• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:55pm
PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 6:44pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 2014, 2:07am

Legislators should keep focus on universal suffrage fight

Michael Chugani says some legislators appear to be confusing the fight for universal suffrage in Hong Kong with one to change China

Am I missing something? I thought our fight was to change Hong Kong's political system, not change China. But judging from the behaviour of some democracy legislators last weekend, you would have thought it was the other way round.

The agenda for the Shanghai talks with mainland officials was clear: universal suffrage for Hong Kong. But "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung went wearing a Tiananmen crackdown-related T-shirt and a suitcase stuffed with June 4 leaflets, T-shirts, and a banned book.

What was he going to do with them? Hand them out on a Shanghai street corner? Present them to mainland officials? Rather than surrender the items to mainland airport officials, he turned around and flew back to Hong Kong. The Labour Party's Cyd Ho Sau-lan and Peter Cheung Kwok-che returned in a huff too, in solidarity with Leung. Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit aborted plans to fly to Shanghai for the talks. Only 14 of the 27 pan-democrat legislators had agreed to attend the talks but just 10 ended up doing so.

What should Hongkongers make of this? That the democrats aren't serious about dialogue with mainland leaders? That they see their fight for democracy as also a fight to change communist China? That they feel they have a right to bring June 4 material into the mainland and are willing to sacrifice talks on the political future of Hong Kong if denied this right?

Mainland leaders need to come clean on the June 4 crackdown. Few would argue with that. But how wise is it to bundle that thorny issue with our own thorny issue of universal suffrage, especially when so little time is left to reach a deal? Leung knew full well mainland officials would want to confiscate the June 4 material he had. If he never intended to surrender it, why then did he bother to fly to Shanghai at taxpayers' expense? To put on a show?

Were Ho, Cheung, and Leong saying that the mainland should adopt Hong Kong's free-expression standards when they boycotted the talks in protest against Leung's treatment? If they did, then they need a lesson or two about realpolitik.

When you are a guest in someone's home, you follow their rules. If our legislators should be allowed to bring June 4 material to the mainland for distribution, then legislators from the National People's Congress should also be allowed to distribute Communist Party material in Hong Kong. But we all know what would happen if they did that. The outcry about interference would be deafening.

We're seeing that now, with some pan-democrats accusing central government liaison office boss Zhang Xiaoming of meddling in local affairs by raising funds for the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong at its anniversary dinner.

Let's not make changing China our fight. It is for mainlanders themselves to do that. Our fight is to democratise Hong Kong. Using our values to challenge mainland leaders with things like June 4 material only strengthens their suspicion that some Hongkongers want to undermine China. That suspicion has already delayed our democracy.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. mickchug@gmail.com

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This article is now closed to comments

whymak
XYZ:
Hundreds were killed in Beijing on June 4, 1989, including a few PLA soldiers, with one burned to a crisp. Adjusted for population size, US National Guards and police in race riots 2 decades earlier killed just as many.

Absolutely, positively not a single student was killed in Tiananmen Square. Every student left the Square before the tanks moved in. Both Canadian and US Embassies have always known this for a fact. The students died in Chang An Da Jie were curious spectators, collateral casualties caught behind the barricades set up by rioters.

No one should deny this is a dark chapter in modern China's history. People's livelihoods were improving ever so slowly after the lawless Cultural Revolution destroyed much social fabric and many institutions. There were corruptions at many levels -- as there are during Hu-Wen regime. It was easy for the aggrieved to point finger and scapegoat the government.

China bashers will keep up their lies because student martyrs fetch the highest propaganda value; and for the media, revenues from myths flow directly to the bottom line -- no fact checks and editorial costs.

Take away these lies from hate-China folks, you take away their only meaning for life.

I don't tell Christians Jesus ascension from the dead on Easter is c*ck-and-bull because they need faith for moral support. But when an individual's indulgence in faith is all malicious slander, it becomes every citizen's duty to put an end to it.
Kubrick
Long Hair and Cyd Ho are one trick phonies. Should true democracy arrive they would struggle to get elected because they can't speak about anything else in a coherent manner. So, they must seek to sabotage the move to democracy in order to keep their salary, perks and status. The only saving grace in this pantomime is that Long Hair is occasional entertaining. The same can't be said about Ms HO.
Will.I.Am
Lap Sap ****. Waste of taxpayers money, wasting everyone's time while enjoying good pay, public housing, watching bikini babes on iPad.
Is it true that rumors circulating that mad dog Wong Yuk Man been very quiet recently is because his son was in detention in China for drugs consumption?
whoaman
Long Hair should reimburse the government for his air ticket, and the other 'pan-dens' that went back to HK as well. I'm sick and tired of this guy using public money to enjoy public housing, get a salary, and be a disrespectful person as well. He's a hypocrite.
ejmciii
But yet he is getting elected.
ngsw
But China is much bigger than HK and Tiananman incidence is a bigger issue than HK’s universal suffrage, which proportionally should capture more atttentions, and with some luck may even catch the eyes of foreign media, especially when mainland officials fail to handle his challenge smartly.
321manu
Well said. Everyone knows June 4 is off limits in China, which is an abomination, but also not the fight for HK legislators. They must have known those articles would not be allowed, or should have known. Which means their presence was just a charade, which was pointless.
XYZ
I understand your point and that which Mr. Chugani is making but, with all due respect, I don't agree that June 4 is either irrelevant or off limits in the discussions of Hong Kong's political reform.
.
The fact that the government-ordered massacre happened at all, that the CCP continues to avoid acknowledging the true nature of the 1989 protests and its responsibilities for the killings, and that the CCP muzzles all free speech on the subject are all indicators of what Hong Kong can look forward to if we don't maximise the space for the exercise of our civic and political freedoms and minimise the CCP's ability to impose mainland-style rule on Hong Kong.
.
Like him or not, Long Hair's protest in Shanghai highlighted the stakes we're playing for in the political reform discussions, even if many people turned away from the incident in disgust because they find Mr. Leung to be an unsightly clown. Actually, I think his protest is much closer to the heart of the matter we're fighting for than quibbling over how many seats there will be on the Nominating Committee, which is right where the CCP wants the focus to be.
chaz_hen
You are so right, Michael, but it must be comforting for you to have a convenient "citizenship" domicile in the US should the sh*t hit the fan over here in sad little Hong Kong...
XYZ
Another pro-CCP column from Mr. Chugani.

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