25th Anniversary Declaration
January 1, 2017
Today, the DAB affirms the ideas enshrined within our Manifesto.
We sincerely believe in the spirit of Loving the Nation and Loving Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been a part of China since ancient times. We are members of the Chinese race, we are proud of our identity as Chinese and Hong Kongers, and we hope to see a China that is unified and strong, where the people can live with dignity and contentment. We are willing to make contributions to this goal. We continue to support the return of Hong Kong to the Motherland, the successful implementation of “One Country, Two Systems”, and we continue to work hard in advancing Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, allowing Hong Kong people to achieve their goals.
We firmly support and uphold “One Country, Two Systems.” “One Country, Two Systems” is an unprecedented approach to tackle what was then a new issue, therefore the fact that there has been challenges along the way of its implementation is expected. All stakeholders allow the greatest possible tolerance and patience in order to ensure the success of “One Country, Two Systems.” We believe that within the range of possible systems, whether past, present or future, “One Country, Two Systems” best serves both our nation and Hong Kong’s interests. Our faith in the principle is so strong that we believe not only should it not be changed for 50 years, it should be maintained thereafter.
We will work hard to implement a virtuous democracy. The development of democracy is the hope of Hong Kongers. We must work hard to create the conditions to implement full universal suffrage for both the CE and Legco elections. On top of this, the goal of democratic development shouldn’t only stop at that, we should also work hard to implementing a truly virtuous democracy, one that allots people with different opinions dignity and respect, a democracy that allows rational and knowledgeable debate on public issues, one that better protects individual rights and the rule of law, one that advances the common good in our society.
We propose sharing the fruits of development with the entire society. While economic development is a prerequisite for improving the quality of life for our residents, this imperative must be balanced with the need to ensure everyone gets a fair piece of this development pie. We propose the preservation of fairness in the market, support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and eliminate monopolies. This will ensure more opportunities for upward social mobility and help the middle class and young people find a path to their goals and dreams. More importantly, we must proactively enact progressive economic policies that help redistribution to the poor in order to alleviate poverty. This will help ensure the welfare of our poorest and most vulnerable residents.
The DAB is a party that transcends barriers of social class. We will persist in fighting for the common good in Hong Kong society, adopting the principle of “telling it like it is.” We will proactively monitor the government and propose strategies for the administration. We will attach pragmatism and reason when we approach issues; we will communicate with different social sectors to help us come together, work hard for “win-win” solutions and advance the stability, prosperity and development of Hong Kong.
Jan 1, 2017
1) Endowed with the Love for our Country and Hong Kong
Hong Kong has been part of China since ancient times. We are part of the greater Chinese nation and community of a common destiny, with ties of blood, culture and traditions. We identify with our people’s communality in history, share a deep love for our people’s culture, and wish to see a united China — prosperous and strong — and the people living the good life, for which we stand ready to contribute. We support the return of Hong Kong to the Motherland, are committed to our continued work in the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong”, and will spare no effort to safeguard Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, so that Hong Kong people can lead meaningful and rewarding lives.
Solidarity through Thick and Thin
China is our Motherland and Hong Kong is our home. The interests of the Motherland and Hong Kong are fundamentally and intrinsically aligned. Hong Kong has always benefited, in social and economic development, from our strong links to the Mainland. During hard times, the Motherland had spared no expense in helping Hong Kong face challenges. By the same token, Hong Kong people, with love for our country, have supported the development of Mainland China and offered help our Motherland during hard times. We believe that the continued progress — political, economical, social, cultural, etc. — of our Motherland will facilitate Hong Kong’s development; our continued stability and prosperity will facilitate Mainland China’s progress.
Reason and Tolerance
Our Love for our Country and Hong Kong flows naturally from human instincts of being connected to our families, communities, and society-at-large. Being a patriot is not being blind to the country’s faults; patriots do not harbour xenophobia attitudes. True patriots can rationally recognise their country’s shortcomings and work hard to correct them. True patriots are tolerant and inclusive, embrace universal values, and are concerned with the broader fate of our common humanity. True patriots can work for the nation’s interests and development without foregoing their moral compasses.
