• Fri
  • Jul 25, 2014
  • Updated: 7:52am
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.

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This article is now closed to comments

321manu
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.
wukeung
Come on Alex! Your last paragraph is just negating your heading if you are truly neutral. lol
nmp_inc
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.
Dai Muff
And the default position of most people's Facebook is friends only. She made her public and calls herself a "public figure".
ykbc
Though most of the times I wish I had time to put down detailed rebuttals to Mr Lo's views, I find myself agreeing with what he said in this piece.
ann.wei.121
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.
mh0908
I prefer "Fair Speech" instead of "Free Speech". But then this world is never fair, is it. This is a recent example free speceh fell asleep and fair speech gone AWOL: "Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders - leaked EU's Ashton phone tape". This was never reported by western media outlet. ****rt.com/news/ashton-maidan-snipers-estonia-946/.
SpeakFreely
Welcome to hk....a monopoly of biz as well as speech....
rsallen
"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.
r6b
I remember the immediate aftermath of the bombed Oklahoma government building, President Clinton cautioned the public "not to assume this was an international terrorist attack"
He was absolutely correct - it was the act of an irrational US citizen.
Personally, I hope CY's daughter is correct, and that the attack was due to some other reason
than press freedom.

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