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  • Jul 10, 2014
  • Updated: 8:46am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 1:36am

June 4 slogan row may spell the death of patriotism

The annual June 4 commemoration used to be a simple event. It was to mark a brutal chapter in communist rule and to ensure its victims would never be forgotten. Not any more.

As with everything else in Hong Kong that has to do with politics, things are getting complicated this year. A row over what slogans to use may seem petty to outsiders, but it points to deeper fissures within the pan-democratic camp.

The Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, once branded subversive by Beijing, has been organising the event ever since half a million people hit the streets in 1989. As part of its long-standing opposition to one-party rule on the mainland, it has its own version of democratic patriotism to compete with the state-sponsored nationalism espoused by Beijing. But even the central government respected the late Szeto Wah, an alliance founder who had always identified himself as a patriot and anti-communist.

This year the alliance came up with what must seem like an obvious slogan: "Love the country, Love the people, That's the Hong Kong spirit." This was to be followed by shouts of "vindication of June 4; never give up". To organisers like lawmaker and alliance chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, it was a straightforward slogan.

A democrat, he believes loving China does not mean loving the ruling party, but fighting for democracy. This patriotic way of thinking has been axiomatic to most old-time democrats. But Lee was forced to make a U-turn yesterday by announcing only the second part of the slogan on vindication would be used. Why?

The immediate cause is that Ding Zilin, founder of the Tiananmen Mothers support group, criticised the slogan as misguided. But the truth is that more and more local activists - especially younger ones - no longer share the alliance's or Szeto's patriotism. To them, China might as well be another country. Their activism stems not from love of country, and the need to change it, but to keep it away. They identify with Hong Kong and consider the fight for democracy a way to preserve or create a semi-autonomous city state.

This is a new political force that will challenge not only Beijing and the Hong Kong government, but also traditional democrats like Lee.

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likingming
Between love and hate, we can select "don't care". If we turn up to the annual June 4 commemoration, then we love our country and hate the handling by the chinese govt then. So should we keep the word patriotism ?
the sun also rises
See you (local Chinese with conscience and peace-loving) all on June 4th this year at Victoria Park to commemorate the brutal chapter of Chinese Communist rule on Mainland China---the bloody crackdown of a peaceful protest at Tiananmen Square by military personnels carrying assault rifles with fatal bullets (which were banned internationally) and tanks rolled upon unarmed protesting students in alleys near the Square where they were forced to leave under gunpoints ! Butcher Deng Xiao-ping and his elderly colleagues *called the eight old guys together' ordered the curfew troops to open fire at all citizens around the Square(for violating the curfew law maybe but on the excuse of trying to overthrow Communist Party rule) late in the night of June 3rd after broadcast calling citizens in Beijing to leave the Square and Chang An Avenue---I remember I told my wifethat a massacre was going to take place.Unfortunately my prediction turned out to be right.Massacre is massacre and can never be whitewashed such as 'the rape of Nanking' by Japanese invaders in 1937 and the massacre of the Jews during WWII by Hitler's men. Economic development in the past 24 years can never redeem the serious anti-human crime committed by the then CCP leaders led by Deng Xiao-ping and his alike (Li Peng is still alive now yet he may be punished after death in the underworld for his guilt). Right ? See you all at the candle vigil on June 4th evening at Victoria Park ! Okay ?
jkhleung
"Love China but not the CCP" is an anti-CCP slogan, pure and simple! Maybe we should coin this slogan: We want democracy but not the pandems!!
the sun also rises
Maybe we should coin this slogan:We want righteous and sensible writers here but not you and your alike who have no sense at all !
shouken
Why should we allow Tiananmen mothers to influence our perceptions of and judgments on the June 4th? Because they were victims? Most victims can never be counted on to provide impartial opinions. Allowing them this much sway belies weak intelligence and character among many of HK's self-appointed public intellectuals. They disappoint because they bow too readily to pressures of public opinion, as though the public is reliable adjudicators of political values. One has to be constant like the northern star to be visionary leaders.
qiaohan
You are assuming that HK makes its decisions based only on the feelings of the Tiananmen mothers. I think most HKers are reasonable people and are well-informed enough to make their own decisions.
wwong888
you are a ****
jay.lamb.9400
Now that The Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China have dropped patriotism from their slogans, they should drop the word "Partriotic" from their name as well. If they're honest enough, they should also insert the word "anti-communism" to their name.
lucifer
As long as they insist on equating Patriotism with acceptance of the Communuist Party's authrortartian rule of China, then its doomned to failure.
shouken
Love China = Love the CCP? Where do you get that equation? Now I really believe there are illiterates who comments on the SCMP. There are plenty of people who love the country but hate the government, in any country or region. Nationalism boosts CCP rule? Show me which country in the world is not nationalistic. Nationalism is merely localism in global space. Repeating orthodox fare in western media shows a lazy mind.

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