, but like it or not, it is a fact and, for the time being at least, such anxieties will not be easily removed. If we follow the pan-democrats' approach and reject the reform package, against the backdrop of a hostile political atmosphere and the 79-day Occupy Central protest last year, the central government may well lose its trust in Hong Kong. Could this trust be rebuilt overnight? Surely not.

Worse, Beijing may well tighten its control over Hong Kong. Pan-democrats' plan to veto the reform package is widely perceived as a showdown with Beijing. Will it do the city any good to further intensify the conflict between Hong Kong and the central government? Rejecting the reform is tempting fate.

As a local political party, we must make every effort to convince the public that, putting patriotism aside, striking a balance between ideals and reality is of paramount importance to a society. Being pragmatic would mean society can forge ahead. We are not ones to toy with our beliefs in an ivory tower; we reach out to people from all walks of life and are committed to getting work done for society.

Holden Chow is vice-chairman of the DAB