"Mending the social rift and fostering social cohesion" (2021/09/08)

"Mending the social rift and fostering social cohesion" (2021/09/08)

MR YIU SI-WING (in Cantonese):

Deputy President, in order to mend the social rift, we must first identify the root of the problem. Before 1997, the British Hong Kong Government only cared about the British interests in its governance so that the governors and senior officials from Britain would merely execute the orders of the British Government in Hong Kong. In 1985, the year after the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, 98% of the 170 000 civil servants were Chinese people, but most of the senior officials were foreign nationals. Out of the 18 Policy Secretary posts, only 4 were filled by Chinese officers. This situation remained unchanged until 1997.


Before Hong Kong's return to China, Chinese civil servants used to play the executive role in the British Government system. After the return of sovereignty, the governing team was localized under "one country, two systems" by putting the principles of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and "a high degree of autonomy" into practice. Senior positions in the Government were then basically taken up by Chinese officials. However, the governing team was hardwired and kept thinking and acting like an executive arm. As we may recall, the election slogan of former Chief Executive Donald TSANG was "I will get the job done"; nowadays, many senior officials may still have the mindset of "getting the job done" even though the socio-political environment has become complicated. Their obvious lack of sensitivity has been exploited to cause the social rift mainly in the following ways.


Firstly, the influence of foreign forces infiltrating Hong Kong has been overlooked. After Hong Kong's return to China, the Central Government allowed Hong Kong to have different political spectra under "one country, two systems" out of its trust in the Hong Kong people. Unfortunately, those political figures have been manipulated by foreign forces and their spokesmen to coalesce into the opposition camp, which flagrantly infiltrates political and professional groups (including trade unions) through different means. The opposition camp, which has kept growing stronger over time, continues to make use of demonstrations and the Legislative Council to hold back government policies introduced for the good of the people and the economy. In the meanwhile, many civil servants perform their duties with the mentality of "work not, err not", causing widespread public discontent about the Government's failure in resolving the long-standing problems in such aspects as people's livelihood and housing. Even if there are policies which can do good to the people, they will often be distorted. With such social rift, members of the public will not side with the Government, no matter how hard the latter tries to explain its policies.


Secondly, the influence of education and media on society, especially young people, has been overlooked. With the infiltration of the opposition forces into different sectors, including education and media, parochialism has been advocated by twisting the notions of freedom and democracy. Consequently, self-centredness prevails over the Lion Rock spirit of "all for one and one for all" in Hong Kong day by day. Members of the public become more radical in views and are increasingly overwhelmed by the sentiments of "black-or-white" and "yellow-or-blue" which evolved from the Occupy Central movement in 2014 and heightened in times of "black-clad violence" in 2019. Worse still, the opposition camp vilifies different phenomena in the Mainland through education and media reports, causing naïve young people to dislike their country. In the absence of national education, students have little knowledge of the country's history, culture and geography, resulting in their reluctance to learn about the current development of the Mainland. These one-sided reports make many young people distant themselves from the Motherland, deny their national identity and even lead to the rise of "Hong Kong independence".


Deputy President, to cope with a wide range of challenges arising from the social rift in Hong Kong, in the short run, we can only, first, rely on the National Security Law to tackle issues relating to the law and order caused by the anti-China and destabilizing forces, and, second, improve the electoral system to achieve durable stability. In the medium run, we need to reform the recruitment and promotion systems of middle and senior-level civil servants, in a bid to enhance the quality of administration. In the long run, education is crucial to teaching students the history and development of the country and thus enhancing their sense of national identity. At the same time, moral education should be strengthened to teach young people about respect and empathy, shape their outlook on life for them to deal with people properly, and help them develop a positive attitude to face the future.


Deputy President, I so submit. I support the motion of Dr Priscilla LEUNG.