Welcome to this issue of Our Time. Our Time is the annual publication of the Cambridge University of Hong Kong and China Affairs Society (“CUHKCAS”), which creates a platform to raise awareness of political affairs in Hong Kong, compiling a range of views from the Cambridge-Hong Kong community. I believe this issue of Our Time is a good reflection of the complex, multifold political spectrum in Hong Kong, and an erudite observation and analysis of the challenges Hong Kong’s institutions face today. This issue of Our Time takes a relatively academic approach to analysing current affairs in Hong Kong in hopes of offering a deep, well-rounded account of different views in our society.
This issue of Our Time seeks to interrogate the relationship between political violence and freedom. It aims to understand the pro-democracy social movement, and to capture their character in all their forms and facets. In short, this issue of Our Time is a study of the voices calling for democracy. It is both careless and irresponsible to generalise all those who have participated in the social movement as ‘pro-democracy’ or ‘anti-establishment’. Likewise, common phrases such as the ‘rule of law’ or ‘political integrity’ should not be thrown around without reflection. We need to first acknowledge and understand the diversity of thought and aspiration in the social movement in order to help it advance. This issue of Our Time thus aims to collate the competing visions of democracy in Hong Kong, in hopes of painting a full picture of the movement.
At its core, disagreements and spectrums of thought are inherent in a democracy. A free society is messy - and as we demand for our institutions to be more democratic, we must also find in ourselves the commitment to build a democratic culture. There is no value in demonising our dissenters. The political and social climate in Hong Kong is uneasy, and a crucial step to take going forward is to find broad, coherent, and ambitious conception of what democracy could be, and what it should look like in Hong Kong; understanding that a truly democratic society needs to accommodate a variety of views and values. This issue Our Time calls for free and frank discussion of the many challenges facing us today, and for a fundamental reformation in our civil and political discourse.
We are pleased to publish a range of articles written by students from Hong Kong studying here at Cambridge, as well as including interviews with prominent social figures. Also featured are the winning entries of the CUHKCAS-hosted Cambridge Hong Kong Affairs Essay Competition, which are pieces written by Hong Kong secondary school students about con- temporary political issues in Hong Kong and China.
Finally, I would like to thank my co-editor, Issac Fung, for his help and support throughout the production of this issue of Our Time; Cody Kwok, for his unconditional help on technical issues; and the CUHKCAS committee members for their unfailing support, in particular Lauren Chan, our President, for her neverending inspiration. This year’s Our Time would not have been possible without their input and I am forever grateful.
I am proud to present the 23rd issue of Our Time. I hope it offers inspiration and reflection, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I am honoured to have taken part in producing it.
CUHKCAS Publicity Officer 2019-20