英文

Editorial:Open society needs opposition

【明報專訊】Dozens of people who organised or participated in last year's democratic primaries have been arrested by the police allegedly because they have committed the crime of inciting the subversion of state power under the Hong Kong National Security Law.

The authorities stressed that the enforcement of the law was mainly aimed at those who ''strategically and systematically'' wanted to paralyse the SAR government, and the police would not launch criminal investigations against the voters. However, it cannot be denied that the incident is a very big political shock, and it has dealt a heavy blow to the opposition. A large number of prominent incumbents from the pro-democracy camp and the localist camp have been targeted, and it is uncertain whether they will be able to run in this year's Legislative Council election if it can be held smoothly. It remains to be seen whether the incident will exacerbate the exodus from Hong Kong and whether there will be more sanctions from the West, but it is believed that the authorities had already considered the issue before they took this step.

Arrest does not necessarily lead to imprisonment. However, no matter how the court handles this case in the future, the political environment in Hong Kong is bound to change, and all parties must be realistic and think about the way out. If the opposition does not adjust the radical and combative approach of the previous two years, it will be difficult to have room for further activities in the system. The unprecedented efforts made by the authorities to suppress the violence and the ''scorched-earth'' plan are undoubtedly successful in terms of power politics, but the issue of people's minds and deep-seated political conflicts are still to be resolved. After more than a year and a half of political torment and the impact of the pandemic, people are really exhausted mentally and crave for an early recovery of the economy and their livelihood. However, on the political front, social division and confrontation remain. While violence on the streets is no longer present, it does not mean that the public sentiment has changed drastically from the District Council election the year before last. Even if the opposition's advocacy of a ''political scorched-earth'' plan has violated the national security law and backfired on itself, the authorities still have to figure out how to rebuild the relationship with the nearly two million people who support the opposition.

Hong Kong is standing at such a crossroads in history, and people have polarised views on which direction to head. With each side asserting that the other is on the wrong path, no one can convince another. However, even if history proves that the path chosen now is the proper one, if the process does not take into account the concerns of the party being arrested and fails to mitigate the conflicts and confrontations, the road will certainly be filled with unhappiness, hostility and tensions.

Looking back at the situation in Hong Kong over the past year and a half, everyone has to acknowledge the political reality that ''one country, two systems'' is the arrangement that best serves the interests of Hong Kong. If one ignores ''one country'' and chooses to shake things up, the ''two systems'' will also be impacted. At the same time, as an open society, Hong Kong must also have opposition voices. As long as the opposition accepts the framework of ''one country, two systems'', they should have room to pursue their activities. To untie the political knot in Hong Kong, all parties must be practical and realistic. The greater the power, the greater the responsibility. If all parties uphold the ''one country, two systems'' line of demarcation, there is still room for Hong Kong.

明報社評 2021.01.07:開放社會需要反對派 朝野實事求是求出路

數十名有份組織或參與去年民主派初選的人,被指涉嫌違反《港區國安法》顛覆國家政權罪,遭警方拘捕。

當局強調,今次執法主要針對「有策略及有系統」想癱瘓特區政府的人,警方不會對投票者展開刑事調查,然而無可否認,事件是一次很大的政治震盪,對反對派更是沉重打擊,民主派和本土派大批「現役」要員成為拘捕對象,今年立法會選舉若能順利舉行,他們能否參選也是未知之數。事件會否加劇本港移民潮,西方會否有更多制裁措施,後續發展有待觀察,不過權力當局行得這一步,相信亦早已考慮過有關問題。

儘管被捕不等於一定判囚,惟不管日後法庭如何處理今次案件,香港政治生態必起變化,各方都要實事求是,思考出路。反對派方面,若不調整之前兩年的激進鬥爭路線,很難在體制內再有活動空間;當局以前所未有力度,將暴力和「攬炒」計劃壓下來,從權力政治而言無疑是成功的,不過人心問題和深層政治矛盾,仍然有待解決。經過超過一年半的政治折騰和疫情衝擊,人心確實很累,渴望經濟民生早日復常,然而政治方面,社會撕裂對立依舊,街頭暴力不再,不代表當下民情人心,跟前年區議會選舉時有很大轉變,即使反對派因為提倡「政治攬炒」,結果觸犯國安法「攬炒」,權力當局也得思考,如何與近200萬支持反對派的市民重建關係。

香港站在這樣的歷史十字路口,不同人對於應朝哪個方向走,看法南轅北轍,各方都認定對方走錯路,誰也說服不了誰。然而就算歷史發展證明,現在選擇走的路是對的,倘若過程中不照顧被拉一方的感受、不嘗試緩和矛盾對立,路上一定充斥不快、敵意和拉扯。

回看過去一年半香港局勢發展,所有人都要承認一個政治現實,即一國兩制是最符合香港利益的安排,不理一國、選擇硬撼,兩制也會受衝擊;與此同時,香港作為一個開放社會,也必須有反對聲音,只要反對派接受一國兩制這個框架,就應該有活動空間。解開香港的政治死結,各方都要實事求是,權力愈大者,責任亦愈大。各方恪守一國兩制分際,香港仍有可為。

■/ Glossary 生字 /

pursue /pəˈsjuː/:to do sth or try to achieve sth over a period of time

untie /ʌnˈtaɪ/:to undo a knot in sth; to undo sth that is tied

knot /nɒt/:a join made by tying together two pieces or ends of string, rope, etc.

■英語社評聲檔:link.mingpao.com/53000.htm

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