Hong Kong does have a Green Party. Founded by Albert Oung in 2009, it aims to promote sustainable economic growth. In 2012, a party member contested the district council election for the Kwai Fong constituency but lost. Oung says this was probably because citizens were not familiar with the party’s manifesto.
He says the party will not participate in any upcoming elections, as it wants to put more effort into educating members on the core values of the party instead. Although it describes itself as a “political party” on its website, the group does not appear to be functioning as one at the moment.
According to Chu Hoi-dik, a Local Action activist and founder of the Land Justice League, Hong Kong is not ready to develop a political green party. Chu, who has twice stood and lost in district council elections in rural Yuen Long, says most people generally think of green issues as being related to the allocation of resources and profits. As a result, politicians will use the idea of “green” or pay lip-service to green issues to win supporters rather than genuinely act upon environmentally friendly ideas.
Meanwhile, says Chu, the government is reluctant to introduce fundamental changes in society that would improve the environment. Reducing consumption and development is essential in the long-term but this would inevitably reduce production and affect the economy, a situation the government fears.
There is another reason why Chu thinks Hong Kong does not have an independent, green political party and that is because green groups have been too depoliticised in the past.
“They just did trivial things, such as collecting mooncake containers,” he says. “They didn’t dare to launch social movements, so they can’t mobilise the public and create pressur
e that would give them the bargaining power to influence the government.”
Chu says he has considered making the Land Justice League an official political party, but he has reservations because of the lack of genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong. He notes that the green parties in the West were formed only after they had become democratic countries. Hong Kong, however, is still in the middle of attaining democracy. Chu says he understands it is natural that all the support and resources in society would go to political parties fighting for a democratic cause.
Nevertheless, he thinks it would be worthwhile to have a green party in Hong Kong.
“Because after all, the environment is an even more fundamental and pressing issue than constitutional reform.”
Edited by Teenie Ho