Pan-democrats should withdraw threat to veto political reform

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 5:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 5:38pm

In his article paying tribute to Lee Kuan Yew ("A life of service", March 26), Henry Kissinger said the father of modern Singapore "understood the relevance of China and its looming potential and often contributed to the enlightenment of the world on this subject. But in the end, he insisted that without the United States there could be no stability."

In a letter Kissinger wrote to me in 1995, he said maintaining good relations between the US and China was paramount as China redefines itself, and it would need sensitivity and restraint on all sides.

Both Kissinger and Lee in their respective ways made lasting contributions towards making China better known and understood by the global community, especially the US.

Kissinger and Lee met all five top Chinese Communist Party leaders, Mao Zedong , Deng Xiaoping , Jiang Zemin , Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping .

Both were often lauded by the Chinese leadership as old friends of the Chinese people.

President Xi recently praised Lee as founder, pioneer and promoter of China-Singapore relations.

On his regular visits to China, Lee often stopped by for a few days in Hong Kong, which he saw as a "source of inspiration, of ideas of what was possible given a hard-driving society" and he made it a point to note what he could learn and introduce in Singapore.

Lee had an abiding interest in our city and whenever he spoke about Hong Kong, he was candid.

In December 2000 when Lee visited Chinese University to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, he told students protesting at his visit that if Hongkongers were willing to work within the framework of the Chinese and Hong Kong constitutions, there would be more opportunities for participatory government to develop.

"Otherwise", he said, the chief executive and Hong Kong people would be "locked in a frustrating process of attrition". At this critical stage of our history, the pan-democratic lawmakers' threat to veto the government's political reform package , if carried out, could be the flashpoint of that process of attrition that would negatively affect Hong Kong's economy, social stability and competitiveness.

All sectors of our community should back the government's campaign to persuade the pan-democratic lawmakers to withdraw their veto threat and let the reform package be passed in the Legislative Council next month by the requisite two-thirds majority.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan