Leung Chun-ying waves as he celebrates winning Hong Kong SAR's chief executive election Sunday. Photo: IC
Leung Chun-ying was announced yesterday as winner of the election of Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The attitude of the central government and local public opinion are converging. Five years from now, Hong Kong will choose its top leader through direct elections. The 1,200-member Election Committee has made a smooth transition toward that goal.
It has been 15 years since Hong Kong returned to China, but it and the mainland have not fully integrated. Hong Kong residents still hold suspicion toward the mainland, especially about its increasing influence and the extent to which local politics are subject to Beijing's influence.
Both sides need to look at each other rationally. The Basic Law has framed mainland-Hong Kong relations. But the human touch is much more subtle and profound than stipulations of the law. Hong Kong and the mainland may still have disagreements, but they should have tolerance for these conflicts.
For instance, the mainland should not make a fuss about all kinds of radical opinions in Hong Kong. Under One Country, Two Systems, Hong Kong is bound to be different from the mainland. As long as the Basic Law is respected, it is unlikely Hong Kong will create a big issue for the country.
On the other hand, Hong Kong should make more efforts to view the mainland with a normal attitude. It is natural that Hong Kong should hope to extend its special culture, but being over-sensitive toward the mainland is not necessary. Hong Kong cannot be exempted from the mainland's influence. Such influence should not be viewed purely from a political perspective. The island has benefited from the mainland's fast development, which is increasingly influencing the whole of East Asia.
The mainland's size and global status have to be considered while Hong Kong residents assess the influence of the mainland. Hong Kong's democracy has been progressing in these 15 years. The central government has ensured this process has happened on the basis of Hong Kong's stability.
People of the mainland also cherish the uniqueness of Hong Kong. They share the same feeling as Hong Kong people about keeping the diversity of the Oriental Pearl. If mainland tourists go to Hong Kong only to find that it is no different from inland cities, they would be very disappointed.
We hope Leung Chun-ying has a smooth term. We also hope the mainland and Hong Kong can deepen their understanding toward each other in the next five years.
We are both Chinese, and can surely tolerate each other's differences.