Anson Chan’s Preface: HK in Danger, Needs International Escort
英國智庫亨利傑克遜學會（Henry Jackson Society）的亞洲研究中心今日（十月三十一日）發表論文報告：「香港二十年：公民、政治、法律權利的倒退」，前政務司陳方安生為報告寫序，指出中國大陸強調全面管治香港，溝淡中英聯合聲明及基本法訂明的香港自治。香港法治瀕危，事關人大幾番釋法，又跨境擄走銅鑼灣書店老板而監禁三位社運青年(注:信指黃之鋒，羅冠聰，周永康)，今人益覺北京決心滅異見人士的聲(按: 其實香港政治犯已達百人以上)。陳太又話見到十九大有人想學毛澤東獨攬大權，十分擔心。中國外交部宣佈中英聯合聲明為歷史文件，不再有任何實質意義，直教港人惡夢成真。問英國身為聯合聲明簽署國之一，會否捍衛香港自由，平衡與北京經驗關係？陳太總結話香港法治人權自由，包容多元，代表中國最好的一面，港人決心保持優點，但需國際社會同行，面對挑戰。
Anson Chan’s Preface to Henry Jackson Society’s Report on Hong Kong, 20 years after its handover to China:
This report comes at a key time in Hong Kong’s history. Twenty years after the handover in 1997, we have a Hong Kong which is more-or-less recognisable to those of us who sat on the side lines of the Handover Ceremony. The economy is relatively strong, the skyline has continued to rise and rise, and Hong Kong’s culture and people remain dynamic and energetic. And yet… to leave it there would be to leave the picture unfinished. For what we had in 1997 were worries and dreams.
It’s a disappointment to me to find that many more of my 1997 worries and fewer of my 1997 dreams have come to pass. The high degree of Hong Kong’s autonomy as enshrined in the Sino- British Joint Declaration and Basic Law has been watered down by a mainland China intent on asserting its “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and making it increasingly clear that what little autonomy Hong Kong enjoys is at Beijing’s pleasure.
The rule of law, once an integral part of our judiciary, is at risk because of successive interpretations of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC). We have seen at least one Hong Kong book publisher forcibly removed from Hong Kong to the mainland without due process. And the imprisonment of three young activists adds to the growing perception that the Government here is determined to silence political opponents.
On the wider stage, I am deeply concerned not only with China’s own trajectory, but the trajectory of its intentions with regards to Hong Kong. We saw in the 19th People’s Congress, a leader who seems to hold more power than any since Mao Zedong. For many in Hong Kong and on the mainland, the loss of collective leadership, and the return to one-man power is disturbing. The statement by China’s Foreign Ministry that the Joint Declaration is a “historical document that no longer had any practical significance” is one of the worst fears that any of us had, standing there on the podium on that rainy night in July 1997. Will the United Kingdom, as the co-signatory of the Joint Declaration on the future be willing to balance its economic relationship with Beijing with the defence of the freedoms it once imparted to us? Only time will tell.
It has not all been doom and gloom: Hong Kong remains one of the most economically free places in the world; it ranks above Singapore and Switzerland in Heritage’s 2016 ranking table. Similarly, the explosion in political activism has surpassed our 1997 expectations. While the Umbrella movement has yet to translate into actual change, it marks a remarkable standing-up of the younger generation, one in which all Hongkongers can feel proud. The regeneration of our common identity has been an unheralded, unexpected surprise. While the current situation has seen their leadership locked up, one might think of other places where this took place and remember that the history of democracy and human rights has been in worse places before and survived.
Hong Kong represents the best face of China with its respect for the rule of law, basic rights and freedoms and toleration of diverse views. We are determined to maintain our strengths but we need the international community to walk with us in facing the challenges ahead.
Anson Chan, GBM, GCMG, CBE, JP
Former Chief Secretary for Administration, Hong Kong SAR Convenor, Hong Kong 2020
Photo credit: RTHK