Statement of the Generation: Our 2047
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by The Undergrad session 2015, HKUSU
In his election platform, Edward Leung (from Hong Kong Indigenous) proposed to commence the 2nd round of negotiations and use of referenda to determine Hong Kong’s post-2047 future. On the other hand, in a New York Times interview, Joshua Wong said he will form a new party and join the LegCo election in September 2016. He will use the next 10 years to foster support for a referendum on Hong Kong’s future and self-determination.
The responsibility for bringing the issues of the second negotiation for Hong Kong’s future to the attention of all Hongkongers will belong to this generation.
In retrospect, we were not born during the 1st negotiation for Hong Kong’s future, so we can only look at the silhouette of history to identify the roots of Hong Kong’s plight. In 1971, PRC replaced ROC to represent China, and in 1972, Hong Kong was removed from the UN's list of colonial territories. Since then Hongkongers, as colonial subjects, have lost the right to exercise self-determination granted by the UN.
In his memoir, Chung Sze-yuen, the LegCo and ExCo member, wrote that in 1984, Lydia Dunn, Lee Quo-wei and him met Deng Xiaoping. Deng immediately said the negotiation for the future of Hong Kong will only be settled by China and the UK. As for the so-called “three-legged stool”, it did not have three legs only two. Since then, Hongkongers were deprived the right to determine their own fate.
In 1984, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret Thatcher signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which instituted the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China after 30 June 1997. Hong Kong commenced 14 years of waiting.
We once chose to believe China yet she has never kept good faith. Meeting Point, which later became Democratic Party, promoted Democratic Reunification widely. Meeting Point put the wager on China, anticipating she would reform, and Hong Kong would then have democracy. The Tiananmen Massacre did not falter the patriotic hearts of Meeting Point, nor the hope for Democratic Reunification.
History did not follow their wishes. The current PRC regime is much more centralised and conservative than that of the 1980s. Hongkongers have waited since 2007/08 to 2012 to 2017 for everyone to wake up from the dream of democracy. Meeting Point became the pan-democrats now, occupying the council with slow reforms.
For example, Emily Lau remains a Legislative Councillor since 1991. The pan-democrats control the resources and voice of the opposition and want to lead the next negotiations for the future, so as to ensure their parties political survival and perpetuate influence. Yet this will severely retard our progress. The pan-democrats do not understand the current China, and still harbour liberal fantasies for the eventual democratisation of authoritarian China. The belief in China’s inevitable march towards democracy is their blind spot. This is the cause of their failure to respond to the surge in localist thought and suffer a dearth of imagination about the resistance through social movements. They uphold the banner of absolute pacifism. When someone tries to break the box with physical resistance, they condemn these protesters and sever ties with them, leaving us, the “eggs” (the eggs/wall simile by Haruki Murakami), out there. Before the election, they will ask us to consider the bigger picture. We cannot repress the sense of helplessness at the shortsightedness of these people who have led the democratic movement for the past thirty years. They have eyes only for ballots but have no mind for the fresh thinking for Hong Kong’s future. The pan-democrats do not belong to this era which has no hope for democratic reunification.
In 2014, we no longer needed to read literature or watch documentaries because we WERE there. We occupied the road. We were beaten by batons so hard that we bled and sore. The Umbrella Revolution is the greatest roar from this generation. We were naive, because we thought our tear and sweat might bear some fruits in Admiralty or Mong Kok, but this turned out to be futile. The failure of the umbrella revolution lies not only in the revolution itself, but also the Democratic Reunification theory We know that the era of democratic movements has passed, for it will be a tumultuous time of anti-authoritarianism. In early 2016, a policeman violated the Police General Order and shot towards the sky. The protesters hurled bricks as a way to resist. It might be a shock to witness, but it might be the prelude of a new model for resistance.
All this is for we refuse to be slaves.
The promise of 50-years of no change to Hong Kong’s way of life as enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration will expire in 2047. The future of Hong Kong again becomes unknown yet society barely talks about it - whether it be independence, maintain the status quo or become just another city in China. 2047 seems to belong to the distant future but people were already discussing 1997 in the late 1970s. Looking at the pace of “mainlandisation”, we need to prepare for the preparation of the 2nd negotiation for Hong Kong’s future. We have the following demands:
- Hong Kong becomes an independent sovereign state recognised by the UN;
- Establishment of a democratic government;
- Design of the Constitution of Hong Kong by the entire community.
