Motion on “Mending the Social Rift and Fostering Social Cohesion” (2021.09.08)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): Deputy President, first of all, I would like to thank Dr Priscilla LEUNG for proposing today’s motion, so that we can face up to and reflect on this issue. Since the enactment of the National Security Law and the improvement of the electoral system, Hong Kong has gradually restored its peace on the surface. As stated in the motion, the disturbances have plunged Hong Kong into a serious political rift, and I believe many people may still have resentment and even hatred towards the Government. Although society is apparently calm and peaceful now, its internal rifts have not yet been mended. The community must resolve conflicts and mend the range of rifts so that members of the public can truly live and work in peace and contentment.

There are many causes of the disturbances in 2019. A number of relevant cases are now under trial by the court, and more details may be revealed later. However, I believe the vast majority of those involved in the disturbances were incited instead of stirring up trouble deliberately. In fact, Hong Kong has long been affected by deep-seated conflicts; young people cannot share the fruits of prosperity as they can neither afford to buy a home nor have upward mobility opportunities. Over time, the grievances of many young people, when being persistently provoked by some people with bad intentions, had turned into a range of radical acts.

As such, among those who participated in the disturbances, I believe only a very small number of them are truly from “the uncompromising faction”. These people may not be willing to accept the explanation from the community. But on the other hand, as the vast majority of rioters or supporters were only incited, they are indeed not uncompromising. As most of them will continue to live in Hong Kong, it is necessary for our society to resolve their grievances, regain their trust in society gradually, and untie their emotional knots, so that the peace of society can truly be restored.

Having said that, it is definitely not easy to truly mend the rifts, because the resentment has been accumulated over the years, and such a big conflict may have given rise to hatred in society, be it large or small. To untie all these emotional knots is not something that can be done in a short period of time, but no matter how much money and time it takes, we have to do it, otherwise the social rifts will never be mended, and it will be difficult to unite the community to move forward. Worse still, it may even sow the seeds of unrest in the future.

First of all, I think society should show sincerity, understand the thoughts and needs of young people, and provide them with more assistance and care. I recently suggested that the Government and public institutions should promote capable young people on an exceptional basis, and introduce measures to encourage the private sector to follow suit. On the one hand, this is to cope with the brain drain caused by the wave of emigration, and on the other hand, to provide young people with upward mobility opportunities, so that they can feel the care our society shows them. It is hoped that by putting more efforts in youth work, we can resolve some of their grievances and thus mend the social rifts gradually. I believe what we must do now is to do a good job in youth work and I hope that the Government will earnestly look into it.

However, in order to fully mend the rifts and unite all the people of Hong Kong, it is ultimately necessary for the Government to make achievements and truly solve the deep-seated problems of our society. Also, the Government must prove with facts that it does have the sincerity and determination to maintain the prosperity and stability of our society, so as to enable members of the public to share the fruits of prosperity.

In fact, since the Legislative Council has returned to normal, there has been no more filibuster in the Government’s legislative process and funding applications, and the Government does not have to fear being held back in its governance. And with the strong support of the Central Authorities, Hong Kong should be able to promote more reforms boldly. As long as the reforms are beneficial to people’s livelihood, I believe the Legislative Council and the general public will give their support. Therefore, the Government is now in a good position to make some achievements. We also need to encourage our officials to abandon the conservative mindset of the past as they should be more aggressive and proactive to make achievements for Hong Kong. Thank you, Deputy President.

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