Hong Kong’s richest man has said that the city’s people would not approve of gaining independence. Li Ka-shing was asked by a reporter about his views on Hong Kong independence at a press conference announcing the annual results of his flagship company CK Hutchison Holdings Limited.

Li Ka-shing.

Recently, a debate on Hong Kong independence was sparked by an article in the latest issue of Undergrad, a student-run magazine of the University of Hong Kong, which suggested that Hong Kong should become an independent sovereign state, recognised by the United Nations, when the One Country Two Systems agreement expires in 2047.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and many pro-Beijing figures have spoken out against the suggestion.

“Firstly, Hong Kong people would not approve, what basis does [Hong Kong] have to go independent? And it is impossible,” Li said. “Hong Kong people would not like to say the words ‘Hong Kong independence’ – it sounds detached from reality.”

He added that his observation was “based on my years of experience”.

Li also commented on Hong Kong’s future after 2047.

“It may turn into One country One System, but if Hong Kong is doing well, why does it need to change?” he said.

File photo: Todd Darling.

‘Stop hurting Hong Kong’

Asked to comment on the Mong Kok clashes last month, he said political figures should study why it happened.

“No matter what is your political ideal, stop hurting Hong Kong, if the damage continues, and Hong Kong gets worse than now, our people’s livelihood would be affected,” Li said.

He added that it is of utmost importance to make young people feel “hopeful” for their lives to carry on and to overcome difficulties.

Li was also asked about the coming Chief Executive election in 2017, but he did not comment on it as he said no one has officially announced their candidacy.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.