Message from the Chairman
FROM THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY AT ITS BEST TO PROSPECT OF POLITICAL REFORM IN HONG KONG
There was a joke circulating amongst members of the HKDF that if China continues with its political reform and Hong Kong continues to move backwards, China will be more democratic than Hong Kong after ten years. And we might all choose to move and live on the other side of the border.
Incredible as it may seem now, China may get a working political system envied by the people of Hong Kong within the next ten to fifteen years.
We know, for example, the Chinese Communist Party has, somehow, managed to install the best man into the very top job of government. Premier Zhu Rong-ji is known for his liberal outlook, and his reputation as a highly capable economic administrator and diplomat preceded his appointment, both at home and abroad.
We also know, for example, the American sponsored village-level election is progressing in China. And local-government election will gradually be introduced in the cities.
"60-minutes Plus" style of investigative journalism is now popular in China. Premier Zhu Rong-ji said he intends to further liberalise the mass media in China to help tackle corruption.
What we're witnessing now, is the Chinese Communist Party at its best since it took power in 1949!
While China is making steady progress toward political and administrative reform, Mr Tung has yet to make any commitment to implement the political development promised in Hong Kong's Basic Law. Few people would doubt Mr Tung's good intention. But political observers and the academia generally agree that with his obvious deficit in public persuasion, Mr Tung might not have risen to the top if he had started his political career as member of a political party.
Mr Tung has yet to make his mark as a political leader. The latest Policy Address delivered by Mr Tung shows the firm hand of the Civil Service. We're not totally unhappy about this situation, since we do get some continuity in the economic policy area. But Mr Tung is not likely to come up with a political vision that will enable Hong Kong people to have some influence over the running of their own affairs.
Judging from public comments made by senior civil servants that politicians are "... eroding rather than enhancing the efficiency of government", initiatives for political reform are not likely to come from the Civil Service either.
Political scientists say that political parties should keep up the pressure for political reform. But even Martin Lee, leader of the largest elected party, said that he feels helpless under the present circumstances.
Those who do not put blind faith in our appointed leaders wonder how we are going to avoid paralysis in our economic, social and education systems in the next ten to fifteen years. What's needed is a mechanism by which policy for economic development, social and education reforms etc. could be initiated and implemented by leaders who are able to persuade the majority of Hong Kong people that they are worth supporting.
The way we see it, political reform will not happen here until the Central Government and the Chinese Communist Party views merge with the rest of us and saw such necessity. The Central Government needs to be persuaded that political reforms are necessary in Hong Kong to make those who have policy-making power take up responsibility for their success and failure. And a new political mechanism is needed to put the capable ones in power and remove those who failed from office of power.
In the mean time, Hong Kong will stumble along into the next century behaving like a "Half-lame Duck". The average citizens will have to continue playing the roles of unhappy parents, unhappy businessmen, unhappy workers and unhappy wives of the CEO and Civil Servants who felt that their husbands really do not deserve such criticisms.