June 4 vote lost, for the ninth time
A motion calling for the commemoration and vindication of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest was defeated yesterday in the Legislative Council for the ninth time since the handover.
Walkouts by pro-government lawmakers forced President Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai to halt the four-hour debate 16 times. Legco rules require at least half the 60 members to be present. The lawmakers had to be called back into the chamber repeatedly, before eventually voting down the motion.
During one interruption, Tam Yiu-chung, vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, explained he could not rush back to the chamber to hear a speech by Leung Yiu-chung because he needed to go to the toilet.
At the same time, Kwong Chi-kin, of the Federation of Trade Unions, was speaking to reporters in the corridors outside the chamber.
Directly elected legislators voted by 16 to seven in favour of the motion, moved by Democratic Party vice-chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, but functional constituency legislators ensured its defeat.
Mr Ho said Hong Kong people should never ignore the June 4 crackdown, which he called a 'cardinal question of right and wrong'.
'Mainland authorities should set up an independent committee to investigate the incident and provide the families of the victims with compensation,' said Mr Ho.
Civic Party lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said the June 4 incident had strengthened the emotional bond between Hong Kong people and the mainland.
'Asking Hong Kong people to forget the June 4 incident is tantamount to telling our left hand to forget the right hand,' she said.
The six legislators from the Civic Party, whose party manifesto makes no reference to a policy on the Tiananmen Square crackdown, supported the motion.
The DAB voted against the motion and its members did not speak during the debate. The Liberal Party abstained.
Describing the June 4 incident as a 'tragedy', Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said history would eventually form a view on the event. 'What is the most important is adopting a forward-looking attitude,' he said.
Lui Ming-wah, of the pro-government Alliance, said it was a waste of time to discuss the June 4 issue repeatedly in Legco meetings as the central government had passed judgment on the incident.