A war of words has erupted between a prominent "Tiananmen mother", whose 17-year-old son was killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, and a Hong Kong group pushing for a reversal of Beijing's stance on the pro-democracy movement.
Professor Ding Zilin, founder of the Tiananmen mothers support group, yesterday criticised as "stupid" the slogan adopted by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China - "love the country and love the people".
Ding alleged that Tsui Hon-kwong, a member of the alliance's standing committee, demeaned her integrity amid continuing debate among supporters of the alliance over the slogan it adopted for this year's June 4 vigil at Victoria Park.
Ding said that the alliance had written to her earlier to ask her to show support for the theme but she thought "love the country" was not appropriate.
Tsui, a member of the standing committee of the alliance, then criticised her in an email reply, saying that she did not understand the situation of the alliance and Hong Kong, and that she had "Stockholm Syndrome" and took pity on the Communist party, Ding said.
She told the South China Morning Post late last night from Beijing that she is furious with Tsui's accusation.
She said she never intended to get involved in the debate over the slogan and only responded after a standing committee member of the alliance wrote to her seeking her views.
"It's an insult to my integrity," Ding said. "It hurts me … and I am waiting for his apology."
She said the alliance's "patriotic" slogan is not appropriate and out-of-sync with what mainland people currently think.
"You can read the 36 open letters we [the Tiananmen Mothers] issued. Did we ever mention the word 'patriotic'?"
But she also said those "nativism activists" should bear in mind that besides "two systems", there is always "one country".
"The mainland and Hong Kong compatriots share the same origin … if there is no democracy on the mainland, there is no guarantee to Hong Kong's 'One Country, Two System'," Ding said.
Meanwhile, a University of Hong Kong poll has found that the number of Hongkongers demanding a U-turn of the official stand on the June 4 incident has climbed to a new high since the handover.
At the same time fewer people than ever think that human rights conditions on the mainland have improved since the military crackdown.