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A screen in Causeway Bay shows a live broadcast of President Xi Jinping’s 25th anniversary speech on July 1. Photo: Sam Tsang

LettersJuly 1 anniversary should have been a celebration of Hongkongers, not a PR opportunity for Beijing

  • Readers discuss the messaging surrounding the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, and how John Lee’s election campaign funding could have been better spent
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The 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was a historic moment worthy of celebration. It was an opportunity for collective reflection on the significance of the occasion as well as on the city’s achievements since 1997.

However, the overkill of congratulatory advertisements in many Chinese-language newspapers, especially those regarded as patriotic media outlets, was anticlimactic and counterproductive.

The stacks of newspaper supplements on and around July 1 were filled with poorly designed advertisements carrying the same celebratory messages that felt robotic, if not insincere. These advertisements served little purpose other than to provide some meagre extra income to elderly ladies who recycle waste paper for resale.

The main problem with such formulaic messages around prosperity or stability is that they do not resonate with the public in any meaningful way.

It is therefore refreshing that The Hong Kong Jockey Club has produced a positive video to mark the anniversary in a way that puts emphasis back on the people of Hong Kong.

The short film visits moments in the life of a young woman over the past 25 years, starting from when she was a child through her school years to motherhood today. Along the way, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s charity projects in education and sports give her and her generation many new experiences and opportunities. Highlight events from recent history, such as the city’s staging of the equestrian events during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, are interwoven with her memories of growing up in Hong Kong.

The people of Hong Kong have overcome many challenges in the past quarter of a century. Through each, the city has fought with fortitude and resilience – always coming out on top. In the 25th anniversary year of the Hong Kong SAR, it is the people of this city and their stories that we should most celebrate, so that we create hope and optimism for the years ahead.

Chan Shek Kwong, Ma On Shan

Millions wasted on John Lee’s election campaign

The election of a new chief executive had given Hong Kong hopes of a fresh start, but the trajectory of his term has regrettably been set in the wrong direction.

Being the sole candidate for the chief executive seat, John Lee Ka-chiu nevertheless saw the need to raise HK$11.3 million for his election rallies and advertisements. Clearly the need to create a reputable public image outstripped the need to address pressing matters like the rising unemployment rate, poverty or shoebox housing.
He could have taken this golden opportunity fully to mend fences with young Hongkongers, or help industries that are hanging by a thread. For example, the amount spent on Lee’s campaign could serve as a bailout for the catering industry. Just this week we learned that restaurant operator Asia Catering (Holding) Limited owed more than 100 of its employees HK$5 million in unpaid salaries and contributions.

As for the young Hongkongers, they still have a bit of devotion and allegiance to this city. All they need is assurance from the new chief executive that they have not been forgotten, and that they are still considered the backbone of Hong Kong’s future development.

Abas Khan, Mong Kok