Anson Chan

Call for entry permits policy change a good starting point

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am


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Chris Yeung's analysis in his At Large column ('Timely call for a Beijing-democrats truce', March 9), seems to be more of an appeal to the mainland authorities to play their part, than a call to the pan-democrats.

While pan-democrats often see the mainland authorities as being despotic, Beijing's leaders could well regard pan-democrats as being intolerably antagonistic just for the sake of boosting their own political mileage. Both paradigms must shift.

It is futile to point the finger at any one party and blame it for the present stalemate, as so much has happened over the years. It is not realistic to expect a 'truce', with Beijing just dishing out entry permits to pan-democrats. Even if they did, how many of the pan-democrats would make good use of them to visit the mainland and look objectively at recent changes on the mainland. If they did so, such a move might be seen as apostasy. Pan-democrats are mere politicians. Few of them have the political statesmanship to risk their political career for a laudable, but distant goal. Still, Liza Wang Ming-chuen's suggestion is a good starting point.

Yeung refers to the pan-democrats having been denied entry to the mainland for nearly 20 years. However, the term 'pan-democrat' is quite a recent invention and the denial of entry does not apply to all who come under this category. I suspect that only a handful (the hardcore) of pan-democrats have actually had entry permits rejected. That might have to do with more controversial issues than their political affiliations.

I would have expected Anson Chan Fang On-sang to have made this suggestion instead of Wang. Didn't Mrs Chan pledge in the Legco by-election in December, to improve communication with the mainland authorities? Three months have passed and I have not heard a word from her on this matter.

The pan-democrats should use Wang's initiative as leverage and renew their requests for permits to visit the mainland. This would show their sincerity to make amends with Beijing, and put the ball squarely in Beijing's court. Hopefully, any response from Beijing, however positive or negative, would be useful for their Legco election campaigns.

Daniel Sin, Kennedy Town