• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 7:28pm
PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 12:52pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 1:50am

Democracy diatribes are making us all mad in Hong Kong

Michael Chugani says with illogic ruling Hong Kong politics right now, there can be no winners, whether pan-democratic or Beijing loyalist


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

It has been a dizzying few weeks. So much has been hurled at Hongkongers from all sides that many of us are walking in a daze. Protesters break down doors to storm the Legislative Council. Beijing slaps us with a stern policy document telling us who is boss. Tens of thousands of Hongkongers send a message to Beijing by participating in an unofficial referendum on democracy and a mass street protest.

Police arrest five organisers for breaking protest permit rules, and another 500 or so mostly young people for holding an Occupy Central rehearsal. Pan-democrats walk out during question time with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Legco. Radical lawmaker Wong Yuk-man jumps on a table to hurl a water glass at him. Leung's wife goes before the media to angrily denounce a university lecturer for writing about the couple's daughter, who posted a Facebook picture of her slashed wrist.

Democracy activists pressure HSBC to backtrack on a report warning that Occupy Central could hurt the stock market and sour ties with the mainland. The Anglican Church is browbeaten into playing down a sermon by the archbishop, Paul Kwong, who urged democracy supporters to keep quiet, as Jesus did.

Hong Kong has become a cuckoo's nest. Lunacy has replaced politics. We have lost sight of logic. Where is the logic when Occupy Central co-organiser Dr Chan Kin-man slams the HSBC report with the argument that the civil disobedience protest would only cause a temporary disturbance? Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said in a recent radio interview that it would only last a day or so. Isn't the protest intended to paralyse Central to the point where it pressures Beijing to give us true democracy? Where is the logic of doing it if organisers say it won't last long and won't do much damage? How is that supposed to force Beijing's hand?

Doesn't free speech mean everyone can have their say? But, in our cuckoo's nest, that's only the case if you say the right things. HSBC and the archbishop said the wrong things. The archbishop's sermon was stupid but surely free speech allows stupidity. True free-speech believers who disagreed with HSBC and the archbishop would still have respected their right to say what they did. In our hypocritical free-speech society, they are browbeaten into self-censorship by the very people who complain about self-censorship.

I sympathised with Leung's plea for privacy so he and his wife could deal with their troubled daughter. What logic then compelled Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee to reignite the matter by lashing out in public at Ivan Choy Chi-keung? Surely it was lunacy for Leung Chun-ying to say the executive and legislative branches have a cosy relationship when everyone knows the two sides loathe each other.

Hong Kong is not apartheid South Africa, repressive Burma or racist 1960s America. But the democracy camp likes to pretend we are by threatening civil disobedience. It is a stretch to say Hong Kong could become a base to subvert China. But that is Beijing's mindset. Is there any way to pull ourselves out of all this lunacy? I fear not. We're in too deep. If aliens in a spaceship were ever to approach our cuckoo's nest, they'd do well to fly over it.

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


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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
Ivan Choy did not criticise Leung's daughter. He criticised the Leungs for dragging her out to Hyde Park for PR purposes. Let's get it straight.
"Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said in a recent radio interview that it would only last a day or so. Isn't the protest intended to paralyse Central to the point where it pressures Beijing to give us true democracy?" Perhaps she thinks there will be food and beverages served at the one day event, and enough portable toilets so not queue is required. In my book, Mrs. Chan deserted Hong Kong people by resigning. The atmosphere would have been different had she stuck with her job and probably now the CE, without contest, that can push the envelop to Beijing.
And now you, Michael, jump into the fray all about something that has yet to even happen.
hard times !
Then Michael is living in a place full of lunatics, would he seriously consider move to America as he is an Indian American who holds an American passport ?
So did SCMP
I am not mad at democracy nor the CCP, just the HK Government.
Don't count me as your "us"
Yes, it is more fun with a few lunatics sprinkled in. Free speech means everyone gets his say and then after he has had his say then those who disagree can respond to what is said. Free speech does not mean that you need to accept what is said where such is basically foolish. The bottom line is that one side has remained inflexible and sought to use their view of the law, the PLA and the police (as well as the Beijing Propaganda Ministry Choir) to suppress what the others are seeking to say. That Michael, is the problem. Allowing free speech can be messy but we need to be willing to allow it to be said and debated. OC people have said time and again they are not going to be violent and have to date shown no violent tendencies, but the government is girding for war, the PLA has been training how to take over a southern city which has gotten out of control and many people are pretending that a violent civil war in Central is a fait accompli. Yes, it is a bit nutty but with a normal debate we'd be able to work through most of that. Where one side refuses to take part in that debate because they are imbued by the mandate of the heavens to rule us, the freedom of speech cannot do its job.
True. True.
Too many ego's at work and not enough principles.
and too much creeping corruption...


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