Electing for change in law
THE electoral laws of Hong Kong stipulate a person will be disqualified from seeking election if he has been sentenced in any territory to imprisonment for a term exceeding three months in the past 10 years.
Interpretation of the law, however, should be based on its principle which is to exclude bona fide criminals from seeking public office. If it excludes persons who have been imprisoned because of political persecution, then Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi and a long list of other freedom fighters who all resisted the vicious repressions of authoritarian regimes would be ineligible for public office. How preposterous.
Lau Shan-ching sacrificed 10 years of his life for his struggle against tyranny for freedom and democracy, and represents the conscience of the people of Hong Kong and China. Mr Lau's integrity and perseverance, determination to battle repression, and refusal to compromise with his captors set an excellent example of personal heroism in the heart of the people of Hong Kong.
In the run-up to 1997, with less than three years to go, Hong Kong needs more people like Mr Lau to run public offices.
We do not need people who are as changeable as a weathercock to adapt to the liking of their new masters to sit on the district boards. If it is the law which prevents Mr Lau from seeking public office, repeal it.
Let the people of Hong Kong decide his suitability to the job, and not the cowardly bureaucrats who labelled him as a ''criminal''.
If criminals exist in this issue, it is the bureaucrats who are criminals of their own conscience rather than Mr Lau himself, who should be hailed as a fine example of a freedom fighter who represents the power of the powerless. Hong Kong should be proud of him.
Y. K. LEUNG Kowloon