Talking about independence is of no benefit to Hong Kong, former lawmaker and Our Hong Kong Foundation consultant Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung said during an RTHK radio debate on Wednesday. Student leader Joshua Wong, also present, said that Hongkongers should be allowed to decide for themselves what would happen after 2047, when the One Country Two Systems agreement is expected to end.

“If you are saying that Hong Kong needs to become independent, this is not a question of practicality, or possibility… It is a question of right or wrong,” Lau said.

Joshua Wong with Kaizer Lau on radio
Joshua Wong (left) with Kaizer Lau (right) on RTHK radio. Photo: Screenshot via RTHK.

“… If you teach people how to rob a bank, or… going to an extreme, [if you] teach people how to make weapons, to make bombs – these are all questions of right and wrong, not questions of possibility.”

The Our Hong Kong Foundation is a think tank set up by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Make room for ‘patriotic education’ 

Lau said that independence is challenging the central government’s bottom line and will only make the central government end One Country, Two Systems” earlier.

“Anyone should oppose Hong Kong independence, no matter who they are,” said Lau. He also said that there should be room for patriotic education within the education system.

Joshua Wong said that he did not understand why Lau had compared the independence debate to bank robbery.

“Why are there so many people thinking about the topic of independence?… It is because their confidence in One Country, Two Systems has disappeared.” Wong said.

hong kong china independence protest
Protesters calling for Hong Kong independence. File photo: HKFP.

Wong said that Hongers should decide whether to enforce One Country, Two Systems or One Country, One System after 2047.

He also said that the rise in the number of people who support Hong Kong independence is low, but it is rising among the youth. He said that the central government and the Hong Kong government’s attitude towards democracy would determine if this trend could be reversed.

Wong later told reporters that, if Hong Kong had democracy earlier, nobody would be supporting independence now.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.