• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 5:34am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 2:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 6:03pm

Those who attack Leung Chun-ying's daughter misunderstand freedom of speech

Many who scream loudest about democracy and free speech in Hong Kong are also among the most censorious and dogmatic people around.

The treatment given to the younger daughter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is a case in point. It's immaterial whether you dislike Leung or disagree with his policies. Anyone, including his younger daughter, has the right to defend him. If you feel free to criticise Leung or the government or that it is your protected right to do so, then you must accept those who disagree with you share the same right.

The 22-year-old Leung Chai-yan has angered many people by claiming the attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to had nothing to do with press freedom. She also said some people in the anti-government movement have politically exploited the attack.

As a result, there is practically an online campaign against the young woman full of abusive and venomous comments: "You are more ignorant and shallow than your father." "All CYs are human garbage." These are, incidentally, among some of the more polite comments that could be printed in a family newspaper. I happen to believe Lau's attack has very much to do with press freedom and have previously written a column to say so. But I accept Chai-yan's point. It is, after all, possible that the attack was motivated by something quite unrelated. Who can say for certain when police are still investigating?

As for the charge that some people are exploiting the crime, well, unbiased people can judge for themselves. Trawl through many online forums and tweets, including comments posted to related news reports in SCMP.com and you will find endless insinuations, sometimes outright accusations, that authorities on the mainland or in Hong Kong were behind the attack because only they have a motive to do so. Chai-yan is probably wrong that these people are political opportunists; my guess is that many probably believe it. True believers are dogmatic; this is why opportunists are often preferable because you can negotiate with them.

Free speech does not mean only people who agree with you are free to espouse similar views. It means consenting to and allowing those who disagree with you to do the same.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

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



This article is now closed to comments

Mr Lo and others can sleep very well at night, thank you, because they have spoken up without fear or favour of what they believe is right.
"Free speech does not mean only people who agree with you are free to espouse similar views. It means consenting to and allowing those who disagree with you to do the same."
Exactly. Something the Beijing government needs to hear again and again.
This is an example of the warped "democracy" and "freedom of speech" practised in this city - scary and scarier......
anyone who holds a dissenting view will be vilified.
ubifrancehk -> although i don't agree with everything Alex (or for that matter, any columnist in any newspaper says), i quite appreciate his role. Without him, all we would hear is "one side" of the argument, which it seems is what happens when you have the majority of people throwing around vitriol comments regarding individuals rather than issues.
Attacking CY's daughter simply because she is his daughter would truly be off-side, as it would contravene the usual understanding that family is "off-limits" to quasi-political mud-slinging. However, that's not the case here. CY's daughter is taking a public stand on a public and very high profile issue. And she's not being ridiculed solely because of who she is; she is being ridiculed for what she said, and the lack of substantiation for it. That makes her fair game, just as her father, or Mr. Lo, or anyone who makes public statements, is fair game.
And there is no free speech issue here. No one is denying her right to take a stand, or to be heard. They merely find her position to be stupid. That is a HUGE ENORMOUS difference, and the truly hilarious aspect of this article is Mr. Lo's apparent inability to see that difference.
Indeed, free speech means tolerating dissenting opinions. I wonder if Mr. Lo (and all those who want HK to get cozy with Beijing) realize they're the ones pushing for a system that is devoid of it.
Come On Alex! She threw her hat into a political firestorm and knew it. She is a grown person and can deal with it just like every political or public person does. She might have been a 'private person' before she made her comments but afterwards she jumped two feet into the noxious online public sphere. Trolls others and be trolled. She threw the first punch.
Mr. Lo, reading some of the biased comments here make me sad. My home Hong Kong have become a society where only a one sided and so called popular view is acceptable otherwise you will become an enemy of the common crowd. CY from day one is already doomed to fail, all his policies are unpopular and against the will of HK people, we are made and forced to believe so otherwise we will be sidelined by the society. Who dare to stand up and say " I think CY have done well by carrying reforms in certain areas, at least no pregnant women from PRC will now gatecrash emergency wards to give birth in HK". I enjoy reading your column, at least you still have the courage to write your thoughts and belief which may be against the common view.
This is not an "attack", those are just comments of people (rightfully, in my opinion) disgusted by her cynical comments on the assault on Mr. Lau.
Very honestly, Mr. Lo, and with no intention at all to hurt you, I wonder how you can sleep at night. How can you write such pieces every day when you know (you are smart enough) what is at stake for Hong Kong and its people ?
You accepted her point, do you really understand her point , Mr. Lo ? She is not saying "It is, after all, POSSIBLE that the attack was motivated by something quite unrelated", she is saying " errrmmmm WHAT does the attack have anything to do with press freedom, come on people ". The way I understand it, she is implying that the attack is NOT related to press freedom, and she passed a scornful remark on those who think the attack may be related to press freedom. And she was saying that "for certain while police are still investigating" and you accepted her point Mr. Lo.
Dai Muff
You have freedom of speech. You also have freedom to be called an idiot. If you are not terminally vain it takes about ten seconds to make your Facebook profile open to friends only. Mr Lo also forgets Ms Leung's "you so noisy" and graphic depiction of giving the finger to her critics, the kind of behavior for which the united front commenters here wanted a certain schoolteacher crucified. The mainland has its princelings. HK now has its princesslings.
Incidentally if you want a comparison, just imagine the outrage if Obama's, or Cameron's or Patten's or Blair's or Clinton's kids had given the finger to the people who pay THEIR father's salary.




SCMP.com Account