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Hong Kong youth

Keep an open mind and listen to Hong Kong’s young people, says chairman of youth commission

Lau Ming-wai warned government advisers not to act like parents ahead of recruitment drive to include more young people in policymaking

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 8:56pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 10:21pm

The government should listen to young policy advisers instead of treating them paternalistically, Lau Ming-wai, chairman of Hong Kong’s Commission on Youth, has said.

On Tuesday, five policy committees will put up advertisements to recruit members from the city’s youth. More official bodies would follow to open up as part of the promise to engage more young people in policy discussion made by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her maiden policy address, said the Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah on Sunday morning.

On Friday, the Central Policy Unit – a top policy advisory body to be revamped as the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit – took the lead in openly recruiting two coordination managers. Successful candidates would be offered a non-civil service contract of three years and a monthly salary ranging from HK$30,000 to HK$95,000.

“The government should not treat the young advisers as if it were their parent. It should be willing to keep an open mind and listen to them,” Lau Ming-wai said of the recruitment scheme on a TV programme on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Lau advised the young analysts joining the policymaking bodies to put away their political stances and personal biases.

“A professional researcher should be rational and mature enough to carry the research forward despite disagreements,” Lau said.

Lau believed that the government had more room to adopt ideas from the youth in policies concerning people’s livelihood than in those related to “highly politicised issues” such as electoral reform and the joint customs arrangement in the high-speed railway terminal.

While Lau was on TV, student leader Lester Shum Ngo-fai attending a public forum in the Victoria Park said that the recruitments were not empowering the youth but “a bribery offered by the government for better recognition”.

Derek Yuen Mi-chang, policy director of the New People’s Party at the forum, suggested young people take the opportunity because the city needed innovation instead of more protests.

Lau said response to the job posts would not be lukewarm.

“The salary, the working environment, and the topics concerned are pretty attractive,” Lau said.

The Commission on Youth chaired by Lau since 2015 would be replaced by a Youth Development Commission led by the chief secretary in 2018.