Beware of becoming thought policeman

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 September, 1996, 12:00am

Anthony Lee (South China Morning Post, September 16) says that I have not answered his questions about my stance in regard to the Selection Committee and the provisional legislature.

His problem is not that my stance is unclear, as he acknowledges my statements that I would not join either body. What he wants to know, he says, is whether I ever considered joining those bodies.

I am troubled to learn that Mr Lee's concern is really about the purity of my thoughts, not about my actions.

Mr Lee should be wary of appointing himself democracy's thought-policeman in Hong Kong.

I have certainly considered both the bodies he mentions from every angle, including whether I should participate, and have rejected joining them.

I will not hesitate to consider them further if new developments warrant.

Despite Mr Lee's own evident certainty, the issues raised by these bodies are neither simple nor settled.

I might have sought to join the Selection Committee, for example, if the requirement to 'elect' members of the provisional legislature had been dropped from its functions.

I might still consider joining the provisional body itself, if all 60 current members of the Legislative Council are invited to serve on it (making it a through train for all practical purposes). It would be irresponsible if I stopped thinking about these matters.

Mr Lee is also upset that I want to make some kind of statement about the provisional legislature to my constituents. He says that because I stood against the establishment of the provisional legislature during my election campaign, I should not need to revisit the issue now. It seems to me Mr Lee is again being dogmatic. In reality, I believe many of my constituents want to know more about why I will not join that body to serve out my term, and besides, I also want to say something about my future work plans. Surely, we do not need to argue about this since we are not in disagreement on a matter of substance.

Mr Lee asks why I have not joined the United Front Against the Provisional Legislature. He accusingly contrasts this with my efforts to start a dialogue with the Chinese Government.

I do not believe everyone who is against the provisional legislature must join the United Front against it, and many have not. The common objective is still clear. As for my interest in communicating with China, I don't think even the United Front is against dialogue with China, so what point is Mr Lee really making? One of my campaign pledges was that I would explore ways to express Hong Kong people's views through the mainland political process. I have taken care to give a public account of every step I have taken towards that goal since then.

I see nothing here that calls for more explanation, except perhaps Mr Lee's persistent mistrust.

Finally, Mr Lee asks why I joined the Better Hong Kong Foundation. I am not one of its members. Mr Lee might like to refer to my column in the Post on September 9, which describes the foundation-sponsored, research project at Hong Kong University in which I am involved.

CHRISTINE LOH Legislative Councillor