Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Albert Chen Hung-yee 陳弘毅 (Hong Kong U.) on the Situation in Hong Kong: 理性溝通的困境 ["The Dilemma of Rational Communication"]

(Pix source: Greekk chorus in The Bacchai at the National Theatre. Photograph: Tristram Kenton )

Beyond the great stakeholders in the turmoil within which Hong Kong has found itself, there are a few voices that seek to take a necessary and more Olympian view.  These voices also have at their heart the long term welfare of Hong Kong within its national context. They are witnesses to the tragic context in which they find themselves, completely aware of the compulsions that drive the great protagonists to an inevitable contradiction and its tragic (in the Greek sense) conclusions. And like the chorus in a Greek tragedy,  they serve as the principal witnesses and commentators of the action around them.  

One of the most profound is that of Albert Chen Hung-yee 陳弘毅.  Professor Chen served as a member of the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong in 2002-08, a member of the Committee on Review of Post-Service Outside Work for Directorate Civil Servants in 2008-09, and a member of the Commission for Strategic Development of the Hong Kong Government in 2005-2012. He is currently a member of the Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, a Justice of the Peace, and an honorary professor at the Renmin University of China, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Zhongshan University, Macau University, and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences of Fudan University.

His essay, 理性溝通的困境 ["The Dilemma of Rational Communication"] first appeared on 2 August in the Ming Newspaper supplements [發表於《明報》副刊] and is worth reading, especially for a sense of alternative paths toward a common goal.  In many ways it is an exquisite and beautifully written elegy to a historical era that some fear may be passing. The essay follows below in English  以及原始的中文版本

Cross posted (in Italian also) in  "Il Dilemma della Comunicazione Razionale" | "The Dilemma of Rational Communication" - An Article by Professor Albert Chen









The dilemma of rational communication
(published in the Ming newspaper supplements, August 2, 2019)
Albert Chen

Hong Kong is on the verge of turmoil. Many people in the community (including me) have called on everyone to say no to violence, and to express their views and dialogue through peaceful and rational methods and try to solve problems.

I used to write an article about Habermas's theory of communication rationality. He firmly believes that in the "public sphere" of civil society, people can reach consensus through rational communication, and the law should be produced in the process of rational communication. of.

However, over the years, whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere in the world, populism has arisen, rational communication has become increasingly impossible; social tears, dissidents are very opposed, and there seems to be no common ground for rational communication.

The ideal of rational communication lies in the fact that participants are willing to listen to each other’s opinions on the basis of freedom and equality, and do not insist on their own opinions. If the other party’s opinions are more reasonable, they will openly accept them, or at least make compromises, seek common ground while reserving differences, and try at least Some aspects reached a consensus to resolve disputes.

However, I now feel more and more that the ideal of rational communication and the distance between politics and social reality are very great. When the most basic values ​​and beliefs that people believe are very different, rational communication cannot be said.

The current disagreement between the Hong Kong institutionalists and their supporters and the non-established factions and their supporters is so serious. The former basically supports and trusts the central government and the SAR government; the more radicals in the latter basically do not accept the authority of the central government and its legitimacy, nor do they believe that the governance of the SAR government has its legitimacy. Under such circumstances, the contradiction between the two systems in "one country, two systems" is getting deeper and deeper. The road of "one country, two systems" seems to be getting narrower and narrower, and pessimistic people even have the feeling that this is system is dead.

(two one, to be continued)

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