Eyebrows have been raised after two former government leaders initiated a high-profile alliance in what they say is a bid to “relaunch Hong Kong”. With as many as 1,500 rich and influential figures rallying behind their mission, the Beijing-endorsed “Hong Kong Coalition” is apparently not just a talking shop. The exact action plan remains to be seen, but the body seems determined to counter what is said to be the advocacy of “mutual destruction” by the opposition camp. How this venture will shape the development of the city at this critical juncture shall be closely watched. This is seen as a positive step by the patriotic camp to consolidate support and cooperation in the longer term. To Beijing, last year’s public sympathy for the social unrest and crushing defeat of its allies in the district council polls showed there needed to be a stronger and more united front to restore order and stability. Led by Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, both ranked as state leaders thanks to their roles as vice-chairmen of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the significance of the alliance is unequivocal. The group’s manifesto is also “highly commended” by the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. Ex-Hong Kong leaders draft in tycoons, university chiefs for city revival bid The timing and background of the alliance inevitably raise concerns as to whether the position of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will be undermined. The suggestion that Lam also supports the initiative is to be welcomed given any relaunching of the city is primarily the job of the government. Beijing’s latest statement criticising the return of protest violence is yet another sign of its growing impatience with the current situation. How the alliance can play a contributory role in relaunching Hong Kong shall be a challenge with it pledging to uphold the governing principle of “one country, two systems”, revive the economy and restore the rule of law. This requires more than distributing free masks to the public or providing jobs for young people. The political and economic crises triggered by the social unrest and the novel coronavirus are far from over. There needs to be new ideas and efforts to complement government moves if the city is to begin a new chapter. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.