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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:46pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

What future for Hong Kong if the majority are silenced?

Lau Nai-keung says a lynch-mob mentality is gagging true free speech

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2012, 7:40am

Recently many of my friends have told me they are deeply worried about our kids. If they are taught to hate their country, thinking that they are not Chinese, waving the British flag, and even openly taking an anti-China stance on international issues, what is going to happen to them in a few years when they will have to face up to reality?

What will happen to Hong Kong when it has alienated itself from 1.3 billion people up north? How long will this anti-China brainwashing last? What will be the damage?

Like the Cultural Revolution, which we all hate, the crimson phobia sweeping across our education system is pitting students against their parents and even against their own schools. It has filled our media and monopolised our attention. It seems no one has been spared. Verbal violence that would be banned as hate speech in many countries - including the champion of free speech, the US - has become the norm here.

Anyone who dares to express an opinion that deviates from this anti-China, anti-government "intrinsic truth" will see their views silenced or twisted. Those very few whose views our dissidents cannot completely banish become targets of a lynch-mob mentality.

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, the former secretary for justice and current vice-chairperson of the Basic Law Committee, came under scathing attack by Martin Lee Chu-ming and others - the chorus was later joined even by the Law Society and the Bar Association - after Leung spoke at an event on October 6.

According to the Bar Association, she made references to the Ng Ka-ling judgment of the Court of Final Appeal in 1999 and said that the legal profession in Hong Kong, including judges, had a poor understanding of Hong Kong's relationship with the central government.

She was also reported to have said that if the judges had the correct and necessary understanding, mistakes would not have been made. According to news reports, Leung also said that in relation to the issue of mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong, her preferred solution was for the chief executive to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Such a perfectly innocuous suggestion was deemed to be "undermining the authority and standing of the Court of Final Appeal and likely damage the rule of law in Hong Kong", and flogged in the media, with the poor lady pleading for her freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, the anti-national education campaign groups that occupied the new government headquarters for days seem to believe they have a monopoly on the right to protest there.

When some pro-national education groups applied to demonstrate there on the evening of October 17, their opponents not only followed suit, but accused national education supporters of barging in and picking a fight. The truth is, as records clearly show, that the supporters had applied and obtained police consent days before. During that night, guess who picked the fight.

In any case, the spiral of silence is now broken. The silent majority are now gradually venturing out to voice their opinions and concerns.

Although the dissidents have practically monopolised the mainstream media, and suffocated the opposition, in this information age there are many unconventional channels and there is simply no way for any group, not even the government, to silence any dissenting voice.

In group e-mails and WhatsApp messages, tweets and microblogs, Facebook pages, personal blogs and public forums, different opinions are beginning to surface, more by the day. People are crying out: we sick and tired of this nonsense - it is time for it to stop.

I have insisted all along that, in the information age, there is simply no way to brainwash people. National education and even the mystical Chinese Communist Party can never achieve this end, and fortunately, neither can our dissidents and their white-gloved backers.

The battle continues, but it is not completely lopsided anymore.

Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development

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This article is now closed to comments

