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Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 00:54

Separatism will harm everyone: Rita Fan

By Li Xiange

The notion of “Hong Kong independence” will harm the interests of every person in the city who wants future prosperity and social stability, National People’s Congress Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai warned on Tuesday.

Not only will separatism advocates have to face the consequences of this, but so will 7 million people in Hong Kong, Fan warned.

Speaking at the Hong Kong Book Fair, she expressed her concerns as two “pro-independence” advocates filed a legal challenge to a new requirement by the city’s election watchdog. This requirement asks candidates to pledge support for three specific articles of the Basic Law that state Hong Kong is an inalienable part ofChina.

When signing a nomination form, candidates have already pledged to uphold the Basic Law, in which “One Country, Two Systems” is one of the fundamental principles, she noted. If a candidate, after signing the deceleration, advocates “Hong Kong independence”, his or her deeds will contradict their own words.That would be a betrayal of the integrity expected of an elected lawmaker, she said.

She warned of potential damage to society if advocacy for “Hong Kong independence” is left uncurbed.

The localists have succeeded in stirring up hostility against mainland tourists, who are coming in dwindling numbers. This has resulted in a recession across various industries in the city, Fan noted.

She added that the outlook for Hong Kong’s future will only grow more perilous if those harboring separatist agenda continue to promote these ideas and even seek public office in the city’s legislature.

Meanwhile, Fan said “independence” ideas may influence some young people who are disaffected about social issues such as unaffordable housing prices. She urged people to resume rational discussions to express their frustration and concerns.

She said the Hong Kong government should think more deeply about how to ease social divisions in the SAR.

Fan also discussed the result of a recent survey conductedby the Chinese University of Hong Kong in which 17 percent of the respondents supported “Hong Kong independence”. She said she believed they were misled. People who know better should state clearly the potential harm of separatism, Fan added.

nick@chinadailyhk.com

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