My Take

Ageing Hong Kong pan-democratic politicians seek to influence the West on political reform

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 5:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 6:04am

Beijing has it all wrong. It's not really foreigners who are trying to interfere in our internal affairs. It's a few pan-democratic prima donnas who are trying to influence the foreign policies of a few English-speaking countries vis-à-vis Hong Kong and to internationalise our fight over universal suffrage, something that is clearly a domestic struggle and ours alone to resolve.

If you read the recent official statements on Hong Kong by the US, Britain and the European Union, it's all sweet-nothing diplomatic speak about how they take a special interest in our democracy - in other words, they won't take any action. Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Martin Lee Chu-ming think Beijing's hand could be forced by appealing to a few Western democracies. Given China's fetish about sovereignty and past foreign humiliations, you would think such appeals would only harden Beijing's stance, as indeed they have.

It must be gratifying that Washington rolls out the red carpet every time these two ageing pols pay a visit. But that David Cameron, how rude not even to see them! Britain is a signatory to the Joint Declaration, the former chief secretary thunders. It has responsibility! Yes, but has Beijing actually breached provisions in the declaration, and if so, which ones? I mean actual breaches that Britain or the international community can point fingers at, rather than hypothetical breaches and the wrong use of terms and phrases in their war of words.

Contrary to pan-democratic propaganda about liberties being threatened on all fronts, Hongkongers are freer today than at any time before 1997. More seats in the legislature are directly elected; and however rigged our chief executive elections have been, they have had more people's representation than the way colonial governors were chosen. Hong Kong people have never been freer in their ability to hound the chief executive and his ministers, to the extent a few now dare not appear in public; freer to thumb their noses at Beijing at every opportunity; and freer to protest as much as they want with however many people they want. These are our actual freedoms.

Yes, free election is our right, but let's not exaggerate our bondage and deny basic facts in our fight for it.