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Thursday, August 18, 2016, 00:12

Henry Tang: ‘Hong Kong independence’ will doom city

By Li Yinze and Luis Liu

HONG KONG - The notion of “Hong Kong independence” is “unnecessary” in every way and will doom the SAR’s overall interests if it prevails, former chief secretary for administration Henry Tang Ying-yen cautioned.

He urged young people to be pragmatic and responsible while remaining passionate and inspired.

Tang, also a standing committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, was speaking at a mini talk show held by the city's biggest political party – the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) on Wednesday.

He described advocacy of “Hong Kong independence” as a “false statement” in every sense. Historically, Hong Kong has been part of China since ancient times. Constitutionally, the city is an inalienable part of China, he added.

Discussing people's livelihoods, he noted the city had a comprehensive connection with the mainland in every aspect - including the economy, logistics and trade.

“Moreover, many Hong Kong people from all sectors are working with Chinese mainland partners in their daily occupations. There is no foreseeable way for the city to separate from the country,” noted the former chief secretary.

Tang stressed that the central government had been supporting Hong Kong in unprecedented ways. These include setting the world's first offshore yuan center and developing stock connects between Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. "The West-East Gas Pipeline also benefits Hong Kong in the long term, at a time when other mainland cities also wanted the supply desperately," Tang said.

Instead of wasting time on political wrangling, people should focus on developing promising industries, such as innovation and technology, but definitely not “Hong Kong independence”, Tang advised.

"It's a good thing for young people to be passionate, however, one should be pragmatically and responsible for what they do," Tang warned.

At a separate occasion, former Legislative Council president and incumbent member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai appealed to the city’s young people to resume rationality.

She urged them not to support “Hong Kong independence” as a way to show dissatisfaction.

She also advised the Chief Executive to encourage more contact between Beijing and people in Hong Kong, and strive to be a "most effective connecter".

As to the discussion of “Hong Kong independence” on campus, LegCo President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said he trusted teachers’ professional judgments.

“As suicide is also one of the hottest topics in the society, I don't think a teacher will advocate suicide in class,” Tsang said, adding that he also had confidence teachers will not advocate separatism.

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