Letter to Hong Kong from Ronny Tong

On the 12th of October RTHK shared this letter to Hong Kong from legislator Ronny Tong. His words echo my sentiment exactly. (http://programme.rthk.hk/channel/radio/programme.php?name=radio3%2Flettertohongkong&d=2014-10-12&p=535&e&m=episode) I’m sharing it here in full.

Ronny Tong

A lot of people in Hong Kong must be asking the same question now: Where do we go from here? Not just where do we go from the end of the Occupation, if it ends; not just where do we go as far as political reform is concerned; but where does Hong Kong go as a world class city, as our home? Does anyone know the answer? Ask the Pan Democrats, or members of Occupy Central, or the students, and they all shake their heads. They know what they want, but no one knows how or when, if at all, life will get back to normal, let alone if we will ever get full democracy at the end of the road.

 May be we should ask another question first. How did we get here? I am not trying to apportion blame. It is pointless now to point fingers. But perhaps it is time to reflect on some fundamentals. We must remember that the One Country Two Systems is itself a compromise. Not just a political compromise between Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher; or between the UK and China; but a compromise of the very political situation that we found ourselves in. More significantly, it is a compromise between Communist Sovereignty on the one hand, and Capitalistic Autonomy on the other. Furthermore, no matter how one hates to admit, there was a small degree of trust involved. Again, I am not just talking about trust between the UK and China but also between Beijing and Hong Kong people. Beijing trusted the people of Hong Kong would not try to overthrow the Communist Party. We trusted Beijing would honour the Basic Law.

 Now where is that spirit of compromise now? Or that degree of trust, no matter how small? Many of the Pan Democrats say, we don’t trust Beijing. We never did. Well, Beijing does not trust us either. And that’s precisely the problem. Perhaps we should ask another question: has either side done anything to earn the trust of the other? And if not, why not? Beijing thinks by insisting on civic nomination, the Pan Democrats are deliberately flouting the Basic Law, and hence the One Country Two Systems; the Pan Democrats think Beijing never had the real intention to give true democracy to Hong Kong in the first place, so we must ask for a safe guard and civic nomination is such a safe guard. So it goes on and on. And we are stuck.

 If truth be told, the ugly reality is we cannot move forward unless we can build up some semblance of mutual trust. It is not a question of can we do it. It is a question of we must do it. We have only 2 choices: continue on this downward spiral of confrontation and deep division amongst ourselves, or, try to work out a general consensus in terms of long term democratic development. The second alternative will not be easy. In fact, it is more difficult now than ever. But the first alternative is unthinkable. It probably will mean the end of Hong Kong as we know it. Already, I am hearing a lot of professionals saying they are preparing to leave.

 I sincerely hope Beijing also sees the imminent danger of the unthinkable. If so, perhaps it is time both Beijing and the Pan Democrats should put aside their differences and set up a small working group to map out the long term democratic development of Hong Kong. It may be next to impossible to work out a general consensus. But we owe it to Hong Kong, and the generations to come, to give it one more try! 

 Ronny Tong

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