Donald Tsang

Family's bedside notes to ensure memoirs published

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 January, 2011, 12:00am

Szeto Wah may have passed away but his memoirs will be completed, friends and family said yesterday. His family has recorded his musings and jotted down notes by his bedside for months when the 79-year-old was too frail to write.

'His book will surely be published,' said longtime friend and democratic lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan. 'His family is already preparing it.'

A special news team from Cable TV had also been interviewing Szeto intermittently since the middle of last year. The material will form part of his memoirs, according to Cable's news controller Fung Tak-hung. 'Mr Szeto was very frank about his thoughts [about Beijing and Hong Kong government] in his interviews,' Fung said.

The TV interviews ranged widely from his childhood and family life to political movements he helped launch and his thoughts on the June 4 crackdown, a defining moment in his career and that of Hong Kong's democratic movement.

His book is expected to include key political episodes such as how Donald Tsang Yam-kuen unsuccessfully tried to use him as a channel to express the colonial government's views during the drafting of the Basic Law. Tsang was then deputy secretary of the General Duties Branch between 1985 and 1989 and responsible for the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.

The veteran pro-democracy leader - who was a member of the committee formed in 1985 to draft the city's mini-constitution - said Tsang would approach him before every meeting.

The book will also disclose details about Operation Yellow Bird, which smuggled mainland student leaders and intellectuals out of the mainland after the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

At the height of the operation, in 1989 and 1990, more than 100 rescues were mounted. Dissidents who fled via the 'underground' route included June 4 protest leaders Wuer Kaixi and Chai Ling. Cable TV will broadcast the interviews on its business channel at 9pm from today until Friday.