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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
The Rule Of Law Is The Basic Core Value
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
The Rule Of Law Is The Basic Core Value

Simon Hoey Lee, member of the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, in HK01 (March 26, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Samuel Wong)

The Rule Of Law Is The Basic Core Value

In 2004, a group of citizens drafted a declaration of Hong Kong's core values, which they stated were "freedom and democracy, the rule of human rights and the rule of law, fairness and justice, peace and love, integrity and transparency, diversity and tolerance, respect for individuals, and professionalism". These must be upheld for Hong Kong’s continued development, they asserted.

This stirred up some controversy then as these values were based on those of Western democratic societies and failed to take into account many of the unique elements of Hong Kong. In particular, the focus on individualism meant that the importance of the hard work of past generations of Hong Kong citizens were overlooked. The "Lion Rock Spirit", for example, which embodies hard work and solidarity, was a factor behind Hong Kong’s rise.

It goes without saying that the rule of law is the basic core value of Hong Kong. It covers human rights, justice, peace, benevolence, honesty and tolerance. Democracy, however, never existed in Hong Kong under colonial rule, and only part of a democratic system was introduced two years before the handover. As such, democracy cannot be regarded as a core value.

Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot guarantee the prosperity of society. The rule of law, however, can bring security and social stability, through which wealth can accumulate and the economy can develop. Singapore and Hong Kong do not figure very highly in assessments of democracy, yet they have good judicial systems and are at the top of the global prosperity rankings. By contrast, India and the Philippines rank higher in democracy, yet their levels of rule of law and prosperity lag far behind.

Democracy is inherently good. But without an in-depth understanding, the pursuit of “Western democracy” undermines Hong Kong’s established rule of law traditions.


Improving The Electoral System And Quality Of Governance
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Improving The Electoral System And Quality Of Governance

Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Legislative Councillor and barrister, in Ming Pao (March 18, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China)

Improving The Electoral System And Quality Of Governance

The National People’s Congress (NPC) has adopted the decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system by eliminating radical pro-independence political forces. This will ensure that only capable patriots, including those who are not in the pro-establishment camp, can participate in Hong Kong’s governance. One of the expected consequences of this decision is that moderate and rational voices of the opposition will no longer be bullied and refuted by the radical forces. The diverse voices among the patriotic camps can resume cooperation and Hong Kong's political landscape can finally return to normal.

Radicalism and violence have spread like a virus among the opposition camp over the past decade. Due to the proportional representation system of Legislative Council (Legco) elections, increasing numbers of radical voices have gained seats with just a low percentage of the vote. Over the last two years, all opposition parties have become radical, and parliament has seen increased friction. As a result, the ability of the government to improve people's livelihoods has almost become paralyzed.

Because of the NPC decision, the number of parliamentarians will increase and there will be greater room for cooperation. Legco will also have more seats and operate a new channel to join the Council. Candidates must be social leaders who have expertise, ability and willingness to serve the public before they can be approved by the election committee to join. This will ensure the election of patriots and improve the overall quality of governance in Hong Kong.

It is hoped that a healthy and functioning Legco can return to serve Hong Kong. If people’s livelihoods can be improved, the public will come to understand that the decision to improve the electoral system will have helped establish a solid foundation for the future development of Hong Kong.


Why It Is Necessary To Prohibit “Anti-Communism"
Monday, June 21, 2021
Why It Is Necessary To Prohibit “Anti-Communism"

Lo Man-tuen, Chairman of Wing Li Group (International) Ltd, Vice Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and Executive Director of the Hong Kong Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, in Ming Pao (February 22, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: David Dennis)

Why It Is Necessary To Prohibit “Anti-Communism"

Since the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL), the issue of “anti-communism” in Hong Kong has again garnered attention. The term specifically refers to those who deny the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) leadership. There are at least two reasons on why anti-communism must be prohibited in Hong Kong.

First, anti-communism poses significant harm to "one country, two systems". Opposing the basic system of the country led by the CCP is against "one country, two systems". If Hong Kong does not prohibit anti-communism, "one country, two systems" will not be able to guarantee stability or long-term development.

