Tung Chee-hwa (center) and Leung Chun-ying (right), both vice-chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and co-conveners of Hong Kong Coalition, take a group photo with guests during the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Coalition at Central in Hong Kong on Tuesday. PARKER ZHENG/CHINA DAILY
With the intent of healing their troubled city, over 1,500 representatives from all over Hong Kong launched Hong Kong Coalition, a nongovernmental organization, to help guide the city through its difficulties.
At its inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, the alliance promised to fully support Hong Kong’s government and help maintain the “one country, two systems” principle.
Among the 1,545 members are the group’s co-conveners Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, both former Hong Kong chief executives who are now serving as vice-chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Other members include property magnate Li Ka-shing and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Charles Li Xiaojia. Heads of universities have also joined the coalition, along with legal scholars, former SAR government officials, youth leaders and grassroots residents.
Tung, 82, said Hong Kong has come to a crossroads and is in desperate need of a new direction to get started again.
He pointed out that the coronavirus outbreak, the unceasing political predicament and the resulting blows to the economy have dealt Hong Kong a triple punch.
He added that rioters and foreign forces are determined to capitalize on the city’s predicament, intent on tearing the city apart by creating divisions and fomenting violence.
The former SAR leader cited filibusters by opposition lawmakers that have paralyzed passages of bills through the city’s legislature.
He cited violent protesters rampaging through city streets and attacks targeting members of the police force, who are sworn to uphold the law.
Unity is first on the city’s agenda as the means to recover from the multiple crises, Tung concluded. He called for concerted efforts to shun violence and lift the city out of its malaise.
Leung, the other coalition convener, said that the only means by which Hong Kong can regain its prosperity is by making the most of “one country, two systems”.
He told reporters that every one of the alliance members will contribute their resources and networks to revive Hong Kong’s economy, quality of life and livelihoods of those thrown out of work during difficult times.
Among the coalition’s priorities is to bring hope to the city’s youth, offering internships or permanent positions.
Most important at the moment is the need to apply every resource to assist the government in the fight against COVID-19, Leung said.
Ten million free face masks will be distributed to adults and children this coming weekend.
The coalition drew widespread applause.
Former taxi driver Wong Yat-fung said the organization’s objectives spoke to the common wish of the people of Hong Kong, to live in peace and stability.
Noting many grassroots residents had suffered from last year’s social unrest, followed by the pandemic, Wong said he hopes the coalition will help the city’s poor to find a better life.
Tam Ming-kei, a former legal adviser at a local property company, said it is good news that the city will have an alliance to assist after months of seeing the rule of law placed under threat.
Tam lost his job last year after his personal information was exposed. The company that fired him had been harassed by radical activists after he spoke out against the violence and took part in assemblies supporting the police.
He said he hopes the coalition’s initiators who have backgrounds in law will help awaken the spirit of the Hong Kong people in a way that is respectful of the rule of law and safeguard Hong Kong’s core values of stability and prosperity.