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  • Sep 15, 2014
  • Updated: 7:48pm
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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

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This article is now closed to comments

pslhk
Ah Fook
Correct me if you could
(1) you worked in air terminal logistics (moving cargoes on / off planes)
that’s your expertise in the aviation industry
(2) SCMP pays you by the number of words in your draft
that’s why your gibberish is long-winded
(3) what appears in your column is intensively op-ed
(operated by editor ; ie, facelifted)
to translate your “Russian” into readable english
Of course I won’t judge you by your background
But your commentaries show that
perhaps you’re fit for menial and not mental labor
Even the breaded old chap above can’t save HK,
if Ah Fook represents HK’s mind
and Forty Thousand (how sweet?), HK’s conscience!
I miss the “AnHum” decorations in Forty Thousand’s sentences
My confession
I haven’t read your column
A friend has forwarded his comment on your rubbish
He is a kindly learned and patient one
-
"hard times ahead"?
I can't agree more
With unlearned "democatic" fools like hta!
what else can we expect?

the sun also rises
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.
the sun also rises
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.
the sun also rises
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.
the sun also rises
as our respected Taipan,Albert Cheng King-hon said,people (the Chinese people all over the world) always remember June 4th (the military crackdown of a peaceful student protest in Tiananmen Square) masscare. We should put aside our differences---the usage of the slogan to commemorate the day when a bloody suprression of our unarmed countrymen was committed in 1989 on the early morning of June 4th around the Square--in Chang An Avenue and the alleys near the Square after the protesting students were forced to leave there under gunfire. We should pay our respects to those who bravely scarificed their lives for a better democratic future for us all ! Absolutely right ! Taipan !
whymak
"...OPTIMISE (my emphasis) this rising passion stemming from the June 4 commemorative events. "
Sorry, despite help from your editor, your English illiteracy still shows. One optimizes around an objective (function) defined by a set of variables. Optimization implies finding the "best" trade-offs among these variables. Where are your variables and trade-offs? How do you optimize an objective with only one variable, i.e., passion?
Without definitions and logic, everything here is gibberish.
Do you claim to have a degree in aeronautical engineering? Then you must know what I am talking about.
the sun also rises
being a political commentator, Taipan is much better and qualified than this self-hate self-claimed short-time teacher and a so-called scientist named 'whymak' who is only keen on fiercely attacking all democracy-lovers here in town: Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting who co-organised the civil-disobedience movement,'Occupy Central'; the frequent contributor here,pflim040 and now our respected Taipan,Albert Cheng King-hon whose English is much better and superior to this so-called,'whymak' who has once been advised by pflim040 to go home and brush up his English before returning here to bark at the democrats in town.Yet this nasty good-for-nothing'literate' never takes advice but remains a die-hard hired blind loyalist of the autocratic ruling regime---the Chinese Communist Party and its government ! Shame on him and his words uttered in SCMP which used to pollute this paper and the eyes of her readers ! Shame on this nastiest fellow !!
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?
the sun also rises
what ? this nasty guy named 'whymak' who once claimed to be a teacher (for a short while) and a scientist as well (maybe political science only) has superior intelligence ? What a joke indeed ! This nasty **** is nothing at all but a hired so-called 'writer' of this Comment column to attack all democrats in town and their supporters or followers.And he used to accuse a frequent contributor here (pflim040) as an illiterate.Maybe this moron ( a term he used to use to attack his enemies),'whymak' is just a local blind loyalist of the autocratic ruling regime in our North only ! What a shame ! Never over-praise this nasty guy who is just a big shame of all intellects of Chinese origin ! Right ?

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