De Beethoven à Beijing

LONDRES – Il y a 17 ans, le 1er juillet, je quittai Hong Kong à bord du Royal Yacht de Sa Majesté, alors même que la Chine obtenait à minuit la veille sa souveraineté en vertu des dispositions d’un accord international conclu avec le Royaume-Uni (déposé aux Nations Unies), connu sous le nom de Déclaration commune. Cet accord allait garantir un mode de vie existant alors depuis 50 ans à Hong Kong, en vertu de la formule célèbre d’un Deng Xiaoping évoquant un fonctionnement à « un État, deux systèmes. » La primauté du droit et les libertés associées au pluralisme – égalité devant la justice ainsi que libertés d’expression, de réunion, et de culte – demeureraient ainsi la pierre angulaire de la prospérité et de la stabilité à Hong Kong.

Permettez-moi une ellipse, en nous ramenant à l’année actuelle. Au cours d’une soirée à la date particulièrement significative pour moi en tant que dernier gouverneur de la colonie, et encore bien davantage pour les citoyens de Hong Kong, j’ai pu assister à une sublime représentation en extérieur de l’œuvre « Fidelio » de Beethoven, sur le terrain d’une maison de campagne située non loin d’Oxford. Unique opéra de Beethoven, écrit en 1805 (année de la victoire de Napoléon à Austerlitz) puis retouché en 1814 (date d’abdication de Napoléon), cette œuvre constitue l’une des expressions culturelles les plus magistrales de ces valeurs humaines fondamentales – liberté et résistance à l’oppression – qui résonnent au sein de chaque société.

Le moment le plus dramatique de l’œuvre « Fidelio » se joue lorsque les prisonniers politiques sont pour un court instant libérés de leur cachot. « Ô Ciel ! Le Salut ! Quel bonheur, » entonnent-ils alors. « Ô liberté, nous reviens-tu ? » C’est alors au son de ce chant de la liberté que les rayons du soleil couchant éblouirent les prisonniers et les spectateurs du comté de l’Oxfordshire. La nature avait choisi de souligner l’importance du message.

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