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Legislator Eddie Chu

Dear Hongkongers,

The Covid-19 global pandemic is still in its full force.

A large proportion of mankind are forced to adapt a new lifestyle of social distancing in order to stay away from infection. This global traumatic experience triggers many to stop and ask questions about the future of mankind. Is this only the beginning of a series of existential crisis, when nobody is able to stop global heating? How can we survive a regional food shortage when a shortage of surgical mask and toilet paper is enough to create widespread panic? Is there a new way out in economic and social development when we fully understand that the status quo is unsustainable?

In the time of pandemic, something unthinkable in the past suddenly make sense to many. For example, the conservative government of the United Kingdom decides to pay directly from its pocket salary of employees of private companies and offer self-employed 80% of earnings. This is regarded by some as a radical experiment of the idea of Universal Basic Income. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, liberal intellectuals and climate advocates urge the US government to use the 2 trillion US dollars stimulus package to invest heavily on renewable energy and create jobs that are really helpful to tackle the climate crisis. At the same time, Israeli historian Harari warns against the expansion of the surveillance regime for biometric data in the name of protecting people's health.

These debates are important to everyone in the world, including us, but unfortunately only people who live in free and democratic countries have the channel to take part in them. For people in autocratic states like China, there is only one official version of what has happened. People are told that China's concentration of political power enables it to conquer the virus using draconian measures. It proves the superiority of the Chinese model to western democracies. The party is acting on behalf of the people to control information and punish whistleblowers; and the people of Wu Han should be thankful to President Xi for his intelligent leadership, despite all the undeserved deaths.

A hollow sense of national pride is what will be remembered by the Chinese people of the pandemic. Let the party do the thinking, since everyone knows to think too much in China is dangerous.

Hong Kong's situation in the pandemic is very different and weird, somewhere in the middle between the west and mainland China. To put it in one sentence: We know everything but can do nothing about it at the moment.

We know the Communist party is lying to the world; we know the SAR government is helping the bosses but not the people; we know Carrie Lam knows she has zero credibility to the people, no matter the number of confirmed cases increases or decreases; we know Carrie Lam prioritizes the expansion of the police force to the need of the medical sector, allowing them to employ more than 3700 new policemen in the coming fiscal year.

We know the truth. But unlike people living in democratic states, we are unable to make changes.

People in Hong Kong have lost patience in asking the government to listen to them, or even debating a particular social policy, however fascinating it is. Because after last year's anti-extradition movement, we have waken up from the hallucinations of sustaining an "undemocratic free society" like we had during the British colonial era. We realize that only a political system of democracy can guarantee personal freedom and the rule of law, and can allow us to have real decisions on economic and social developments according to the wish of the majority. If we cannot take back political power from the communist party, all discussions of social issues, reform proposals or advocacy are in vain.

We want to contribute as a world city in important global issues, but the prerequisite is to have a government own by the people.

Therefore, when I say "we can do nothing about it at the moment," what I really mean is that Hongkongers at the moment are merely holding up our anger. We choose not to pour to the street at the moment not because we are not angry or frustrated, but we choose to concentrate all the efforts in winning the coming Legislative Council election. After the landslide victory in the district council election last November, it is the most important fight amongst all political fights, through which we can have the opportunity to give a real blow to Beijing.

How to win an election that is designed to guarantee a perpetual majority of Beijing's proxies? That is only question one ahead of us. Beijing knows very well that the democratic camp wants to force for a political showdown through another election victory. It has signaled that it is not going to tolerate a Legislative Council controlled by the opposition, which would definitely paralyze the administration of the SAR.

So, When the world struggles to find a way out from the pandemic, we are in a status of double confusion, not knowing what will happen even if we win the election.

The only thing for sure is, there is no alternative for us. And we will carry on this fight for democracy.



Eddie Chu

Letter To Hong Kong

Leaders from Hong Kong's political parties and government departments take their turn to have their say.

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