HKU mag in bold call for SAR independenceTop News | Kenneth Lau 16 Mar 2016
The University of Hong Kong's student publication has fueled the fires stirred up by localism by suggesting that the SAR should opt for independence when the 50 years during which Beijing pledged to take a hands-off approach ends in 2047.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying immediately hit back at the two articles appearing in the Undergrad that advocated independence, saying it was common sense that since Hong Kong has been a part of China since ancient times, it will continue to be so after 2047.
Undergrad on Sunday published a "Declaration by Hong Kong Youths of Today" with 11 articles covering various aspects of the city's future, including politics, education, transport and language.
The article "Our 2047" criticized China for breaching its pledge to give Hong Kong full democracy and said it was time for Hongkongers to "rethink our future before 2047 when the stipulation that things would remain unchanged for 50 years," as promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, ends.
"Hong Kong's fate will fall into uncertainty, whether it will become an independent country, remain unchanged, or turn into a China city, as we have limited discussions among the public now," the article said.
"We have the following demands. 1. Turn Hong Kong into an independent country, with its own sovereignty and authorization from the United Nations. 2. Build up a democratic government. 3. Establish our own constitution by members of the public."
Another article, "Self-consciousness as a nation and mass movement," suggested Hong Kong is a unique nation and has the political right to decide its own fate.
In his policy address last year Leung called on the public to be alert to the students' approach of "finding their own way for Hong Kong."
HKU council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung criticized Undergrad for raising what he called a "dead- end" road for Hong Kong.
"Where will our water come from? And how about our food? How can we be independent? It's ridiculous and I don't want to waste my time arguing about it," Li said.
Former Undergrad editor-in-chief Marcus Lau Yee-ching, questioned Leung's argument it was common sense for Hong Kong to be a part of China.
"The People's Republic of China was only established in 1949, but Hong Kong has been developing since 1842," Lau said.
Meanwhile, the Civic Party updated its manifesto on its 10th-year anniversary in a move that stresses "localism," "autonomy" and "multiple values."
The party said the new manifesto was established in the interests of Hong Kong and would fight for the city's culture and core values in the long term.
It also removed from the old manifesto the sentence "maintaining effective dialogue with our sovereign."
The new one criticizes Beijing for putting too much emphasis on "one country" and not enough on "two systems."