Sense of urgency

Sense of urgency

The crisis in Hong Kong has clearly gone beyond the issue of the proposed extradition law. What we have seen over the last few weeks has been a pressure cooker that has been uncovered and has brought out the expression of a multifaceted wave of discontent. It also reflects deeply rooted identity issues, dissatisfaction with the way the One Country Two Systems principle has been implemented, notably in recent years, and great concern about the future. After all, for those who are 20 years old, 2047 is not that far away. It has a real impact on their life. Lack of hope and trust in local and central authorities result in a rather gloomy future prospect. The regrettable clashes between police and protesters resulted in a preventable use of force on both sides, and are also a symptom of the inability of the Carrie Lam Administration (a Chief Executive whose legitimacy shrinks by the day) to regain political initiative and show leadership and competence. There seems to be no quick fix for this crisis, but this cannot make one unaware of the urgency of beginning to walk the path of reconciliation, avoiding the mistakes made after the 2014 Occupy Movement. A surgical correction of policy is not enough.

Beijing and Hong Kong authorities must do some soul searching and overhaul the whole political management of the neighboring Special Administrative Region.

It is not just a communication problem, although it is very likely that the information conveyed by Beijing"s men in Hong Kong was not the most accurate or the one that best reflected the actual social and political situation.

The way forward will necessarily imply bring universal suffrage back on the table - now in a way that is acceptable to a large part of Hong Kong's population and not just the Central leadership in Beijing. And also for a thriving package of social and youth policies capable of turning despair and anger into hope. These two strategies go hand in hand. One without the other is set to result in failure.

Indeed, one hopes that coming annual summer meeting of the Communist Party of China leadership in the Beidaihe resort will look into this with wisdom and good judgment.

But before these more structural measures, it is urgent to take other steps to stabilize the situation and begin to heal open wounds. This will imply establishing an entity - committee, task force - that in an unbiased and independent way assesses the violence that has been increasingly present in police action and by some protesters. However, the key to getting out of this dead end is not engaging in an endless blame game. Based on a principle of accountability one must embrace reconciliation and then take action. It will take time, but we cannot afford to waste more time.