Top news of the week: “Kick Away Functional Constituencies Parade” on 28th March (by Cherry, Ann and Ivan)

At 2:30 pm March 28th, a “Kick Away Functional Constituencies Parade” was organized by The Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS). This parade called university students in HK upon to join in and show the Government and the Functional Constituencies their .strong request for abolishing the Functional Constituencies.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn9OF8r_v08 here is a vedio from youtube)

As is known to all, HK is a special administrative region of People’s Republic of China and is governed under all kinds of laws including the most important Basic Law legislated by the National People’s Congress. According to the Basic Law, HK has a Legislative Council (Legco) made up of two main parts, the Geographical Constituencies (GC) and the Functional Constituencies (FC). In the last two elections of Legco, 30 members were directly elected by universal suffrage from GC and 30 were elected from FC. However, as the universal suffrage of Chief Executive in 2017and Legco in 2010 are approaching, HK people get more and more worried since the improvements made by the government intended to pave way for those two major events can hardly be seen.

Since the beginning of this year, HK’s young people, especially those post-80s have been struggling hard to show their request for a more incorruptible, responsible and considerate government. Voice of abolishing the Functional Constituencies which first created in 1984 but later disappointed HK people quite a lot became louder as the pretest of the high-speed railway began. For a long time, pro-democracy supporters have criticized the functional constituency system for giving a minority too much power and influence. The right of corporations and legal entities to vote is also controversial, as it gives some individuals multiple votes. To replace the Functional Constituency system, the Five Constituencies Referendum is a by-election triggered by the resignation of 5 pan-democrats from the Legislative Council who will afterwards stand in the by-election to the Legco. The pan-democrats said the by-election can serve as a de facto referendum on universal suffrage and the abolishment of FC. In the high-speed railway protest incident, the post-80s criticized the collusion between the investors of the project and those related representatives in the Functional Constituencies as it turned out that those who voted for this project were those who can benefited from it too. They also criticized the government of paying no attention to the life of villagers who lived in the construction sites for their whole life.

The “Kick away Functional Constituencies Parade” on March 28th was actually the continuance of a series of actions taken by HK’s young people. In this parade, the university students criticized that the government only looked at the short-term interest of HK instead of the long-term one in developing its economics. They also criticized their own hopeless future as job opportunities were getting fewer and fewer. They also claimed that the wealth gap in HK was getting so serious that poor people should get more attention from the government. And of course their main concern was the monopoly of the commercial sector in the Legco over too many important issues.

As a student from mainland China, I was first shocked by those aggressive young people in HK who were so angry about the government and took on parades frequently. I tended to neglect all those media content about such protests or parades on TV, in newspaper or on the Internet. Even if I saw them, I jumped to a conclusion that those students were too radical. So at that time, I was indeed doing oppositional reading of all related media contents. Maybe that’s because for a long time we mainland students have been implanted a notion that the government should be always doing the right thing and they are the public servants who stand on behalf of interest of China. Or even if we are not so confident in the government, we always lack the intention to show our dissatisfaction in a society that this kind of negative emotion towards the government is not ”preferable”. However, after coming in HK, having talked with lots of local students, being exposed to more and more criticism about the world around us, I gradually learned to see things critically and to speak out my opinion. And to some extent, I also found myself transformed from a counter-hegemonic reader to a negotiated one which I really appreciated.

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