Leung deserves credit for tackling 'Occupy Central'

Updated: 2015-03-16 07:30

By Choy Tak-ho(HK Edition)

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In the past year the HKSAR Government, led by Chief Executive (CE) Leung Chun-ying, has acted decisively by resolving the chaos of the illegal "Occupy Central" movement. The SAR government has also boosted the economy and improved livelihoods. The recent performance of Leung and his team in promoting the economy and democratic development are so significant that it has been well recognized by Hong Kong citizens as well as the central government. Leung deserves credit as he progressively delivers his promises. President Xi Jinping even cited a line from an ancient poem - "strong winds reveal the strength of sturdy grass" - in praising Leung.

In the year of goat, it is hoped that all sectors of Hong Kong, under the leadership of Leung and the central government, can join hands and allow universal suffrage to be realized in 2017 in accordance with the Basic Law and the decisions of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. At the same time, it is important to be vigilant about the dangerous advocacy of "Hong Kong independence". Such ill-intentioned ideas must be countered to avoid further harm to society. It is also hoped that 7 million Hong Kong residents can seize the historic opportunity and support the CE so the SAR can move to a new stage in its constitutional development.

In fact, Hong Kong's current challenges with regards to democracy, the economy and livelihoods are serious. They cannot be underestimated. To achieve a breakthrough requires a leader determined to break new ground. Leung Chun-ying has been leading the SAR with determination since taking office. His administration has withstood some crucial tests. Leung's handling of the 79-day "Occupy" protests showed his qualities of strong leadership and dependability at their best.

He also showed strong leadership in attempting to resolve deep-rooted conflicts in Hong Kong society. To ease the housing shortage, Leung implemented the "Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people project". Furthermore, by imposing the Double Stamp Duty, he managed to control housing demand and depress property market speculation. The re-launch of the Home Ownership Scheme, the pilot scheme to ensure green form applicants achieve home ownership, as well as the Northeast New Territories development project are all measures to boost supply and ease the long-term shortage of housing.

Leung also encouraged the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong share-trading scheme. To the CE's credit, implementation of the agreement between Hong Kong and Guangdong has been accelerated. This will enhance regional economic integration while encouraging future development. In his desire to tackle livelihood issues, particularly to alleviate poverty, Leung introduced some sensible policies, including raising the old age allowance and the establishing a poverty line. These achievements have received praise from all sectors of Hong Kong.

In his meeting with Leung at the end of last year, Xi also commended the CE and the SAR government for promoting democracy while upholding the rule of law. Xi said that under Leung's leadership, the SAR government had worked hard to improve livelihoods and maintain social stability. It is anticipated that Leung and his government will continue to work hard to promote Hong Kong.

At present, the biggest concerns of people in Hong Kong are the proposed constitutional reforms. If approved, these will be a big step toward developing democracy in the SAR. The election by universal suffrage, proposed for 2017, can only be achieved by strictly conforming to the Basic Law and decisions of the country's top legislature. Any illegal maneuvers would only harm social stability and endanger the national interest.

The "Occupy" protests ended in failure because their violent and illegal approach alienated the public. The fact that over 1.83 million citizens signed a petition rejecting "Occupy" clearly shows that the majority of Hong Kong people firmly support the CE ruling in accordance with the law.

It is alarming that some Hong Kong people, who deny the jurisdiction of the central government over the SAR, deliberately advocate provocative ideas like "Hong Kong independence", and try to undermine the "One Country, Two Systems" policy. In his 2015 Policy Address Leung openly denounced advocacy of these ideas. Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, also warned that reckless advocacy of "HK independence" would put Hong Kong society at risk.

Everyone in society should heed these warnings. The city must work to develop consensus and firmly resist the separatist ideas. This will safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and also uphold national sovereignty and security.

The author was a member of the Ninth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultation Conference. He is also a life honorary chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.

(HK Edition 03/16/2015 page10)