Second, on a practical level, the introduction of the NSL means that the issue of anti- communism can no longer avoided. This is because Article 1 of China’s Constitution clearly stipulates that “the socialist system is the fundamental system of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)." Articles 22 and 23 of the NSL state that "overthrowing and undermining the fundamental system of the PRC established by the Constitution" is a crime of subverting state power. As a result, anti-communist speech and actions are illegal and must be investigated in accordance with the law. Against this backdrop, “anti-communists” will no longer be eligible to run for elections or to enter the establishment of the Hong Kong. This will become political law, according to Article 6, paragraph 3, of the NSL.

Finally, school education in Hong Kong is Westernized and full of anti-communist content. The school system must therefore also prohibit anti-communism by eliminating relevant courses and ensuring that national education courses cultivate respect for the leadership of the Communist Party and are compatible with "one country, two systems". This is the basic premise of prohibiting anti-communism in Hong Kong and the Special Administrative Region government should attach great importance to it.


The Advantages of the Greater Bay Area National Strategy
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The Advantages of the Greater Bay Area National Strategy

James Wang, Research Director at the Bay Area Hong Kong Centre, in Ming Pao (March 8, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: johnlsl)

The Advantages of the Greater Bay Area National Strategy

At the beginning of 2019, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) proposed that China actively promote the expansion of metropolitan areas including the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. This national strategy will have a significant long-term impact on Hong Kong for several reasons.

First, Hong Kong will continue to be favored as an important area for the overall prosperity of China. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recognized Hong Kong and Shenzhen jointly as the world's second largest city cluster in terms of innovation capabilities, further illustrating the important role Hong Kong plays in the region.

Second, as Hong Kong and Shenzhen are neighbours, this supports the development of a twin-city metropolitan area. At the end of 2019, Shenzhen’s population density was about 6,725 people per square kilometer, while Hong Kong’s was approximately 6,800 people per square kilometre. When combined, the two are the most densely populated metropolitan area in the world, surpassing even Tokyo with 6,100 people per square kilometre. Both cities therefore have a great deal to learn from each other in terms of city planning.

Third, Hong Kong will be able to cooperate closely with the other parts of the Greater Bay Area (particularly Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou) in addressing issues relating to environmental safety and carbon emissions. In addition, there will be a strengthening of collaboration in other important areas such as public health and epidemic control. Regional issues require successful cooperation. The many advantages of this national strategy will clearly outweigh the disadvantages.


Why Doesn't The UK Grant The Rohingya The Right Of Abode?
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Why Doesn't The UK Grant The Rohingya The Right Of Abode?

Shih Wing-ching, Chief Executive, Centaline Group, and owner of the am730 newspaper, in am730 (February 26, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: KM Asad/European Union)

Why Doesn't The UK Grant The Rohingya The Right Of Abode?

On the grounds that Hong Kong people have been unfairly treated politically and are not granted their political rights, the UK government decided to allow those who hold or have the right to hold British National (Overseas) passports to qualify for right of abode in the UK. The British view this as a moral commitment to the people of a former colony.

The persecution that the Rohingya in Myanmar suffer is far more serious than that of Hong Kong people. If the UK is to perform its moral duties towards the people of Hong Kong, why not do so for the Rohingya, too? In fact, the British are more responsible for their situation. The British moved them from what is now Bangladesh to the northwest of Myanmar. Because the Rohingya are different from the Burmese in appearance, culture and religion, they have been unable to integrate successfully into Myanmar society. Ethnic conflicts have persisted. When it comes to the Rohingya issue, the British were the initiators.

Recently, the problems of the Rohingya have intensified. Myanmar’s government has sent troops to suppress them. Villages have been burned down and citizens killed. Their situation is far worse than that of the dissidents in Hong Kong. While dissidents in Hong Kong have lost their right to stand for election, the Rohingya do not even have the right to citizenship or survival.

