Students will harm Hong Kong by fanning flames of resentment towards Beijing

Holden Chow says by setting fire to a copy of the Basic Law, students showed little appreciation of the rights and obligations enshrined within it

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 5:43pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 5:43pm

The burning of a copy of Hong Kong's Basic Law by student leaders at the June 4 vigil was a huge disgrace. Did the students appreciate the nature of the Basic Law, which guarantees the rights of Hong Kong people as well as our uniqueness under the "one country, two systems" principle?

One could only assume that, by burning a copy of the mini-constitution, they are calling for the scrapping of "one country, two systems", which is utterly irresponsible.

The growing hostility of the young towards the central government is worrying. The students acted out their fury towards Beijing. In fact, their default position now is opposition on all fronts.

I am surprised the students did not learn a lesson from the failure of the Occupy Central movement to extract any concessions from Beijing, not even a minor one. Being tough is by no means an effective way to bargain with the central government; Beijing is as tough as they come.

If we care about Hong Kong's development, we must review our approach. A strategy of all-out opposition has already put the city in quite the predicament. Policies put forward by the government, even those on livelihood issues, are routinely held up in the legislature by filibustering pan-democrats.

As a result, public needs are left unmet. Even the disbursement of a subsidy for low-income working families, which has little to do with political reform, has been delayed. Society as a whole suffers. Provocations by radical students further harm Hong Kong. By politicising every issue, they stir up outrage against the central and Hong Kong governments. When people's resentment rises over the government's failure to fix their problems, the possibility of finding a solution becomes even more remote. This creates a vicious circle.

When public anger reaches boiling point, the students will call on the head of government to step down - this is how they intend to strike at the authority of the central government. Thanks to their efforts, Hong Kong will surely regress.

Is there a way out? Yes, only if we abandon the path of antagonism and stop politicising every issue. This will allow government operations to begin working smoothly again and the city to get back on its feet.

Hong Kong needs to maintain its cooperation with the mainland. Jobs and economic development are important.

The Basic Law is not something we can cherry-pick: the rights we enjoy under "one country, two systems" come with obligations which we have to shoulder. Maintaining a healthy and robust relationship with the central government is certainly one of our obligations and is in the interests of Hong Kong people.

I will keep my fingers crossed for these youngsters to understand this one day.

Holden Chow is vice-chairman of the DAB