Opposition members of the Legislative Council put up another show of hostility toward the special administrative region government on Thursday when Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor entered the LegCo chamber to answer questions about her first Policy Address, which she had presented the day before. One can call it immature or shallow, but by refusing to extend the common courtesy of standing up to greet the CE those opposition politicians just gave the public another reason not to trust them.
In addition to plain rudeness, the opposition lawmakers also reprised such old tricks as displaying signs and pointless heckling, only to be frowned upon and even kicked out by the LegCo president. While their penchant for theatrics came as no surprise, many people do feel alarmed by what all that resentment may entail: Hong Kong society needs to brace itself for more political spats meant to tear the social fabric further apart in the months and even years to come. Some politicians can do anything when they are desperate.
As the first woman CE, Lam faces extra expectations from across the social spectrum and is well aware of the challenges ahead. Many people may remember she headed the Task Force on Constitutional Development that oversaw preparation for the draft bill designed to achieve universal suffrage in the 2017 CE election and hopefully in the 2020 LegCo elections as well. We all know who killed that dream of ours. Now the same opposition lawmakers who vetoed the constitutional reform bill are demanding the SAR government launch the whole process over again, knowing very well it would only end the same way as last time.
People may have noticed the consistency the new CE has established in her governing philosophy and policy thinking since she published her election campaign platform back in the day. That is why she won the CE election in the first place. It is also why so many people have confidence in her ability to unite the community and lead concerted efforts to turn a new page for Hong Kong. But obviously not everyone shares such positive feelings and the opposition camp has been equally consistent in their obsession with opposing for the sake of it.
For example, some opposition politicians have been doggedly talking ill about the co-location arrangement at the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link terminus in West Kowloon, where a confined area will be leased to the mainland immigration and customs authorities to clear mainland-bound passengers for boarding so they won’t need to go through the same process again upon reaching their destinations on the mainland. Numerous public opinion polls in recent months have found overwhelming support for the co-location arrangement despite wild insinuations by opposition politicians about cross-boundary law-enforcement scenarios, but they just seem incapable of respecting popular wishes even if their political careers depend on it.