Let's find a way forward for Hong Kong
Ever since the start of the anti-extradition bill protests last year, Hong Kong's law and order have come under constant attack by large-scale, organised acts of violence. It is a result of radical political forces seeking to destroy Hong Kong through nihilistic "mutual destruction". Moreover, before the political storm could die down, the COVID-19 outbreak hit us like a tsunami. That dealt a massive blow to the livelihoods of numerous businesses and members of the public while plunging the economy into a deep freeze. In the face of such a grim situation, it is no surprise that many Hong Kongers are especially anxious about the city's future.
The DAB believes that the future wellbeing of Hong Kong and its people lies in preserving “One Country, Two Systems.” We must resolutely stop further attempts to damage One Country, Two Systems as well as our social and legal stability. We wish to promote dialogue and garner constructive forces within society to chart a way forward for Hong Kong. The DAB will hold a series of consultations titled “Rebuild Our Home. Say NO to Mutual Destruction”. Throughout the public consultations, we shall focus on discussing the three following vital issues:
1) How to maintain the long-term stability of "One Country, Two Systems?" It is the DAB's view that "One Country, Two Systems" is eminently viable and is the best governing system for Hong Kong. As we continue to face a multitude of problems and challenges, we must act strictly in accordance with the Constitution, the Basic Law and implement One Country, Two Systems precisely. That includes correcting any misunderstandings and deviations in implementing the system. Also, we feel that wide-ranging reforms of the HKSAR governance and civil service systems are in order. That would require the governing elites to abandon their hubris and bureaucratic mentality, by truly putting people first and proactively solving the most pressing social issues.
2) Is "Big Market, Small Government" the best model for Hong Kong's development? The government has always adhered to the "Big Market, Small Government" principle like a golden mantra. However, various societal and economic issues in recent years have demonstrated that relinquishing the government's proactive role in leading the economy makes it challenging to promote industrial diversification in Hong Kong. That, in turn, hinders the economy's ability to foster new ways for growth and residents to enjoy the fruits of economic prosperity.
In the long term, this could further polarise society and jeopardise the healthy development of our economy. We must look into whether the government should adjust its governing principles. That includes assuming a more proactive role in addressing any deficiencies in market operations to promote both healthy economic development and fairness in society.
3) How to deal with the issue of economic inequality? Hong Kong's poverty gap has always been a black mark on society. As of 2016, Hong Kong's Gini coefficient reached 0.539, which was well over the international inequality threshold of 0.4. The best way to close the gap is to redistribute wealth in society via financial and welfare policies.
There is no doubt that Hong Kong spends a lot on welfare, but the city has always pursued a rather basic low tax system. We should examine whether the current wealth redistribution system can effectively alleviate the city’s widening poverty gap. If not, how should the wealth redistribution system be reformed?
Throughout this consultation series, we will host various events such as roundtable discussions and publish policy consultation essays. The goal is to stay in touch and communicate with various sectors of society and the general public through both district and online platforms. The first roundtable meeting takes place today at the DAB Head Office. It focuses on economic development, and we have invited distinguished guests to discuss and consult on different policies.
The DAB would like to invite all HKSAR residents to participate in the " Rebuild Our Home. Say NO to Mutual Destruction: The DAB's Policy Consultation Series" and garner some positive momentum. Together, let us say no to "mutual destruction" and find a way forward for Hong Kong. We welcome all to express their views and advice regarding our consultative policy documents before June 16th (Tuesday). One may do so by submitting letters to any DAB local branch office; emailing us at email@example.com or leaving comments on our " Rebuild Our Home. Say NO to Mutual Destruction: The DAB's Policy Consultation Series" website(https://www.eventdab.org.hk/policyconsultation) .
Enquiry: Starry LEE, DAB Chairperson (7770 0820)