Sincere dialogue to resolve differences
29 September 2019
Over the past three months or so, Hong Kong has gone through some very difficult times, and the social unrest is worrying. While striving to stop violence and curb disorder, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is determined to provide opportunities for expression in order to resolve differences and find a way out of the present predicament through dialogue.
The Chief Executive (CE) attended the first Community Dialogue session last Thursday (26 September). The meeting went generally well, signifying a good start. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The fact that people with different political views could express themselves freely in a rational and orderly manner was a demonstration of the values of openness, inclusiveness and mutual respect held by Hong Kong people. The dialogue session was by no means a political stunt. The CE and the three Secretaries, together with all Directors of Bureaux, will continue to reach out to the community to have candid dialogues with people from all walks of life with different backgrounds and stances. We will be sincere, pragmatic and modest in listening to what our people have to say. We will value every opinion and will not heed advice selectively.
While focusing on dealing with the current situation, the Government is also busy preparing the upcoming Policy Address with a view to moving Hong Kong ahead steadily. Unlike the previous ones, the Policy Address to be delivered next month will not be stuck in the same old rut. Instead, it will concentrate on improving people’s livelihood and seek to tackle the deep-rooted social problems and conflicts with new thinking and political courage.
"Connecting with Young People" is one of the important principles held by the Government in policy formulation. We accord utmost importance to the development of young people. In response to the recent social incidents, the Youth Development Commission (YDC) is exploring ways to improve and optimise its mode of operation and functions, so as to strengthen its role of facilitating the development of young people and reflecting their views. A special meeting was held last week to review the work of the YDC and members have initially come up with three directions for optimisation, i.e. building a more effective platform for policy discussion; communicating with young people in a more open, direct and interactive manner; and strengthening interaction with various district-based youth platforms and networks to better gauge opinions from the grassroots.
Last week, I also met up with appointees under the Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth and past participants of youth development activities in order to solicit their views on the Policy Address, the current situation and the future of Hong Kong. Over the past two weeks, the YDC held special meetings themed on youth housing, education, and youth employment/entrepreneurship, which I and the relevant Directors of Bureaux attended in person to listen to the views expressed.
A nation will prosper when its young people thrive. The day after tomorrow (1 October) marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which is a very special and momentous occasion. During the course of reform and opening up of our country, Hong Kong has leveraged its strengths to serve national needs and benefitted from the rapid development on the Mainland, manifesting the joint development and shared prosperity between us and our country. The continuous prosperity and stability of Hong Kong as well as our social unity and harmony will very much depend on whether we can integrate into the overall national development.
To mark the National Day of the new China, the Government and the community will host a series of celebrations which will not only highlight the past achievements and future directions of our nation, but also showcase the strengths, competitive edges and characteristics of Hong Kong under "One Country, Two Systems".
Major celebration activities, including a flag-raising ceremony, a reception in celebration of the National Day and a reprogrammed show of "A Symphony of Lights", will be held solemnly and worth dignity one after another. I hope that through these activities our people including youngsters will better understand the development of our country and cherish our common cultural heritage.