ianson
Mr Lau is an expert propagandist. Start with a big lie and expand upon it. No one has suggested for a moment that Ms Leung, as wrong as she may be, should be silenced or edited out of existence as Mr Lau and his Party henchmen would do just a few kilometres north. She has been attacked for the content of her message, not her right to broadcast it. The article rests on a total fallacy but, please, Mr Lau, go on saying whatever you like. The more you speak the more obvious it is that your values and ways of expressing them are antediluvian, the very product of the methods of the Cultural Revolution itself.
RobinDeCaro
Our government is weak,the poor old lady advocating Basic Law interpretation is weak too,so that weak and old Mr. LAU is sharing the plight of them and cried. If many other people cried too,God knows they are the silent majority or silent minority.I think the don't cry have the majority.Our government is weak,poor old lady is weak,so Mr. Lau is helplessly crying.
spunkyjj
One of the "white western ideals" that Hongkonger hold very dear to their hearts is freedom. Without it, you and I wouldn't be exchanging opinions in an open forum like this. Also, it is very hard to be proud of a country governed by people who are outrageously corrupt and show no respect for freedom, justice and rule of law. One more thing, please do not divide Hong Kong people by their ownership (or the lack of) of a non-Chinese citizenship. According to Basic Law, not having a non-Chinese citizenship is not a condition for the status of Permanent Residency in Hong Kong. Before China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong, Hong Kong prospered as a well-mixed, cosmopolitan city admired by the world. Why is it suddenly so necessary to divide people along the line of what citizenship they hold? What good can such division possibly do to our city? The truth is you cannot force loyalty from people. It has to be earned.
thenext
Hong Kong's anti-government and anti-China elements are no doubt brainwashed by white westerner ideals and no doubt have been mentally colonized even after the British colonialists left Hong Kong officially. If China was not strong enough, they would be making Hong Kong as Falklands, so called 'choice of people'. Hong Kong has been the haven for foreign passport holders and they mostly make up the majority in chastising the government and Chinese government, which makes no sense under 'one country two systems' principle. Pity to those who don't have a sense national pride in their own country but always feel proud of holding a foreign citizenship and creating chaos in Hong Kong in the name of freedom and democracy. What is freedom? what is democracy? Is it their private property or a universal value? If so then everyone, especially those who have made Hong Kong their true home without any foreign citizenship and flag, should have greater freedom in this city.
megafun
Lau Nai-keung ought to know what is free speech and what is propaganda from the establishment - and Lau Nai-keung is using that minority free speech to express a minority point-of-view - which is MOST people in HK do NOT want national education, or have anything to do with a corrupt mainland party in HK. Can Lau Nai-keung care to state, and defend, that NPC Standing Committee is not a place of corruption and that MOST of their members, if not all, are corrupt. This so call anti-China stance that Lau Ngai-keung cited is merely a response from anyone who has some decency, supports fairness and are disgusted by corruptions.
Ant Lee
Silent majority? Does the writer live in Hong Kong???
xiaoblueleaf
As Elsie Leung is currently the vice chairperson of the Basic Law Committee, what she said in the public is viewed as the official position of the Committee; not as if she was speaking as a private individual. If such being the case, why didn't she had the courage to so state.
Sunny
If Lau Nai-keung doesn’t believe people can still be brainwashed in today’s informations age, didn’t he see the anti-Japanese riots on the mainland recently? This was sparked by propaganda and national education of the CCP. But then again, Chinese citizens don’t have full access to this information age, remember? National education should simply be ‘just research it yourself on the net’. But then, that is the last thing the CCP wants Chinese children to do.
Lau Nai-keung wrote, “People are crying out: we sick and tired of this nonsense - it is time for it to stop.” Yes, people are crying out and it is time for such nonsense to stop: the corrupt governmental system of China and the injustice that continues to perpetuate against Chinese citizens.
All of Hong Kong people I have spoken to are deeply wary of the current corrupt Chinese regime and this IS the ‘silent majority’. It is not ‘lopsided’ anymore, because of the influx of pro-beijing supporters who have, unfortunately, already abandoned their human conscience.
Sunny
‘What future for Hong Kong if the majority are silenced?’
Yes, the future does look very bleak for Hong Kong if the majority are ‘silenced’ but the regime that will enforce that will not be the HK citizens but the Chinese Communist Party.
Elsie Leung Oi-sie has freedom of her speech and her opinions, which is a wonderful thing, but once she crosses the border into the mainland, she no longer has these rights.
Lau Nai-keung talks about having ‘to face up to reality’. The reality is that HK citizens are very aware of the corrupt regime that does not respect human rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech, expression, beliefs (other than propagating the brainwashing belief that a ‘one-party rule’ is the best) and association, and is slowly influencing the supposed ‘autonomy’ of HK.
Knowing this ‘reality’, only the weak and those having abandoned their moral conscience would remain silent. Hong Kong is the only city in all of China where its people can be vocal and still speak up freely about the atrocities happening to fellow Chinese citizens and the hiding of truth by the regime.
spunkyjj
Well said.

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