Time really flies. Before you know it, it is Christmas again. And this is again a time of the year that one reviews the successes, or some would like to put it, the failures of last year. For a start, it has been a turbulent year in more sense than one. There was the pseudo-referendum by-election, a first of its kind political reform debate between the chief Executive and Party Leader of the Civic Party, what looks like a thawing of relationship between some of the Pan Democrats and Beijing, the passing of a much improved political reform package, which led to the departure of some founding members and a legislator from Hong Kong’s biggest pro-democracy party, the Democratic Party, and last but not least, and probably much to the delight of Beijing and its political allies in Hong Kong, an undeniably ever widening rift within the Democratic Movement in Hong Kong.
So what will the political landscape look like in the year to come? The position will, of course, be less confusing if the rift is merely ideological in the sense that the differences between the two camps in the Pan Democrats, that is to say, the Democratic Party and the Alliance for Universal Suffrage on the one hand and the Civic Party and LSD on the other, lie simply in difference in approach. But that is not so. Splinter groups of LSD and indeed LSD itself, are threatening to “punish” those who supported the revised political reform in the coming elections. The Civic Party is non-committal in this respect, but it certainly can’t be assumed that they are still allies of the Democratic Party. They will not be, for the simple reason that come election time, the Civic Party will undoubtedly continue to boast its participation in the 5 district resignations and accuse the Democratic Party of “betraying” democratic principles and the latter’s election promises.
All these, much to the delight of DAB and their allies, look very much like a complete split in the Movement. More importantly, the pro-government parties are hoping all these will translate into substantial gains for them in the elections to come. This is, of course, not unlikely. This is especially so in the forth coming District Election. It is a rule of thumb that where two or more pro-democracy candidates are vying for the same seat, the seat will go to the opposite camp. In particular, seemingly independent, but in truth, candidates of the pro-government camp, are going to reap the benefit of the split in the democratic camp. This will in turn have a material impact on the following LegCo Election, not only in relation to the 5 so-called super District Council seats but also in relation to the direct election seats. This is because most LegCo candidates rely heavily on the support of District Councilors in electioneering activities and canvassing votes in estates. Without adequate District Councilors’ support, all Pan Democrat candidates will be running at a disadvantage.
You may ask, so why would Pan Democrats fight against each other? More to the point, even if there are political differences between different camps in the Democratic Movement, why one camp should seek to "punish" the other camp in elections? Why can't the "punishment" come in some other way or form? Most fundamentally, how would this promote and further the cause for democracy? This is a question most democracy supporters cannot fathom, let alone answer. The only obvious explanation is LSD and perhaps even the Civic Party are out to destroy the Democratic Party and hope to install themselves as the leaders and only real members of the Democratic Movement. To many, this is a very sad state of affairs. For most people in Hong Kong, the common goal is to secure universal suffrage within the time-frame promised by Beijing. The point of the Democratic Movement is not to see who can survive from internal back stabbings to become a leader of the Movement. In fact, most people despise such selfish desires. This will be another reason why voters may desert the Pan Democrat candidates in the coming elections.
This is the time of the year when most people are wishing each other for a happy new year. But for the Pan Democrats, and those will care deeply for the democratic future of Hong Kong, the coming new year may well turn out to be a most unhappy new year! Let us just hope good senses and better vision will eventually prevail!
President Roosevelt once said, “We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion and mistrust or with fear.” Unfortunately, this is precisely the biggest challenge facing not just the Pan Democrats in Hong Kong, but also the SAR Government and the Central Government. For a brief moment in time, we seemed to have reached some sort of mutual trust over the development of political reform in Hong Kong after the passage of the reform package in June this year. But that fleeting moment seemed to come to pass all too quickly. Last Saturday, the SAR Government unveiled the blue print of the local legislation giving effect to the reform package; but, alas, the details just contained far too many devils to the likes of not only the Pan Democrats but most people in Hong Kong!
When one examines the details of the local legislation proposed, one cannot avoid but get the distinct impression that the Government is trying its utmost to not only preserve, but enlarge the political advantage of the pro-government forces. From the way no changes are proposed to enlarge the electorate base of the Legislative Council and the Election Committee, to the way in which members of the latter are to be returned by district counselors, to allowing the 10 additional LegCo seats in the Election Committee to be filled by Village representatives, CPPCC and District Council members, to refusing to increase Government funding to assist candidates of the newly created 5 seats to be filled by district counselors, one can see Democracy is getting the short end of the stick.
Opponents of the reform package are all too quick to condemn those who supported the package as “having been rightly cheated” by the Government and deserved to be vilified by the people of Hong Kong. This is not fair. We have asked for many things during the negotiation for a better reform package. For example, I for one, have tried my best to seek the abolition of the split voting system; but in the end, it seemed realistically, we could only seek one thing in return and a decision was made, rightly or wrongly, to concentrate on the one man two votes proposal. It was not until the last few days that there was any indication the package would be accepted by the Central Government. There was simply no time to argue over smaller details. In any event, after such a hard fought agreement, it would be wrong to abandon it on the basis of unknown details in the local legislation which is, after all, wholly within the sphere of responsibilities of the SAR Government. This is a matter of political judgment and those in support of the package will have to bear the consequences thereof.
But this is not to say the SAR Government is right in its approach to propose the local legislation in the way it did. In one stroke, the SAR Government is threatening to demolish completely what little hard earned mutual trust we had built up in the negotiation for the reform package. Trust is a fragile thing. It is also a two way street. By doing its utmost to preserve and even enlarge the political advantage of the pro-government factions, it is sending out a wrong signal to all: those in power will continue to refuse to adopt a fair and inclusive attitude in the run-up to full and genuine democracy. Worse still, it puts a big question mark in the minds of the people in Hong Kong as to the sincerity, if any, of the government.
Can the government be more fair and inclusive in reforming our political system? Of course it can! Indeed, some may say this is the essential responsibility of any government. Under the present system, the imbalance is so great that any relaxation of the degree of participation by democrats will not lead to an overhaul of the present election system. So the question is: is the government afraid of or repugnant to a fairer political system in Hong Kong? If the promise of universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020 is genuine, should we not concentrate on building on the small foundation of mutual trust achieved in the summer and not bent on achieving or retaining a political advantage of the pro-government factions in the short term?
As Doctor Frank Crane, the famous clergyman, once said, “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.” The democrats have perhaps learned the wisdom of this meaningful message the hard way; but worse still, it seems the SAR Government has not even grasped the true value of mutual trust in pushing Hong Kong towards real democracy. The result is, true democracy remains as illusory as it always was. One just hope this is but a momentary lapse and a more trustful government will emerge in the days to come.
今天晚上回家時，看見維港上空，雨散雲收，一環新月像對着我微笑：「不如意事，每天都有；但明天又有一番新氣象，何必自怨自艾！」Tonight on my way home, I saw the new moon rising over a clear sky over victoria Harbour, smiling at me, "Life is not a rose garden every day. Tomorrow will be a brand new day, so why worry now?"------希望您喜歡！Hope you like it!