Editorial: Get Hong Kong back on track

Editorial: Get Hong Kong back on track
Policemen walk along an empty Nathan Road after taking down tents and barricades set up by pro-democracy protesters at Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong November 26, 2014.

HONG KONG - To the great relief of the majority of citizens, Hong Kong police finally took long anticipated action over the past couple of days to clear illegal blockades set up by "Occupy Central" protesters on some of the city's main thoroughfares.

By assisting court officials to clear streets blocked by the illegal campaign and arresting those who obstructed them, the police performed its statutory duties and upheld the rule of law.

The clearing operation could last for a few more days before ending weeks of massive chaos and disruption on the streets. But it has spelt the defeat of the "Umbrella Revolution" - the Hong Kong version of the "colour revolution".

The political adventure supported by outside forces, who are scheming to curb the rise of China, was doomed to fail from the very beginning.

In a free and prosperous civil society such as Hong Kong, there is simply no way any sort of revolution can succeed. A special administrative region backed by a mighty central government can never be made a tool for political schemers to advance their own agenda.

The defeat of the "Occupy" campaign did not come as a surprise. It failed to rally public support because the occupiers had no legal or moral grounds on which to stand. The latest opinion poll conducted last week shows 83 per cent of local people want the protesters to end their actions now.

In a direct challenge to the authority of the nation's top legislature, the occupiers demanded the withdrawal of the decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. This landmark decision was on constitutional reform proposals for the election of Hong Kong's Chief Executive via universal suffrage in 2017. The committee has the ultimate authority on this issue.

To push through an electoral mechanism with no legal standing but with the aim of ensuring their favoured candidates had a chance to grab the top political job in the SAR, the protesters have taken Hong Kong society hostage by illegally occupying the main roads of the city's major business and commercial districts for two months.

This political gamble proved to be a high-stakes one. It has not only torn apart the social fabric of Hong Kong but caused tens of billions of dollars in economic losses. More importantly, it has undermined the city's rule of law, one of the cornerstones of stability and prosperity.

The police action is a crucial move to get the HKSAR back on track. But for universal suffrage to be implemented in the SAR as scheduled, it is imperative for future discourse on electoral reform to be conducted within the established legal framework. And for the "One Country, Two Systems" policy to continue to be implemented smoothly, Hong Kong people must respect the central government's comprehensive jurisdiction over the SAR.

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