Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 009
2015 September

Reflection on the first year anniversary of Umbrella Movement

In the post constitutional reform stage, the HK SAR government advocates more concern about economic and people’s livelihood, and putting aside the constitutional reform for the time being; recently the Chief Executive stressed that we need to abandon the outdated positive non-intervention policy and replaced with a more active role in developing Hong Kong's economy and improving people's livelihoods.

The responsibility and role of the government in a free economy is not the focus of this article. From the point of view of social policy, the position of the government has always be the same there is no difference between and after 1997. The miserable living conditions of grassroots and the deprived are related to people's livelihood. This is common sense and empirical rule that their needs cannot be satisfied by a profit-oriented market. Take the recent case of a private elderly home which treated the privacy of elders and their dignity with indifferent manner, thus revealed that the market lost its efficacy and the government has neglected its duty. Obviously the government has to bear the responsibility instead of blaming the private market. The government needs a long term and comprehensive planning. We welcome such policies of the government and look forward to its results.

Is it people’s livelihood and economic development can be achieved without a breakthrough of the political predicament? Scholars and commentators pointed out that people’s livelihood has to be handled with care otherwise it might lead to political explosion such as the lead contamination and revitalisation of Tsimshatsui Harbourfront. Are those with vested interest being monitored? Are decisions making process transparent and being executed justly? These are not simply about people's livelihood or economic developments. Politics and people's livelihood are intertwined and cannot be separated. You cannot just deal with one but ignore the other.

The core concern of the umbrella movement a year ago was about uneven distribution of power and injustice, it should not be considered superficially as disruption of social order or challenge to the rule of law. (Of course to maintain independent judiciary and enforcing the law fairly are something to uphold to). In other words, reviving the economy and people's livelihood yet avoiding political reform cannot stop the government's nightmare.

I think that it is not only the responsibility of the government but also the whole community has to reflect on this. Willing or not, you have to face the reality that the experience of last year will continue as it is, every sector of the community has to reconsider the means and course to pursue democratic development and advocating justice. What can facilitate a fruitful discussion and narrow down the differences to come up with a consensus? Enthusiasm motivates the mission, however in a multi-cultural society one should not only care for one’s own interests and neglect the others.

On this first year anniversary of the Umbrella Movement, I wish that we remain unchanged to continue to pursue justice and democracy. With love and shared responsibility, we can work this out together.

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