HK: Calls for reason amid strife concerns
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government Sunday called for a peaceful dialogue in Hong Kong over the central government's interpretation of the Basic Law as local political figures voiced concern over possible social strife.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) is currently holding meetings in Beijing to discuss interpretation of provisions of the Basic Law that concern constitutional development in the SAR.
Stephen Lam, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, pointed out Sunday that the interpretation exercise will actually resolve a very practical and significant problem for Hong Kong.
"We will closely monitor the response of the community," he said. He noted that Hong Kong society has always discussed issues concerning political reform in a rational and peaceful manner; and urged Hong Kong people to continue to communicate with the government peacefully.
Meanwhile, subsequent to last week's clash between police and protesters outside the Central Government Offices, there have been concerns about social strife after the announcement of the Basic Law interpretation Tuesday.
Paul Yip, chairman of the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute, warned Sunday on a radio programme that more violence may be in store.
"If the situation goes on like this, I cannot rule out the possibility that certain uncontrollable events may happen at certain times; or that to some people, because of their political needs and low opportunity cost, certain disorderly conduct may serve their interests."
He worried that the tension in society will continue to escalate.
"Where will it end?" exclaimed the former special adviser to the chief executive.
James Tien, chairman of the Liberal Party, condemned certain politicians for inciting the public to garner votes for the Legislative Council election in September.
"It is wrong and illusive to think that by mobilizing the masses onto the streets, the general will is manifested and that the moderate parties, the SAR or even the central government will concede to the pressure," he opined on another radio programme.
"Maybe what some politicians really want is to use mass demonstrations as a tactical move to win more votes in the coming September elections, but this is equally wrong," he observed.
He pointed out that "politics breeds emotions" and called on Hong Kong people to remain cool-headed.
He stressed the importance of patience and thorough consultation, and the need to focus on institution building rather than on a target date or a specific result.
In another development, a number of "pro-democracy" political parties staged a motorcade parade yesterday afternoon to call on members of the public to join in their opposition to the interpretation exercise.
The procession set out in Central and ended up in Kwun Tong. They vowed to organize more protests after the announcement of the interpretation.