This undated photo shows David Wong Yau-kar, chairman of the Education University of Hong Kong Council and Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Editor’s Notes: Hong Kong will hold its first legislative election under the improved electoral system on Sunday. China Daily talked to an array of representatives from Hong Kong’s various sectors to weigh in on the upcoming election and Hong Kong’s democracy. David Wong Yau-kar, chairman of the Education University of Hong Kong Council and Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, said the revamped electoral system will give Hong Kong a vibrant democratic system.
Q: The head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Xia Baolong, said Hong Kong’s new electoral system, which aims to maximally balance the interests of various sectors and broadly represent their voices, will open a new chapter of democratic development in the city. What is your take on this?
A: I think Xia is spot-on in his remarks. So far, it is apparent that the revamped electoral system has very broad representation of Hong Kong society as a whole, and it ensures that in future, the Legislative Council will be well represented by legislators who are knowledgeable in their respective fields and will serve with the broader public interest in mind. We can look forward to constructive policy debates that will ultimately help bring about better governance for Hong Kong. In that, I think Hong Kong will get the kind of vibrant democratic system that will serve its people well.
Q: What is democracy in your opinion? To what end should democracy be used?
The current Legislative Council election is far healthier than previous elections. Candidates are generally competing on their action agenda and ability
A: The ultimate aims of any political system should be to serve the public interest and address the needs of society. That is the true spirit of democracy. The real test of whether a society is democratic is on the outcome it produces.
A truly democratic system is one that is conducive to stability, order, prosperity, social progress and human advancement.
Q: Xia also said the new electoral system will help the elections return to healthy competition and better serve Hong Kong people’s benefits. What do you think he means by “healthy competition”?
A: “Healthy competition” means having candidates compete on the merits of their ideas, their policy proposals, their ability, and their sincerity to serve the people. Healthy competition is not negative campaigning, i.e., winning by launching personal attacks on competing candidates. Healthy competition also is not winning by trying to stir up fear, discontent, and distrust of the government among the public. Past LegCo elections have relied far too much on unhealthy competition, and we have reasons to believe that the revamped electoral system can bring healthy competition.
Q: How does this Legislative Council election differ from previous legislative elections, in your opinion?
A: The current election is far healthier than previous elections. Candidates are generally competing on their action agenda and ability. The majority of the candidates are more serious about serving the public by bringing about more effective governance that would address the core interests of the public, in areas like housing, livelihood, healthcare and the economy. Gone are the candidates who want to advance their personal political agendas by undermining the government and “one country, two systems”.
Q: Hong Kong has upgraded its electoral system several times since its return to the motherland. What do you think is the importance of the latest improvements made to the electoral system?
A: The latest revamping of the electoral system represents the most important and sweeping change since the founding of the HKSAR. It has redressed the core problem of the electoral system, which in the past has produced a LegCo that was at best ineffective and indeed often hindered the government and obstructed the SAR in solving the many problems of great concern to the public.
Q: How important do you think it is to implement the “patriots administering Hong Kong” principle in Hong Kong’s electoral system?
A: “Patriots administering Hong Kong” is an important principle. It is the most basic requirement of our public officials to uphold “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law, and to help integrate Hong Kong into the development of the nation. Having this requirement on public officials ensures that Hong Kong will enjoy continued stability and harmony and will ultimately benefit our economy and livelihood.
Q: What are your expectations of the new-term Legislative Council?
A: I have very high expectations of the new LegCo. I expect the new LegCo to take policy debates to a high level based on expertise, reason and a sincere wish to serve the public interest. I also expect the new LegCo to effectively monitor government policy and move the government to implement policies that are timely and effective in bringing tangible benefits to the public.