• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14pm
Column
PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 May, 2013, 5:35am

Do organisers of June 4 vigil hear the people?

Albert Cheng says to remain relevant, the organisers must heed the aspirations of the younger participants to uphold our core values

BIO

Ir. Albert Cheng is the founder of Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited, a current affairs commentator and columnist. He was formerly a direct elected Hong Kong SAR Legislative Councillor. Mr Cheng was voted by Time Magazine in 1997 as one of "the 25 most influential people in new Hong Kong" and selected by Business Week in 1998 as one of "the 50 stars of Asia".  
 

The annual candlelight vigil at Victoria Park to commemorate the June 4 massacre is around the corner. Whenever we get to this time of year, the pro-establishment camp will always come out to discredit the commemorative activity, saying history will be the judge.

They will also try to divert attention from this traumatic piece of history by stressing that China needs to continue its economic development and hence we must all set our sights on the future instead of harking back to the past. This is all meant to discourage people from attending an event that makes the central government immensely uncomfortable.

Youngsters taking part are not motivated by a desire to carry on the flame of remembrance

Things are different this year. Those who have come out in force to discourage people from participating in June 4 events are some home-grown voices. A prominent one is pro-autonomy activist Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan, who has published a book advocating "city-state" status for Hong Kong.

These newly emerged local forces have criticised the new slogan set by the organisers of the annual event, "Love the country, Love the people, That's the Hong Kong spirit", saying it amounted to a betrayal of the people. Critics said the organisers, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, is trying to replace local ideologies with patriotism, which implies it is trying to embrace Chinese communism.

The alliance's response - that loving the country does not equate to loving the ruling party - was rather weak and unimpressive. It obviously wants to take back control to show that patriotism is not something that can be monopolised by the pro-Beijing camp.

Unfortunately, the senior echelons of the alliance seem to have avoided tackling the difference between patriotism and nativism. They have also neglected the fact that participants of this year's June 4 activities will be motivated by an array of reasons and do not necessarily agree with the alliance's slogan, or even with the alliance itself.

Younger people take part in the commemorative activities because they want to defend our core values. We can also say they are motivated by a kind of nativism as a way to reject Chinese communism.

Times have changed and those commemorating June 4 do not necessarily all hold the same ideology. The alliance should move with times.

It's painful to recall history, but we dare not forget. The alliance doesn't seem to understand that the June 4 activities have evolved into a kind of people's movement.

In any people's movement, the organiser must interact with the people, respond to their wishes and understand and respect their demands. So, if people have doubts over its slogan, the alliance should be wise enough to withdraw it.

Some question whether the alliance may be trying to appear patriotic in order to be more agreeable with the central government's requirement that the future chief executive must be patriotic. Critics say the alliance is paving its way towards participation in the next chief executive election.

In fact, the alliance has over the years detached itself from political realities, both here and on the mainland.

Democrats including the late Szeto Wah have called for vindication of the June 4 movement. But whether or not it happens is meaningless because it will be a decision made by those in power based on political necessity. It doesn't mean it would lead to any political reform or democratisation. To harbour hopes that building a democratic mainland society could help Hong Kong to realise its democratic dreams is unrealistic.

In recent years, an increasing number of youngsters have been taking part in the June 4 activities. They are not motivated by a desire to carry on the flame of remembrance; they want to preserve the Hong Kong way and its core values. They have seen the erosion of "one country, two systems" and fear that the convergence of the mainland and Hong Kong will continue to weaken the uniqueness of the city. They do not necessarily share the alliance's purpose or beliefs.

To protect our core values, the people of Hong Kong must also support the human rights movement in mainland China. We are two peas in a pod and share the same fate.

And to avoid becoming even more irrelevant, the alliance should not try to replace nativism with patriotism. It should respect the people's wishes and optimise this rising passion stemming from the June 4 commemorative events. It should channel this energy into safeguarding our core values, as well as fighting for democratisation and social improvement for us all.

The people will always remember June 4. So let's put aside our differences, stop bickering and pay our respects to those who sacrificed their lives for a better democratic future for us all.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator. taipan@albertcheng.hk