The reason why the UK is unwilling to assist the Rohingya is simple: They have no assets to bring to the UK. Most of them have limited skills to earn a living and may become burden to the state. Hong Kong citizens who intend to immigrate to Britain must understand that the UK’s willingness to accept them is not based on morality or responsibility, but merely on political and economic calculations.


Time For Barristers To Wake Up
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Time For Barristers To Wake Up

Gu Minkang, Council Member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, in Hong Kong Commercial Daily (February 11, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Hong Kong Bar Association)

Time For Barristers To Wake Up

The Hong Kong Bar Association has stirred up controversy yet again by electing as its chairman Paul Harris, a British citizen with political ties. Harris represented the UK’s Liberal Democrats as an Oxford City councillor between 2018 to 2021, during which time he expressed support for the Hong Kong protests. In 1995, Harris founded the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, which has received support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the US.

The Bar Association was established in accordance with the Hong Kong Societies Ordinance. Article 8 of the Ordinance stipulates that if an officer of a society “reasonably believes that the prohibition of the operation or continued operation of a society or a branch is necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”, they then “may recommend to the Secretary for Security to make an order prohibiting the operation or continued operation of the society or the branch”. Hong Kong barristers should therefore call for Harris to resign as chairman.

Due to "one country, two systems", it is possible for foreigners to chair the Bar Association. The association, however, check the political background and character of the chairman candidates to ensure that those who are "anti-China” cannot hold such positions. At the same time, the government should consider setting up necessary "safety valves".

This decision also has major bearing on the election of Hong Kong judges, who are elected in accordance with the Judicial Officers Recommendation Committee Ordinance. Under normal circumstances, the chairman of the Bar Association serves as member of the committee. To prevent persons with political positions from exerting undue influence on the committee, it is necessary for the government to refrain from appointing individuals like Harris.


“Chinese” and “Hong Konger” Identities Not As Mutually Exclusive As Before
Monday, May 3, 2021
“Chinese” and “Hong Konger” Identities Not As Mutually Exclusive As Before

Francis Lee Lap-fung, Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Ming Pao (February 1, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

“Chinese” and “Hong Konger” Identities Not As Mutually Exclusive As Before

The Hong Kong Institute of Public Opinion has published its latest report on identity. According to the 2019 survey, 55.4 percent of respondents described themselves as a “Hong Konger”, while only 10.9 percent believed that they were “Chinese”, and 32.3 percent chose a mixed identity. In 2020, the proportion of people who chose "Hong Konger" dropped to 44.2 percent, while the proportion of people who chose "Chinese" rose slightly to 15.1 percent. These survey results may be welcomed by the government, yet it should be noted that among the 18 to 39-year-old citizens, more than 70 percent of the people still identified as a "Hong Konger".

When citizens were asked to score their Hong Kong and Chinese identities separately, the score for Chinese identity had fallen from 57.3 points to 54.9 between 2019 and 2020. Hong Kong identity scored much higher at 82.6 points in 2019 but fell to 78.7 in 2020. In the first ten years after the handover, there existed a significant positive correlation and a complementary relationship between these two scores (i.e., those who identified themselves strongly as Hong Kong people were more likely to view themselves as Chinese).

This complementary relationship had diminished in recent years and was no longer present in the 2018 survey, particularly among young people aged between 18-39 years old, where a strong Hong Kong identity correlated with a weak Chinese identity, making the two identities mutually exclusive. In 2020, the “Hong Konger” identity has declined. Yet, this has not resulted an increase in the identity score for “Chinese”. Meanwhile, the two identities of “Hong Konger” and “Chinese” are now not as mutually exclusive as before, suggesting that some citizens feel that Hong Kong is becoming more and more "mainlandized".


Beijing Now Controls the Decision-Making Power
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Beijing Now Controls the Decision-Making Power

Chan King-cheung, veteran journalist, in Ming Pao (January 6, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Beijing Now Controls the Decision-Making Power

The Chinese government took the initiative to establish Hong Kong’s national security law in 2020. This represents a reshuffle with Beijing now completely controlling the decision-making power of the entire special administrative region (SAR). Some believe that this was the result of the months of protests in Hong Kong against the extradition bill. Looking back at developments over the past few years, however, there were several early signs that pointed to this development.

