Voice of Hong Kong youth needs to be heard by CY Leung and other politicians

Voice of Hong Kong youth needs to be heard by CY Leung and other politicians

Lau Ming-wai, chairman of the Commission on Youth, says politicians should pay attention to young voters in HK

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Lau Ming-wai says no political party in Hong Kong appleas to him.
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP

The city's top adviser on youth policies has called on political leaders to empathise with and listen to the younger generation before creating policies related to them.

Lau Ming-wai, chairman of the Commission on Youth, was speaking a week ahead of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address.

Leung, who is expected to seek re-election next year, is least popular among the city's younger generation, according to regular polls conducted by local universities.

"Our political leaders or politicians … are typically 50 or 55 plus. They themselves need to go and sit down and listen to young people," Lau said. "Listening entails a high degree of empathy. It absolutely does not mean you must agree with young people. But I think we need to do more listening."

At the height of the Occupy protests in 2014, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other officials met its student leaders, but little dialogue with student activists has taken place since then.

Two months ago, a number of fresh faces inspired by the protests came out winners in the district council elections. Leung pledged to appoint young people to government advisory bodies, but he has made no promises on restarting the process towards achieving universal suffrage, saying it would not be dealt with in the remainder of his term. Instead, he has focused on "upward social mobility".

Lau said: "The two issues are separate. You solve one, the other still exists, whichever one that is.

"I do not agree with the view that you solve mobility, therefore, you have no more need for universal suffrage. I don't believe in that. Both need to be addressed and both are our long-term struggles."

Lau also elaborated on remarks he made on a recent RTHK programme that "all political parties are rubbish".

"I definitely think none of them are appealing to me," he said. "With the further ideological polarisation, Hong Kong genuinely lacks moderates. There are no moderates representing most people who take a more balanced view of things."

Asked if he regarded Leung as a moderate, he said: "He's very firm with his principles. And whether you agree with those principles or positions, I think one can commend anyone for standing firm."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Someone needs to listen to young people

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