City's activists get more radical to ensure they are heard
From burning flags to declaring love for the Communist Party, both pro- and anti-Leung groups come up with more drastic antics to get heard
Fledgling activist groups - both for and against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying - have heated up Hong Kong with more radical ideas and antics of late.
On one end of the political spectrum, the "We Are Hongkongers, Not Chinese" group, which positions itself against both Leung and the Communist Party, says it is "not against" the idea of an independent Hong Kong - a controversial topic in recent years amid growing frustration with the government.
On the other end, the leader of hardcore pro-Leung group Caring Hong Kong Power declares her desire to join the Communist Party, criticising local Beijing-loyal parties for being "too soft" and indirect.
In the New Year's Day march led by the anti-Leung group to the central government's liaison office in Sai Wan, more than 100 supporters watched as someone raised the old Hong Kong flag to the British national anthem. They demanded that mainland officials stop meddling in local affairs. They accused Beijing and its local body of breaking the Basic Law's Article 22, which promises Hong Kong autonomy in local affairs, and vowed to take further action if the interference persists in the next two months.
The protesters then belted out Can You Hear the People Sing - a song about a revolution against an oppressive government from the musical Les Mis é rables - tore up and burnt the Communist Party flag, and threw Chinese charms over the liaison office gates, shouting for its officials to "roll back to China".
"We chose to march here instead of to the [Hong Kong government headquarters] because the real power is wielded here," said group spokesman Danny Chan Tsz-chun on why they did not join the main march to Tamar in Admiralty.
But he said his group was "on the same front" as other anti-Leung groups. The group, which started as a Facebook community five months ago, has gained more than 27,000 "likes" since it was founded.
The spokesman said he did not think that Hong Kong protesters were radical.
And that was probably the only opinion that he and Caring Hong Kong Power's convenor Chan Ching-sum would share.
Chan Ching-sum, also known by her nickname "Chiu Chow Spicy Girl", questioned the approach of the city's existing pro-establishment groups. She said these groups' messages were often diluted and indirect.
"I would say that traditional mainland-friendly groups are too soft," she said.
"Sometimes, after these groups have spoken up on particular issues, it is as if they had said nothing at all," she said.
But Chan has appeared more controversial than her mainstream counterparts, making no secret of her keen interest to join the Communist Party - an affiliation that has caused much public suspicion among Hongkongers towards the city's leader, whom she supports.
"Throughout the past 30 years, the Communist Party has brought China from [extreme poverty] to space technology advancement," she said. "Being a member of the Communist Party is a glory in the mainland."
Hong Kong Caring Power's debut pro-Leung rally held on December 30 - two days before the New Year's Day anti-Leung protest - was supported mainly by the elderly and the middle-aged. Most of its affiliated groups have links with local patriotic bodies in the northern New Territories.
The event was met with public outcry after one protester was filmed hitting a now TV journalist. Chan was reported blaming the "biased media" for discontent among Leung's supporters, but she said yesterday she was "shocked" by the assault.