In 2014, Beijing published a white paper which asserted that the central government has "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong. According to the interpretation of mainland scholars, comprehensive jurisdiction refers to a sovereign state over its territory. Beijing clearly stated that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is limited to that which the central government grants.

Since the introduction of the National Security Law, Hong Kong has formally become part of the entire mainland system. Even in the economic, trade and financial fields, it is necessary to cooperate with national policies and safeguard national security. The culture of officialdom will also gradually shift from the traditional British civil-service system to the "leading cadre" model of mainland China.

Many Hong Kong people are now considering emigrating as the SAR has become increasingly unrecognizable. Hong Kong has traditionally been a bridge between the mainland and the West. Today, Hong Kong has taken a supporting role to the mainland. If this continues, Hong Kong will lose its former glory and its prospects are dire.



When Will The Government Stop Using the Emergency Law?
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
When Will The Government Stop Using the Emergency Law?

Allan Au Ka-lun, journalist, in Apple Daily (December 24, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Jimmy Siu / Shutterstock.com)

When Will The Government Stop Using the Emergency Law?

Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal (CFA) has ruled that the government's decision to use the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO), a colonial-era law, to ban face masks at demonstrations and public meetings during the height of the 2019 pro-democracy protests was constitutional and aimed to prevent any gathering from deteriorating into violence.

Pro-democracy activists had sought a judicial review on the grounds that the emergency law gave the government too much power. The CFA, however, concluded that the Legislative Council (Legco), the Basic Law and the judicial system could still effectively "restrict" government powers. But this statement is out of touch for thinking that Legco is a normal legislative body, ignoring that it has always been weak in checks and balances, and has become more of a rubber stamp.

The strangest part of the judgment was where the CFA discussed whether the decision to ban facemasks was constitutional and reasonable. This, however, relates to the specific "emergency" period in 2019 and today, more than a year later, there is no such situation in Hong Kong. Yet the law remains in place. This is clearly excessive and disproportionate, and the CFA has failed to deal with this issue.

How long will the Hong Kong government keep invoking the ERO? The power to abolish the mask law is in the hands of Legco and government.


For the Foreseeable Future, Global Financial Center Status is Secure
Thursday, February 18, 2021
For the Foreseeable Future, Global Financial Center Status is Secure

Shih Wing-ching, Chief Executive, Centaline Group, in am730 (December 16, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Alejandro Reyes)

For the Foreseeable Future, Global Financial Center Status is Secure

Opposition figures who have fled overseas continue to lobby Western governments to sanction Hong Kong in the belief that if Hong Kong’s global financial center status would be threatened and the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government would be forced to give in. Furthermore, they believe that if Hong Kong loses this position, it will become a burden to China. 

Beijing understands that the various restrictive measures adopted by the US in the past have not been effective and have sometimes even backfired. For example, when the US announced measures to restrict Chinese companies from listing in the US, many Chinese companies decided to list in Hong Kong instead. Many Chinese companies then chose Hong Kong as their secondary listing market. This resulted in a substantial increase in trading volume on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Financial circles in the US are now starting to worry that New York's status as an international financial center cannot be maintained without Chinese firms being allowed to go public in the US.

Chinese companies have a huge domestic market, impressive returns and strong competitiveness in the international market. Investors will not give up investing in Chinese companies simply because of the opposition of the US government. For this reason, many international-level investment banks expect that funds will gradually flow out of the US market and into the Chinese market (including Hong Kong). This scenario is completely different from Hong Kong's losing its status as a financial center.

Ultimately, financial centers respond to the real economy. As long as Hong Kong can continue to provide better property-rights protection, a freer trading environment, and a higher level of rule of law, Hong Kong's status as a global financial center is safe for the foreseeable future.


Are Young People Rebellious?
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Are Young People Rebellious?

Dr Chan Chi-kit, Associate Professor, School of Communication, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, in Ming Pao (December 10, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Jonathan van Smit)

Are Young People Rebellious?