We deeply adore and treasure the cultural heritage of Hong Kong and support its development. This is an integral part of the original ethos of “Loving the Country and Loving Hong Kong”. Hong Kong’s culture, a culture shaped by the integration of Western culture with the many different Chinese customs from different parts of the country, is characterised by a cosmopolitan diversity and is an organic part of Chinese culture as a whole. We believe that by continuing to be receptive to different influences, we can promote the unique culture of Hong Kong to even greater success, adding even more facets to the rich and colourful Chinese cultural kaleidoscope.
2) Firmly Safeguard “One Country, Two Systems”
“One Country, Two Systems” best serves Hong Kong
“One Country, Two Systems,” designed to protect the territorial integrity, security and development of our nation, takes into account Hong Kong’s history and realities and to maintain Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity. The system safeguards the freedoms and rights of Hong Kong residents. We believe that “One Country. Two Systems” is the absolute best system for safeguarding the interests of our nation and Hong Kong, in fact we believe that not only should it be unchanged for 50 years, it should remain so thereafter.
The implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” has made big strides since the handover and has, on the whole, been a success recognised by the international community; yet, some Hong Kong residents remain skeptical and worried of the future of “One Country, Two Systems”. We believe that “One Country, Two Systems” is an unprecedented constitutional principle, and without experience to serve as guide, problems arising from the course of its implementation are inevitable. Therefore, it is imperative for all stakeholders to allow a wide berth in tolerance and patience in securing its successful implementation. “One Country, Two Systems” is where Hong Kong’s future lies; we cannot abandon our commitment to “One Country, Two Systems” over temporary setbacks and obstacles as that would bring about tumultuous and disastrous impact to Hong Kong.
Full-fledged implementation of “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong”
In accordance with the Basic Law, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy” are implemented in the HKSAR, for which our executive, legislative and independent judicial, including that of final adjudication, powers, are vested. “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy” are the bedrocks of “One Country, Two Systems” and the key to the success of “One Country, Two Systems” as a whole. The Central People’s Government, the HKSAR Government and the various sectors of society must adhere strictly to the provisions of the Basic Law, spare no effort in the full-fledged implementation of the “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy” principles, respect the values of Hong Kong people, protect Hong Kong’s system and way of life, and help it retain its status as a cosmopolitan world city. This not only benefits Hong Kong residents, but also that of our nation, as this will allow Hong Kong to continue to contribute to our nation’s reforms, in strengthening its global connections, providing social administrative experience for the Mainland.
Participate in the Development of our nation, respect the Mainland’s system
As Chinese citizens, Hong Kong residents have the right to participate in national affairs, facilitate national development, and enjoy the same rights as fellow Chinese nationals. At the same time, we understand that the laws and political systems of Hong Kong and the Mainland are significantly different. The intent of “One Country, Two Systems” is to allow these two systems to coexist and develop with mutual respect.
Since the economic reforms, China has made astonishing economic achievements, becoming the second largest economy in the world, and tremendously raising the standard of living for its people. This is a testament to the correct path China has chosen for development. We respect the social system of the Mainland, and we participate in the administration of national affairs in accordance with its laws, and we support the its continued progress on the reform path to steadfastly increase the strength of the nation, promote democracy and rule of law and improve the quality of life for the people.
Promote Hong Kong-Mainland cooperation, resolve problems with pragmatic solutions
Hong Kong’s greatest advantage in economic development is the large hinterland and the support of the nation. We should, on the basis of mutual benefit and respect, proactively promote more economical, social, cultural, etc. exchanges with the Mainland, participate in our country’s economic strategy such as the “Belt and Road Initiative”, and promote better mutual understanding between Hong Kong people and Mainland compatriots. Nevertheless, increased integration and closer ties bring about problems and areas for friction. For example, some economic activities may have proliferated beyond the capacity of Hong Kong society and adversely affected the daily life of Hong Kong people. We must recognise and resolve these problems but we must not use them as excuses to sever ties with the Mainland and intensify the polarisation between us. We advocate for the HKSAR government to put the interests of Hong Kong residents first, seek pragmatic and realistic solutions to problems, and allow the exchange and relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland to progress in a balanced and gradual fashion.
