Under the current political ecology, the work of the Legislative Council is increasingly difficult. Martin Liao, legislator of the Commercial (Second) Functional Constituency, is re-elected for his second term. He looks forward to ride on his four years of LegCo experience, to uphold his conviction and to serve the community.
Expectations for new legislators
The order and performance of legislators in the previous term of LegCo drew much public attention. Now that the election for the new term has completed, a batch of more radical young faces will be joining the Council. Some foresee that arguments over diverging opinions may intensify over the next four years. Liao opined that “nativism” is all the rage, as reflected in the outcomes of the election. He sighed that the rather worrying circumstances remind us of how “a single spark can start a prairie fire”. Facing his new term, he hopes all newly elected young legislators can handle their work at LegCo in a mature manner.
“The existence of different political views is only normal. It is strange if all legislators share identical views on politics!” Liao hopes the opposition can acknowledge that LegCo is not a place for staging struggles and legislators are responsible to uphold the Basic Law, perform the duty of legislature, and be accountable to Hong Kong society. Using filibustering and other means to keep legislations from passing and to paralyze the government is not something welcomed by the public of Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong independence” destined to fail
Liao expressly highlighted that the Basic Law made it very clear that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China. While “Hong Kong independence” and “self-determination” may seem romantic and passionate to young people, they are indeed empty slogans that can hardly come true. First of all, what exactly is “self-determination”? Its fundamental definition is difficult to clarify. “For example Poland and Israel were founded after the World War II, which would not have been possible without the support of victorious strong countries.” As a legislator, he believed he has the responsibilities to communicate more with new legislators. While he hopes this can help them consider matters from different perspectives, he understands Rome is not built in one day.
Liao commented that, standing in the shoes of young people, one can see how their future is challengingly stacked with issues. As such, resolving housing and social mobility issues is imminent. In Liao’s opinion, integration of the Chinese and Hong Kong economies is inevitable. If Hong Kong merchants can seize the opportunity, they would be able to broaden and diversify their spectrum of business - more opportunities will be created for young locals and social mobility is facilitated. “The national policy of ‛Belt and Road’, for example, will bring about countless opportunities for Hong Kong in the long run. Groundless and unfair labelling and demonization of relevant topics will only make young people suffer in the end.” He quoted a poem by Du Fu about rain in a spring night - “Its fine drops drench, yet make no sound at all”. He believed as long as the younger generation can realize the hopes and futures from the economic integration between China and Hong Kong, any discourse about “Hong Kong independence” will be discredited naturally.
Striving to promote diversified economic development
Looking back at his previous term of office, Liao reckoned promoting diversification in economic development was one of his major missions in the Council. In the widely politicized ambience, improvements in people’s livelihood and the economy must be driven simultaneously. On the economic front, Liao thought Hong Kong can no longer solely rely on traditional industries for long-term growth. Economic diversification is the way to go. The Government has placed more importance on such in recent years. Liao is glad to see successful outcome from this direction.
As a barrister and the previous chairperson of the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services of LegCo, Liao naturally stands quite firm on the principles of constitution. He recalled the time when the two harsh measures for cooling the property market were undergoing the legislative process. He believed that any tax adjustment proposals put forward by the Government should be vetted by LegCo. He also acknowledged that the Government should make timely actions when responding to issues related to the property market. Regarding this, he proposed that the Government should first publish the relevant change in tax in the Gazette so that it becomes effectively immediately; the relevant tax can then be submitted to LegCo for vetting - even when the bill is voted down, the tax still has retrospective effect. Although the amendment was eventually voted down, many people regarded his proposal as “lost in making the change, but won in the reasoning for the approach”.
Facing CGCC and the public
Liao humbly described himself as an unambitious and low-profile person. He speaks with brevity and is not keen to “make a mark” when voicing out an opinion. The past four years at LegCo have enriched Liao’s understanding about government operation, and deepened his knowledge about public policies; he now has a much better grasp of the latest happenings of our society. He emphasizes that although his seat at the Council is a representative of CGCC, he does “wear two hats” – he does not only speak for CGCC but is also serving every Hong Kong citizen. Therefore, he will maintain good communication with CGCC as always to ensure that the voice of CGCC can be effectively transmitted. For long, the directions of CGCC are in line with his personal views. He will therefore continue to uphold his principles and contribute to the community.
This is a free translation. For the exact meaning of the article, please refer to the Chinese version.
Address : Rm 703, Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel : 2576-7121
Fax : 2798-8802