Editorial:Social Atmosphere Needs to Return to Normalcy

【明報專訊】THE SAFEGUARDING NATIONAL SECURITY ORDINANCE officially came into effect last Saturday (23 March). On the subject of work to be done in the future, Chief Executive (CE) John Lee mentioned ''three areas to safeguard national security'' and ''four areas to boost the economy''. Of course, the work of safeguarding national security will not come to an abrupt end simply because Hong Kong has entered ''the era after Article 23 legislation''. But the immediate priority is certainly to strive for development with full force—maintaining Hong Kong's international advantages is exactly the key to supporting Hong Kong's ''eight centres'' positioning.

In this new era, Hong Kong has to renew its understanding of the nation and the world. Patriotism and national security education do not necessarily have to be a hard sell. Subtle and silent approaches may sometimes yield better results. Over the past few years, Hong Kong has remained in a highly tense condition, with a prevailing atmosphere of preferring left rather than right in society. For Hong Kong to reclaim its characteristics as an economic city, the social atmosphere also has to return to normal. The government can play a pivotal role in building a tolerant and harmonious atmosphere.

With the completion of the Article 23 legislation, CE John Lee said yesterday (26 March) that Hong Kong has to vigorously pursue economic growth and development. There are four key areas in the government's work plan: fully implementing measures proposed in the Policy Address and Budget to boost the economy and development; seizing global and China-oriented opportunities; enhancing Hong Kong's competitiveness by ''attracting talent and enterprises'' proactively; fostering internal economic development by taking the initiative to host all sorts of grand events; promoting tourism, consumption and investments.

Lee said the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance serves the purpose of effectively preventing, suppressing and punishing acts or activities that endanger national security. The government will combine national security education, patriotic education and Chinese cultural education, which will be promoted in schools and at community levels.

In this new era, Hong Kong has to break away from its Western-centric positioning and understand that the Western world does not equate to the global community. Naturally, not being Western-centric does not mean having to reject the West entirely. As a highly Westernised society, it makes no sense for Hong Kong to veer to the other extreme either—it would just be self-denial. What Hong Kong truly needs is to view the world from a broader perspective, and rebuild a world view based on a multipolar and multicultural world.

The discussion on national security education, patriotic education and Chinese cultural education should also be considered within this framework. Although the anti-amendment storm is already in the past, and Hong Kong has also become ''Hong Kong, China'', there is obviously still a long way to go before the reunification of people's hearts with the mainland could be achieved. The underlying cause involves exactly the clash of different world views and how a path to reconciliation has yet to be found. In such circumstances, adopting a soft-sell approach to instil patriotism and national security education in the people may be more effective than a hard-sell approach via political slogans.

The atmosphere of Hong Kong society has been very tense these few years. It is true that ''soft resistance'' prevails, but the situation of preferring left rather than right is equally concerning. When even a politically incorrect comment due to a slip of the tongue can be described as ''endangering national security'', such a social atmosphere is definitely detrimental to Hong Kong's development.

明報社評 2024.03.27:維護國安謀發展 社會氛圍要復常








/ Glossary生字 /

veer:to change direction suddenly

instil:to gradually put an idea or attitude into somebody's mind; to make somebody feel, think or behave in a particular way over a period of time

a slip of the pen/tongue:a small mistake in something that you write or say


上 / 下一篇新聞