Recent social movements have seen the youth rush to the front line. Now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and shifts in the political and legal environment, social movements have temporarily cooled down. This provides a chance to consider whether Hong Kong youth are really so rebellious.

Social scientists have long studied whether young people are more rebellious in contemporary society. Generally, the youth of each generation hold different characteristics depending on their collective memories and values. In February 2019, researchers at the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies analyzed polling data from 1998 to 2017 on attitudes towards government performance. They found that only from 2010 onwards did Hong Kong youth’s evaluation drop to levels significantly lower than that of the adult group. This coincided with the continuous wave of social movements led by young people over the past 10 years.

A political scholar has described how the recent wave of social movements in Hong Kong is a result of decades of political transformation and social reforms. This has cultivated a "defensive" civil society where citizens may not usually actively participate in politics, but once they feel a sense of crisis, they will fight back.

The analyst made two further observations: First, feelings of threat and danger were high, with everyone reacting to some desire to hold on to some of value of Hong Kong. Second, a feeling of "relative deprivation” emerged from the sense of powerlessness in light of sudden, profound changes within society. While these observations are not specific to the youth, they can help us better understand the motivations of Hong Kong’s youth as they marched on the streets in 2019.


Are There Employment Opportunities For Youth In The Greater Bay Area?
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Are There Employment Opportunities For Youth In The Greater Bay Area?

Shih Wing-ching, Chief Executive, Centaline Group, in am730 (December 1, 2020) 

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Are There Employment Opportunities For Youth In The Greater Bay Area?

In her policy address, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor proposed an employment scheme in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area for newly graduated Hong Kong youths. The scheme has a total of 2,000 places, 80 percent in general roles and 20 percent in innovation and technology. The monthly salary will be at least HK$18,000 (US$2,308) and HK$26,000 ($3,333), respectively. Participating companies will be able to receive salary subsidies from the SAR government amounting to HK$10,000 (US$1,282) and HKD18,000, respectively.

The chief executive’s scheme appears to be a practical arrangement, designed to attract young people to go to the mainland and broaden their work experience. After all, the mainland market is both larger and more competitive than Hong Kong. As such, Hong Kong employees should be able to develop their skills faster. These opportunities can only be provided under an environment of rapid economic growth. 

In recent years, however, Hong Kong has been affected by the Western trend of resistance to China. Many young people are reluctant to consider the mainland in their career plans. This may explain why the government is willing to provide salary subsidies as an incentive for Hong Kong youths. 

The salary subsidies will mean that a starting salary could be 50 percent higher than the average starting salary in Hong Kong and twice the average starting salary in the mainland. This may sound like a good incentive but may not be sustainable in the long run. Unlike a few decades ago, today’s young mainland generation now outperform their Hong Kong counterparts in terms both knowledge and practical problem-solving ability. It is uncertain how many companies would be genuinely interested in hiring young Hong Kong people without receiving any government subsidies. 

Instead of subsidizing the employees, the Hong Kong government should subsidize employers to open positions up to youth while offering them the same wage as their mainland counterparts. Ultimately, if you work in the mainland, as long as you work hard, the pay will not be significantly worse than in Hong Kong. In addition, the mainland market is large so corporate profits may ultimately be much greater than that of Hong Kong.


The Greater Bay Area Should Adopt its Own Health Code
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
The Greater Bay Area Should Adopt its Own Health Code

Wong Kam Fai, Associate Dean (External Affairs), Faculty of Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and former president of Hong Kong Information Technology Joint Council, in Hong Kong Economic Times (June 25, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: N509FZ)

The Greater Bay Area Should Adopt its Own Health Code

The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 has severely affected the lives of Hong Kong people. Quarantine policies and travel restrictions hindered exchanges and cooperation within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA).

There are nearly 300,000 Hong Kong people working in Guangdong Province and nearly 900,000 immigrants from the mainland in Hong Kong. Many people travel between both places, living in one and working in the other. Although under the "one country, two systems" policy, Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macau belong to three different administrative regions, those that travel frequently between the three places, perceive themselves as "Bay Area" people who should work together to create value for the GBA.

