HK Government should listen to youth for one country, two systems policy to work

Emily Lau

“Hong Kong is special, but the people are very anxious. Many want to leave, particularly the young,” observes Hong Kong press freedom champion Emily Lau. She notes the youth’s anti-Beijing sentiment, and urges the government to listen to the new generation if it wants the “one country, two systems” policy to work.

Lau, who was the first woman directly elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong in the 1991, shares in an interview that students both in the universities and in high school feel alienated. “They feel completely marginalized. Beijing is not something they want to look up to,” comments Lau.

China’s “one country, two systems” model has become more controversial in recent years, with China seen to be taking a harder grip on Hong Kong. Lau opines that it will help “if the giant can exercise restraint, and allow people to transact freely.” “It’s good for China’s reputation. There is certain conduct of behavior that is expected of someone who want to be a respectable member of the international community,” points out Lau.

She looks at the situation in Singapore, and compares it to Hong Kong’s free lifestyle. She cites Singapore’s social contract where freedom has become the tradeoff for economic opportunities. “You give up your freedoms. I give you a good life. They don’t have freedom of expression. No freedom of assembly. Hong Kong people would not want that model. We are not going to give up our freedom,” says Lau.