29th August 2019 – (Hong Kong) In the wake of messages from local influential tycoons in particular Michael Kadoorie and Li Ka Shing to the people of Hong Kong, Beijing government also took a surprisingly softer stance as evident in the article published recently by its state media. The Central government reassures Hong Kongers that the principle of ‘One Country, two systems’ will always prevail and that Hong Kong will always be a self-governing city.
Michael Kadoorie, a scion of a family of Iraqi Jew whose family migrated to Hong Kong more than a century ago is the owner of CLP Holdings which supplies 80% electricity to homes in Hong Kong. He published full page advertorials in South China Morning Post and Hong Kong Economic Times recently to call for an end to the violence while appearing to extend an olive branch to the pro-democracy protesters. Kadoorie argued that “young people are Hong Kong’s future… we cannot leave them in desperation or despair.”
In the full page statements, Kadoorie wrote on how The Kadoories first arrived in Hong Kong 140 years ago and they were welcomed by the Chinese people. He quoted his late father who often spoke about the uniqueness of Hong Kong. ‘This area of the world’, he once said, ‘is going to develop as a neutral point of contact between two different ideologies and two different systems of government’…It is disheartening to see what has overtaken the city recently.”
Another tycoon, Li Ka-shing also took out front-page adverts in local newspapers to urge the protesters to “love China, love Hong Kong and love yourself” and he also told them to stop violence as the best of intentions can lead to the worst outcome.
The weeks of protests have caused Hong Kong to take a toll on the bottom line of the one principle of ‘One Country, two systems’. The messages sent by the Central government and the local tycoons to the young protesters show that the political turmoil has reached a critical level prompting an immediate reconciliation between the government and the people before further havoc is inflicted.
As the Beijing government has given the reassurance that the principle of ‘One Country, two systems’ will prevail, we are adopting a wait-and-see attitude to see how the Hong Kong protesters will react. As long as the government does not accede directly to their five demands, the existing deadlock will persist. Having said that, they should perhaps take a breather and pause destruction plans momentarily to see if there is a slight chance of reconciliation. After all, if these young radical protesters really want to destroy Hong Kong and their own future, they can always resume in a jiffy.
However, in the light of the recent statement by Chinese government, perhaps the Chief Executive Carrie Lam should leverage on the open dialogue platform to communicate with the protesters and address the five demands directly to reach a compromise. Both parties have to be realistic in order for them to walk out from this deadlock and save Hong Kong. The Chief Executive is not doing any favour to the Central government by beating around the bush and stopping short of saying ‘full withdrawal of the extradition bill’ since she has said earlier that the bill is as good as dead. The government should not play the victim role to circumstances it has created and hide behind the embattled police force as shield to deal with the civil unrest.
‘The government’s ego means nothing without the support of its people.‘ If they want full withdrawal, give it to them knowing that any slight attempt to re-table the bill at the next Legislative Council meeting will result in the whole LegCo Building being demolished in seconds.
On the other hand, the protesters should be more pragmatic by not insisting on the full retraction of the use of the word ‘riot’ as pockets of riots did take place and in fact they have gone full scale in recent weeks. The guerrilla attacks carried out by the front line protesters are akin to a sequel from the new movie script, ‘HONG KONG HAS FALLEN’.
As we have always maintained, ‘TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT‘, address the root of the problems instead of adding more salt to the wound.
It is imminent that both parties should take a step back and re-evaluate their stance in order for the escalated violence to subside. The Tsunami tide will turn even if there may be a mastermind who orchestrated the civil unrest by infiltrating the young people and funding a group of radical front line protesters because they will have one or two less reasons to fight for.
One at a time, take baby steps as Rome is not built in one day. We believe that the local business community and Hong Kongers are now in dire straits to see the light at the end of of this fast dimming tunnel.