Since February, to restore economic and social order, a "health code" program was launched on the mainland. The system relies on the national integrated government service platform to carry out data sharing on epidemic prevention health information systems in various provinces and cities. Without such a code, Hong Kong lags the rest of the country.

The Hong Kong Government should launch a health code as soon as possible. This will facilitate the relaxing of the 14-day mandatory isolation and the restarting of customs clearance operations. From the mainland’s experience, the health code has played an irreplaceable and important role in the balance between continuous epidemic control and the resumption of normal life.

The Greater Bay Area, the 13th largest economy in the world by GDP, has not been able to lift the cross-border movement restrictions, even though the domestic epidemic situation is under control. A Bay Area health code is urgently required in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau to protect the health of people in the GBA. This will support the potential of the GBA by allowing Bay Area people to pass across the border while protecting their health.


How Young People View the Government’s Handling of Covid-19
Friday, June 19, 2020
How Young People View the Government’s Handling of Covid-19

Justin Chan Long Hin, associate researcher, MWYO, in Hong Kong Economic Journal (June 16, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Jonathan van Smit)

How Young People View the Government’s Handling of Covid-19

In late May, MWYO commissioned a survey of 509 18-34-year-olds to determine how they rate the government’s handling of the epidemic. The results were mixed. When they were asked to evaluate the government's overall anti-epidemic measures, only about a quarter thought the government had done a good job. This may be due to the distrust in the government among young people that had increased in the months before the pandemic.

The survey showed that 81 percent of young people believed that the closure of schools was helpful, while 69 percent believed that the isolation of travelers and close contacts of diagnosed cases was useful. In addition, 52 percent saw benefits in restricting or suspending the operation of certain industries. Only 20 percent of the young people interviewed believed that the government’s distributing free reusable masks was effective. This suggests that the earlier the government implemented certain measures, the greater the support for them.

The survey also found that those whose employment conditions had deteriorated were more dissatisfied with the overall performance of the government. If the government is able to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the economy, it will likely boost the positive perception of its handling of the outbreak among those who are employed.

In terms of financial support measures, 57 percent of the young people surveyed believed that the government played a role in alleviating youth unemployment and economic pressure. A smaller number of young people (45 percent) thought that the government's distribution of HK$10,000 to each resident had the same effect, suggesting scepticism of the direct cash transfer approach. Overall, only 19 percent of the young people surveyed believed that the government's overall economic support measures were successful.


The Purpose of the "Stir-Fry" Strategy?
Monday, June 8, 2020
The Purpose of the "Stir-Fry" Strategy?

Nelson Chow Wing-sun, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of The University of Hong Kong, in Ming Pao (June 5, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: renfeng tang)

The Purpose of the "Stir-Fry" Strategy?

As the Covid-19 epidemic has been gradually brought under control, protests have reappeared under the “stir-fry” strategy. The public were not aware what this strategy really entailed until the National People's Congress passed Hong Kong’s National Security Law. In layman's terms, the stir-fry strategy simply means "If we burn, you burn with us". Those who promote this strategy seek to create chaos in society as a means to achieve their overall aim or simply to force those in power to make concessions.

No matter how much its opponents attack the government, the government will simply continue to fight violence with violence. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has made it clear that the government will not set up an independent investigation committee into alleged police brutality. While Hong Kong people are tired of chaos, they recognize that this strategy will not adequately aid their cause.

If the strategy aims to support the attempt by the pan-democrats to win the majority of seats in Legislative Council elections and then force the government into implementing universal suffrage, this would essentially involve forcing your opposition into a corner. Undoubtedly, universal suffrage is what Hong Kong citizens desire, but would they be happy with the pan-democrats being able to veto any legislation? This would certainly put the Hong Kong government and the Chinese central government in a precarious and unsettling position.

Pursuing this strategy would involve directly opposing the national security law and would clearly carry anti-central government undertones. While the strategy may be supported by many Hong Kong people – “Let's jump off the cliff together" is a powerful statement – is this really in line with the wellbeing of Hong Kong people?