Overcoming HK's social divide

Updated: 2014-07-29 07:25

By Raymond So (China Daily)

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The lack of rational discussions where moderate views can be heard makes it hard for differing groups to find common ground

As we all know the process of political reform in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is well underway. The government has completed its public consultation and subsequently presented its report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Despite the completion of the consultation there remain voices of discontent in the SAR. Naturally in an open society it is normal to observe a variety of opinions. It is therefore to be expected that the consultation report does its best to document, in good faith, the great variety of views held by the public on political reform. Nevertheless, because this is such a sensitive issue some groups would doubtless like to see more definite and specific language used in the report. However, the report has to be as neutral and objective as possible. It would have been unwise to use provocative language. Common sense tells us some measure of dissatisfaction is inevitable.

I am not concerned about the discontent that has been voiced concerning the report. Obviously, it is impossible to please everyone. The real challenge facing Hong Kong is finding ways to address the deep divisions we now see in the SAR. We must strive to overcome these. On one side, there are the staunch supporters of the "Occupy Central" campaign who believe the consultation report will do nothing to resolve Hong Kong's differences over political reform. Opposing them are those who do not want to see "Occupy Central" take place. They fear the many possible consequences that could follow "Occupy Central". They generally believe the government has been too lenient toward the opposition camp. Currently these opposing sides seem to have nothing in common and their differences have grown.

Understandably a great deal of negotiation will be necessary to find some common ground between such differing viewpoints.

The resolution of differences has been the subject of many studies. The general belief is that negotiations are necessary. The key thing is for the various parties to explore ways to achieve the greatest benefit from their discussions.

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