Leung Chun-ying

Hong Kong has no need for patriots who don't know right from wrong

Lau Nai-keung sees too few people taking a principled stand in politics

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 3:12am

Several recent incidents perfectly illustrate the microcosm of Hong Kong politics in these turbulent days.

On March 26, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was finally pressured to "confess" to phoning Beijing ahead of announcing the new stamp duty for non-local homebuyers. "Notifying" Wang Guangya, director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, was an act of "internal diplomacy", according to Leung, and he denied seeking approval from Beijing on this matter. "It was not a request for instructions … since the buyer's stamp duty is levied on non-local buyers, it is necessary to deal with internal diplomacy and external diplomacy," Leung said "Hence, after we decided to impose the buyer's stamp duty - after the decision was made - we notified the relevant party."

This witch-hunt is of course absurd. The exchange between Leung and Wang has nothing to do with the Executive Council's confidentiality rule and certainly did no harm whatsoever to the principle of Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong.

By using the term "internal diplomacy" and putting it beside "external diplomacy", Leung's administration wanted to downplay our special relationship with the mainland. However, the press is not that gullible, and they were quick to find out that foreign consulates and embassies did not receive the same advance notice.

It is clear that Leung lacks a principled discourse to justify the actions that he must perform as the head of a special administrative region within the country. Unfortunately, his wishy-washy responses gave people an impression that foul play was involved.

Communication with Beijing is not something to be ashamed of, and Leung shouldn't have restricted it only to circumstances where the mainland is affected.

Then there is the patriotic camp's war cry against the campaign to "occupy Central", calling it a "colour revolution". Such a label is misleading and will probably do more harm than good.

A Wikipedia search tells us that such movements used non-violent resistance to "protest against governments seen as corrupt and/or authoritarian, and to advocate democracy".

By calling Occupy Central a colour revolution, we imply that our government is corrupt and authoritarian to the extent that a general uprising is imminent, which is simply misleading. At the same time, most Hongkongers will not be able to see anything wrong in "non-violent resistance". Occupy Central is not a colour revolution but it is illegal, unreasonable and doomed to fail.

Meanwhile, in a RTHK interview, Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim bent over backwards to accommodate potential "Occupy Central" protesters from the sector, thereby lending this illegal activity a false sense of legitimacy and encouraging adolescent participation.

This sent confusing signals to the public and neutralised the central government's attempt to discredit the campaign. The boomerang will come back to hit him, should he still be around next year.

Third, the patriotic camp has been bashing marginalised social groups ever harder in a desperate attempt to gain popularity. They, along with some media, depicted the young men who were accused of murder in two recent cases as losers with a record of anti-establishment behaviour. The "evidence": they joined protests. But, clearly, there was no such causal link.

As Thomas Jefferson said: "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." If a person does not have a heart and a clear sense of right and wrong, how can he or she love China or Hong Kong?

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