My Take

'Secret' meeting between Democratic Party members and Beijing official a step on the right path

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 August, 2015, 1:40am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 August, 2015, 1:40am

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war, says Winston Churchill.

So, after backing each other into a corner with no room to compromise over Hong Kong's failed electoral reform, the more reasonable people on both sides are starting to mend fences.

A credible attempt was made this week, and further dialogue should be encouraged. It was disclosed yesterday that several Democratic Party members led by party chairwoman and lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing met Feng Wei, a deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office at the latter's invitation this week.

Conspiracy theorists and some paranoid pan-democrats are already saying it was nothing more than an attempt by Beijing to drive a wedge within their camp. The radicals predictably denounced the meeting as "secret" talks behind their backs.

Well, if all political meetings on sensitive topics have to be conducted in the open, nothing will ever get done. The radicals' demand for "open doors" and transparency is just an excuse not to talk and negotiate.

Nothing concrete, of course, emerged from the meeting. But it could be a start for more meaningful dialogue in future. The point is not to follow the pan-democratic rejectionists like Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Alan Leong Kah-kit, who have nothing to offer but pointless supercilious derisions against the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing.

To this day, the Democrats still get mostly blame rather than praise for the breakthrough they achieved in the 2012 Legislative Council election, which considerably expanded the legislative franchise in Hong Kong. This may be the only instance on record in which the Chinese Communist Party promised and honoured an expansion of democratic election to an outside party. That was achieved through so-called "secretive" meetings between the Democrats and Beijing's representatives in 2010. Sadly, because of the subsequent pan-democratic hysteria, the Democrats are still being blamed for splitting up the camp.

If I have to bet on Hong Kong's future democratic reforms, I would go with Lau and her party rather than with people like Eu, Leong and those crazies from People Power and their fringe buddies.