Share

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

21

This article is now closed to comments

ianson
The dispute is misconceived. June 4 protesting is an expression of our indignation at now being ruled by the same unrepentant organisation that brutally slaughtered peaceful protesters 24 years ago. The message is simple: Hong Kong won't stand for similar treatment. Chin has got it all wrong. The protest is motivated by the same sentiments that help fuel his city-state ideal.
chaz_hen
Why not use your obviously superior intelligence to go run a cram school for English learners and make a mint instead of wasting your time here on these web pages?
hard times !
yeah,we should uphold the aspirations of our lovely youth,
so as to safeguard our core values: freedom and pursuit of
democracy.
See you all tomorrow at Victoria Park !
Don't miss it.
Let's commemorate those who died for
a better mother country----a democratic and free China !
These heroes who were brutally gunned down near the Square
won't be forgotten and their names will be remembered.'
It can be sure.
See you all tomorrow !
See you !
hard times !
Of course the people will always remember June 4th ( a very sensitive word on Mainland China which the ruling regime claimed that it was an anti-revolution,then a tempest of June 4th and now June 4th Incident) that an anti-human massacre took place around Tiananmen Square (in Chang An Avenue and the alleys near it) late in the night of June 3rd when an armoured vehicle dashed speedily into the Square and was stopped by furious people there.Then gun-ready curfew troops marched towards the Square from Luk Po Hau and fired at any people obstructing their approach with assault rifles carrying fatal bullets (Dr.Chiang Yin-wing who was working at 301 Hospital could prove that )and tanks even rolled over students who just left the Square iand retreating in the alleys near the Square----Hongkongers including this Old Hong Kong learnt about it from local radio broadcast which reporters interviewed the surviving students and those who fled to Hong Kong later (including Ms Chai Ling and others). We should put aside our differences and stop bickering on the words of 'love the country'which has existed for thousands of years instead of the present ruling regime---the Chinese Communist Party government,an autocratic capitalist regime only ! Yes,. we should pay our respects to those who sacrificed their lives for a better democratic future for us all by attending the coming June 4th candle vigil at Victoria Park.See you ! Don't miss it !
hard times !
only genuine illiterates such as the down-below so-called,'whymak' a self-proclaimed teacher and scientist can write such lousy English like,'Confucian gentleman' and 'petty people' and a Chinese idiom which he can hardly translate into English. Acutally,his so-called,'Confucian gentleman' should be written as' virtuous men' and his so-called,'petty people' should be 'nasty guys'.Such words should cause no difficulty at all to an average secondary student here in elite schools in Hong Kong.So no wonder this 'whymak' was not born nor grew up here but instead educated on the Mainland and sent here to attack pan-democrats and their supporters here in this Comment column as pflim040 once predicted ! Shame on his lousy so-called English and his words uttered !
hard times !
Nativism should never be replaced by so-called patriotism or adoration of autocratic ruling regime such as the Chinese Communist Party in the North. Being humans ourselves, we should have ideals in politics and pursue the best poliical systiem existing in the present world---a democratic government for our beloved Hong Kong and one for our Mainland countrymen in the coming decades maybe---the day will come when all China is ruled by a democratic government and not just our neighbouring Taiwan which is already practising democracy----her leaders in every level (down from village to the President) are elected through 'one man, one vote' ! Bravo ! Taiwanese, we Hongkongers who embrace democracy really envy you and would like to follow suit your political system for the well-beings of most Hongkongers and not just those privileged ones--the rich and powerful !
hard times !
of course your lousy so-called English or faked poem-typed posting should be thoroughly corrected in every line and every word maybe since your grammar is just about the standard of local primary schools and your personal attack on our beloved Taipan is worse as worse can be ! Shame on you and your guys alike ! There are definitely no democratic fools here in Hong Kong as most of us are now pursuing a geniune universal suffrage in 2017 of our chief executive election and 2020 of our lawmakers as well.Only you and your gang---the supporters of autocratic rulers and anti-democracy idiots/morons who are against the world trend (as most countries in the world are democratic ones and more will turn into in coming years) ! Shame on you and your 'words' uttered here ! Why don't you meet Chairman Mao ( a great dictator in human history) the sooner the better ? I wonder.
hard times !
Hong Kong is never the city of such a guy named 'whymak' who is just a self-hate moron so-called,self-proclaimed literate who is eager enough to attack all democracy-lovers here in the territory.I just wonder why this guy doesn't move to live in the hometown of Ms Chan Chin-sum (the spokeswoman of so-called Care for Hong Kong Power) who lived in Shenzhen a few years ago and grew up there instead of our beloved Hong Kong !
whymak
Reply to chaz_hen:
Mine is the honored Chinese tradition of killing a chicken to warn the monkeys, 殺雞警猴. Please note this is all bloodless and civilized.
I love my city. Fortunately, I am financially independent enough to perform this important public service gratis.
Self-destructive hate passions that destroy social fabric should be everyone's concern. Media commercialism and greed for power are sources of slander of my country and my people.
One falsehood or a single malicious rumor multiplies easily into thousands in the media echo chamber and the Internet. Manufactured consent -- so aptly characterized by Walt Lippmann for the fourth estate -- must be dealt with swiftly but nonviolently.
Except for my passing comments about malicious lunatics, ferocious, rabid illiterates -- as one in this column -- and gross foul mouths, I prefer verbal jousting with both reasoned and misguided folks who write comprehensible English.
Teaching languages is not my bag. English is my 4th language after Cantonese, Kejia and Putonghua.
The logo you use suggests you are a right wing ideologue.
hard times !
yeah,optimize the rising passion of local youngsters in attending the June 4th candle vigil to safeguard our core values while fighting for our democratic goal and human rights on Mainland for our countrymen is nothing wrong in itself but is definitely ignored by the organisers of the June 4th candle vigil who have just one goal in mind ---the vindication of the June 4th victims killed in the bloody crackdown in 1989 by the curfew troops ordered by Deng Xiao-ping.

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or