3) Realising Virtuous Democracy
Implement “dual universal suffrage”
The Basic Law states that the ultimate aims are the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures, and the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. The issue of how to implement this “dual universal suffrage” has generated a lot of social flashpoints of contention, and the progress of democratisation has been stalled. We believe only by adhering to the Basic Law can we implement the “dual universal suffrage”, and different sectors in Hong Kong society should proactively work for the goal and create conditions for its realisation.
Implementation of “dual universal suffrage” is an important part of democratic development in Hong Kong, but it is by no means its entirety. The experiences of various places in the world tell us that there are “good” and “bad” democracies and that only virtuous democracy can ensure good governance and improve the quality of life for the people. The more important goal for Hong Kong’s democratic development is to fight for conditions that ensure the development of virtuous democracy.
Protect the rule of law and the rights of others
Virtuous democracy must be built on the bedrock of the rule of law, and places equal weight to the protection of both individual rights and common interests. No matter whether we are pushing for or practicing democracy, we must do so with strict adherence to the rule of law, and protect individuals rights as well as the common good of society as a whole. Without these, we would move closer to anarchy. The success of Hong Kong was built on our rule of law. We must be committed to the protection of the rule of law at all times, and no objective is worth sacrificing the rule of law to pursue.
Promote deliberative democracy
Elections and votes matter in a virtuous democracy, but they are not sufficient. A virtuous democracy will not reduce the democratic process to simply a referendum or a plebiscite. Virtuous democracy places emphases on the mutual respect of and by different sectors of society, and informed debates, rational deliberation and discussion on public affairs and policies, whereby consensus can be reached and support of policy decisions strengthened. We believe deliberative democracy will allow citizens to participate in politics in a meaningful way, and enhance the legitimacy of our decision making process. Thus, Hong Kong should pursue deliberative democracy at the same time as it implements “dual universal suffrage”.
Economic development is the prerequisite for improving people’s quality of life. Economic development, however, must be balanced so that everybody in society is able to share its fruits. If development does not benefit people generally, it is not only meaningless, but also conductive to social conflicts. Development of this kind is unsustainable. Therefore, the government should ensure that the market is fair and equitable to all, eliminate monopolies and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In the process of development, the government should ensure that any adverse effect it may entail on ordinary residents should be ameliorated by fair compensation. The government has the more important task of implementing income redistribution by proactive financial policies in order to solve the problem of poverty in a more effective manner, reduce income disparity, and provide reasonable security for the poor and disadvantaged.
Being market-oriented and also proactive
The success of Hong Kong depends on economic freedom. We must defend the core principle of the free market and continue to open up to the world so that Hong Kong can remain a vibrant international and cosmopolitan world city. Nevertheless, the market is not invincible, and opening up to the rest of the world comes with challenges; especially with globalisation, with which income disparity is magnified, local SMEs struggle to survive, the middle and working classes lack the opportunities for upward mobility, and the youth see no way forward to achieve their dreams. In face of these challenges, the government must rely on the power of the market and also be proactive in transforming the economic structure, encouraging technological innovation, entrepreneurship or pursuit of career advancement, and thus, resolve structural social problems.
Serving all sectors of society
The DAB is a cross-sectoral party. We believe that the common interest of all sectors of the society is to implement “One Country, Two Systems”, “Hong Kong people Administering Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy”, to maintain Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity while continuously improving our resident’s quality of life. We will consider the overall interest of Hong Kong as a whole and promote social progress in an orderly manner. In this process, we will adhere to reason and pragmatism, communicate with different sectors of society, in striving for solidarity, consensus and win-win solutions for all.
Actively monitor the government
Our mission is to ensure that the government not only governs according to the law, but also governs with fairness and justice, meeting the wishes of the people and improving their welfare. Therefore, we will actively monitor the government by supporting what is right and opposing to what is wrong in its policies. We will advance feasible policy proposals and help the government improve its governance and serve the people better.