The HKSARG has become the puppet of the Communist Party. The governance of HKSARG sides with the CCP, undercuts the autonomy, and can be seen in cases like Northeast New Territories development, overspending limitlessly on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), flattering CCP by developing Qianhai, or turning Hong Kong’s Policy Address into China’s Belt-and-Road Report. Even Hong Kong might not be strong enough in terms of “hardwares”, or China’s economy will still be strong, but our focus is not on CAN Hong Kong be independent, but rather, SHOULD Hong Kong be independent. We want to protect Cantonese, traditional characters, colonial period post boxes, the solemn institution of an independent judiciary, the unique culture and society in Hong Kong, and a democratic government for which the interests of Hong Kong is the first and foremost priority. These aspirations are not borne out of hatred, but comes from every heart and mind desirous of freedom. The struggle for independence will certainly not happen in the span of a day; we are only its beginning. There are plenty of “Greater China” supporters who insist “it is hard for Hong Kong to have democracy if China does not have it”. But is democratising China easier than an independent Hong Kong? Absolutely not.
Though the Basic Law is the cornerstone of the “one country, two systems”, it never enjoyed the popular mandate of the Hongkonger people. Furthermore, the power of its interpretation lies in the hands of the Chinese Communists meaning that the Communists were free to make such interpretations based on their political whims. Even if we wished to amend the Basic Law we must first obtain the consent of two-thirds of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and the Hong Kong NPC Delegates, then submit a bill to the Politburo and the final say lies in the National People's Congress.
Even though constitutionally speaking it is not impossible for such thresholds to be crossed, unless the proposed amendments have the approval of the Communist Party, there is no hope of them going through. As the recent illegitimate, cross-border abduction of Lee Po demonstrates, when the Basic Law is breached, we Hongkongers have no means of enforcing the Law. The so-called One Country, Two Systems supposedly protected by the Basic Law is in reality very fragile. Before the aggressive red tide, our supposed defences are practically non-existent. Where something can be shattered, something can be established. The next step after invalidating the Basic Law is to draft a constitutional of Hong Kong. Due to the present political constraints, popular demand for a popularly enacted constitution cannot be enacted. However, it will be the result of the participation of the entire population of Hong Kong, enjoying concrete support as it represents our hopes and determination for independence, firmly establishing the foundation for Hong Kong’s future constitutional framework.
We know that the path to independence is a distant one and will not be a result of just one generation’s effort. We must establish footholds in every arena of society: the streets, the Legco, the commercial sector, the unions, the media, the cultural sector; not one can be missed. Everything from the LegCo seats to local literature is the capital for achieving independence. Last year in September, Catalonia was able to obtain in parliament commencement of secession procedures after three hundred years of struggle. Within 18 months they realised independence. We as spectators are green with envy but must bear in mind the sacrifices of the Catalonians. From the late 1930s to mid-1970s, Catalonia endured severe repression under the dictator Franco. Local culture was forbidden, spread only through the underground which only added to the darkness that overhangs Catalonia. Yet, this only added to the swiftness of the independence efforts afterwards through the strong promotion of the Catalan language and establishing the ethnic pride of the Catalonian people. Hong Kong’s Cantonese culture swept across Asia in the 1980s proving that Hong Kong may be small but has the ability for a febrile cultural infrastructure. Such capital not only is a resource to console the spirit but also mandatory material to enlighten indifferent souls.
The land resources of Hong Kong will once again encounter issues of ownership and a post-2047 credit crisis thus justifying the urgent need to commence the second round of negotiations. Before these negotiations begin, we must acquire popular support. Communist attempts to win over the youth have failed. Independent thinking once lost remains lost. Localism has grown steadily under the irrational oppression of the Chinese Communist Party. Coupled with the fact that our connection to China is far from that of our parents, we quote from Taiwan academic (who is of Hong Kong origin) John Lim Chuan-tiong: “the next generation of Hongkongers will be the natural independents, bearing by birth rich identification with the Hongkonger identity. This generation will oppose local communists’ collusion with the Chinese Communists and support Hong Kong’s right to independence. Unlike us, they will not have to fumble to find their identification nor will they be confused by the same conflict we felt about dual identities. They will inject energy into the independence movement and become our staunch ally.”
Cringing is never an option for us.
|If your civilization wants us to cringe, I'll show you the pride of savages till the end.|
(Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale trailer)
Statement of the Generation