Hong Kong spirit shone in prayer service for jailed ex-leader Donald Tsang

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 April, 2017, 3:59pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 April, 2017, 10:36pm

As Winston Churchill once said, democracy is the worst kind of government, except for all the other kinds that have been tried.

So Hong Kong is the worst Chinese city in the world, except for all the others that it has been compared with.

An affirmation of this came last week when we saw dignity and compassion openly displayed at a service of prayers for Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the imprisoned former chief executive. Tsang, who is serving a 20-month term for misconduct in public office, has appealed against his conviction and applied for bail.

The one-hour service, held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, was attended by members of his family, chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and other prominent figures, as well as hundreds of ordinary citizens. It was the most civilised of demonstrations, and one in which the people of Hong Kong were not protesting but showing a solidarity of decency and empathy, and respite from all the troubles in the territory.

Tsang himself has been an exemplary prisoner. He accepted his verdict and repeated his faith in the people of Hong Kong, and is serving his sentence with meek compliance and in the silence of prayers.

This is a paradigm of contrition that exemplifies the importance and acceptance of the rule of law.

It all shows that amongst the mercenaries and cynics of Hong Kong, our community is still underpinned by fundamental virtues that are worthwhile.

Despite the polarisation of our politics and divisions in society, Hong Kong retains the ability to sparkle, if only for an hour or so, with a sense of unity and peacefulness.

May that long continue, because in our concrete jungle of bubbling problems, Hong Kong needs to find and redefine its soul, through a much more caring and harmonious attitude.

Sir David Tang Wing-Cheung, Central