As the curtains closed on the Umbrella movement, the inherently undemocratic political reform proposal championed by Beijing and its sycophants in Hong Kong was vetoed during a political maelstrom. Despite the seeming victory, the democratic movement of Hong Kong have reached an impasse. The legitimacy of the Basic Law is being systematically eroded, the high degree of autonomy in our own governance have become nothing but an empty rhetoric, the farcical display of political incompetence plagues our daily existence.
Nineteen years after the handover of sovereignty, it has become painfully apparent that we need to inject new energy into our democratic movement. We need a new blueprint, a new momentum to kickstart a new democratic movement empowered by a new narrative and a new goal, without which our future looks bleak. Demosisto hereby proposes a new road map for the "democratic self determination" of the Hong Kong people, we have stipulated three main principles that will guide us out of the box prescribed by "the democratic handover" narrative and galvanise the democratic movement for the self determination of the Hong Kong people:
1. Surpassing the tried political reform framework, reshape the narrative to focus on our future.
For the past 30 years, the democratic movement have focused its energy on attaining universal suffrage, and every 5 years or so we lumber under the framework of political reform and seemed to be doing so in perpetuity. Without addressing the fundamental problem with the basic law and the "one country two systems" doctrine, we cannot galvanise and organise civil society in achieving any sort of breakthrough in vision and in strength.
We must reframe the question and rid ourselves of the fetters imposed on us by the political reform framework and refocus public discourse on the "alternative future for Hong Kong", we must all become the vanguard of self determination and political autonomy. We should set our sights to 2047 and beyond, to frame our democratic battle in terms of the constitutional and political system of the future, to stop the autocratic pontification and interference by China.
2. Sovereignty belongs to the people, a referendum for self determination.
In a democratic society, sovereignty belongs to the people, the sovereignty of this city and its future should be in the hands of the people. Whatever happens after 2047 should be decided by the citizens of Hong Kong. Demosisto proposes a constitutionally binding referendum to decide our own future, to give Hong Kong people it's natural rights in determining our own constitution and governance.
Demosisto is not advocating for Hong Kong independence, but in order for us to maintain truthful to the ideal of "popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people", we do agree that in any referendum regarding our city's future must include choices such as "Hong Kong independence" and "district autonomy". We duly believe that the consent of the people represents the highest order in political affairs, and a referendum should reflect the sentiment of the local populace whatever the external constraints may be.
3. A more diversified movement, the symbiosis of community and societal resistance - "socio-economic self determination"
The democratic movement in Hong Kong have hitherto focused only on the topic of "universal suffrage", pertinent social issues such as "white elephant infrastructure projects" and public finance is often ignored as a result. This poorly integrated approach have alienated the public by being too conceptual and too detached from their everyday lives, with the unintentional effect of diminishing the movement's momentum.
In order for a New Democratic movement to take shape, its footing must be solidly anchored on a broader set of social-political issues, it must immerse itself in different civil movements and lend its strength to the creation of more egalitarian, diverse and progressive policies. "The democratic movement for self determination" is not only a movement for representative democracy, it encompasses many other social economic issues such as the economy, the use of land, culture and community.
The five point plan for the democratic movement for the self determination of the Hong Kong people.
Despite its unprecedented enormity and impact, the Umbrella Movement did not attain the objectives it set out to achieve, it is thus reasoned that continuing on the path of political reform as dictated by the Central government of China will only lead to a dead end. Guided by the three principles stipulated above, we seek to replace the goals of "democratic handover" and "universal suffrage as the only pertinent political goal" with "democratic self determination" and "socio-economic self determination". The following five point plan could be seen as a roadmap for the referendum for Hong Kong's future.
1. A referendum conducted by civil society, entrenchment of self determination into our social fabric
The Hong Kong people should grasp the opportunity during the election for Hong Kong's next Chief executive, to take democratic self determination into the forefront of political discourse. As such, Demosisto shall be pushing for a referendum by civil society, on the dawn of the 20th anniversary of the handover, we seek to build consensus amongst the Hong Kong people and make self determination a cornerstone in local politics.
2. Direct democracy, implementing a binding referendum
To make self determination of the Hong Kong people a reality, it is imperative for Hong Kong to devise and implement a binding referendum system. Demosisto shall focus our energy to make referendum an integral part of our electoral and legal system. At the same time we shall be conducting ad hoc referendums within the framework of civil society so that the people could build consensus on contentious issues in the community and across Hong Kong, sowing the seeds of direct democracy into the social fabric of Hong Kong.
3. Drafting "A constitution for Hong Kong", creating fertile grounds for self determination.
Whilst sowing the seeds of self determination, we need a more unified civil society and through the exercise of drafting "A constitution for Hong Kong", we could join forces with our fellow citizens in determining and shaping the social fabric of Hong Kong after the "50 years no change" doctrine, which include issues such as the socio-economic system, development, the usage of land, the productivity and diversity of industries etc. We believe that we need to develop a politics of listening, a politics of hearing, to build a winning coalition with our fellow Hong Kong people and to create fertile grounds for self determination to take root.
4. Lobbying the international community
Apart from a local effort, we shall work with the Hong Kong people to form relationships, alliance and even participation in other mass movements towards democracy and progression from around the globe. We shall also seek to reconvene Hong Kong's right to self determination and its legitimacy based on the "United Nations Charter" and "The international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".
5. A referendum for the future of Hong Kong
Upon establishing our position through political discourse, upon the establishment of legally binding mechanisms and upon stringent and vibrant public discourse on Hong Kong's future, Hong Kong will have attain the fertile grounds necessary for self determination through democratic means. "The democratic movement for the self determination of the Hong Kong people will have reached its zenith when we possess an internationally recognised and legally binding right to conduct a referendum, to determine Hong Kong's political position, socio-economic insinuations and level self autonomy through democratic means.
It has been 19 years since the handover, Demosisto cannot stand by idly and witness the diminishment of Hong Kong's democratic movement. We do not have time to waste nor can we wilfully ignore Hong Kong's uncertain future after 2047. We must stand as one and achieve this historical mission together.
27th June 2016 (Monday)