編按：前中央政策組首席顧問顧汝德今年出版新書A City Mismanaged：Hong Kong’s Struggle for Survival（譯名為《管治之失：香港奮力求存》，暫未有翻譯本），談及特區政府管治失誤之處。本社記者以電郵筆訪這位身處愛爾蘭、但依然關心香港事務的都柏林三一學院教授，讓他從政策創新與統籌辦事處談起，剖析香港問題，原文問答在中文版本之後。
Q: Carrie Lam turns The Central Policy Unit into Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office, as the previous head of CPU, what do you think? Is it a good policy?
A: The world was very different in 1989 when the CPU was established. Hong Kong faced very big changes, politically and in the economy, during the 1990s. The CPU’s job was to find solutions for challenges which departments and bureaux could not handle. The CPU’s small team provided “crisis prevention”, “transition management” and “support for innovation”. Among its assignments were: fall-out from “June 4” during 1989; the new election system; the launching of CSSA and the Hospital Authority etc. The CPU’s “clients” (Governor, Chief Secretary and Financial Secretary) dealt with the CPU directly and expected the team to come up with solutions very fast which could then be implemented quickly. In addition, the CPU took total responsibility for drafting the Policy Address and Budget.
The Special Administration Governments have had a different set of requirements, and so the CPU’s schedule and structure were altered to adapt to the requirements of each Chief Executive. The world has changed since 1989-97, and I assume that Mrs Lam believes that a CPU is no longer useful and that a Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office is what Hong Kong needs in 2018. She is in the best position to know what she needs, so I have no criticism to make.
Q: You are still showing care and concern about Hong Kong’s current affairs, even after 20 years since you left Hong Kong. Why are you so enthusiastic about it?
A: Actually, I have not “left” Hong Kong. It has been necessary because of the work I do to spend some months each year in a European base. But only temporarily. I still “live” in Hong Kong. Most of every day is spent researching, writing, consulting on Hong Kong affairs. I still feel a “foreigner” when I am away from Hong Kong because I do not really understand anywhere except Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is so special for me because of the wonderful quality of its people. I have been witness to so many challenges that they have survived. The most obvious is the economy. Hong Kong became a world textile centre, financed by its own banks and with no foreign aid. From 1979, it has been the biggest source of foreign investment on the Mainland and the biggest offshore RMB market. Its workforce is among the most productive in the world, no matter how badly paid.
Socially, the city is most impressive. Its health standards are outstanding, thanks to the cleanliness of families, whether living in squatter huts or SDUs. Crime rates are very low. As a society, Hong Kong is truly a paradise compared with most cities.
As an individual, I feel that I am very fortunate to live in Hong Kong. Strangers are kind and helpful to me whenever I have a problem. My colleagues have always been friendly and cooperative. My Chinese relatives provide me with an extended family which is a privilege. My children look back on the teachers and classmates in their “local” schools with pride and pleasure. I have been given career opportunities that I could not hope for anywhere else: from interviewer for ATV’s weekly “Newsline” to CPU Head, from HKU lecturer to Hang Seng Consultant, and many other good jobs.
I owe everything to Hong Kong. I feel that I have a duty to repay the Hong Kong people by doing whatever I can to protect their interests and improve the quality of their lives.
Q: You are keeping criticism on the failure of four Chief Executives for whom doing not well, is it the main factor that make Hong Kong mismanaged? Has any other key factors do you concern?
A: My book also provides detailed evidence of the weaknesses and serious mistakes of “ministers”. But Chief Executives select and dismiss their “ministers” (subject to Beijing’s approval). For that reason, the Chief Executives must be blamed for the failures of their administrations.
Q: Do you think that Chinese authorities should take most of the responsibilities on Hong Kong’s failure?
A: Definitely not. Presidents and Premiers respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and the Basic Law. The book shows that they call on Hong Kong’s government to improve their performance from time to time, but are usually ignored. It is very reassuring that the nation’s top leaders understand that somehow Hong Kong people will manage to overcome their own local problems, even if the administration is not good. This trust at the highest levels in Hong Kong people is the best formula for Hong Kong’s survival as an autonomous, open, “capitalist” economy.
Q: Would you mind commenting on the case of Edward Leung Tin-kei? Is The penalty of six years in prison too harsh? Will the social movements in Hong Kong die down because of the decree of court?
A: It is always sad to see a young person given a prison sentence that will probably ruin their lives. At the same time, for Hong Kong to maintain the rule of law, we have to accept a judge’s decisions. If sentences are regarded as excessive, we have an appeal system. If the law has been misinterpreted by a judge, there is also an appeal system. We need to remember that judges are now being attacked personally more and more for verdicts, sentences and race, which shows that we cannot take the rule of law for granted.
Social movements in Hong Kong are no longer just about “protesting”. Nor are they supported only by young people. The community as a whole realises that it needs to defend “social justice”, Hong Kong’s quality of life, the responsibility of the government for ensuring the high standards of education, health, welfare and other services which Hong Kong can afford and which the Basic Law promises.
Q: Hong Kong youngsters generally shows resistance to the values of Mainland China, will it affect the future of Hong Kong? Is there any way out?
A: In the recent past, the official Mainland media have complained about Mainland students who are not interested in the Party’s ideology and find political studies boring. In Hong Kong, students can openly express their political criticism, which causes the Mainland to complain very strongly. However, this is not a new challenge for Hong Kong. If we go back to the angry condemnations of Hong Kong and its people that Beijing published constantly until 1979, for example, we can see how the nation’s leaders have tolerated a very “autonomous” Hong Kong in the past. In this century, mass protests have taken place, followed by strong criticism from the Mainland, yet life in Hong Kong continues normally. The Hong Kong community knows very well that they are Chinese and have never had any desire to break away from the nation. Calls for “independence” are an easy way of getting Beijing and media coverage. It is important to note that a large number of the protestors are adults.
書名：A City Mismanaged : Hong Kong’s Struggle for Survival（管治之失：香港奮力求存）
前中央政策組首席顧問（1989至97年），現為都柏林大學聖三一書院（Trinity College, University of Dublin）商學院兼任教授，香港大學榮譽院士。
在加入政府前，他是知名商業機構的經濟顧問，亦曾出任《遠東經濟評論》（Far Eastern Economic Review）副總編輯、英國《泰晤士報》（The Times）和財經雜誌Euromoney的駐香港特派記者，因寫下見解精闢的報道而備受注目。