Public Eye

Snowden's praise for HK's freedoms can be milked

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 4:12am

How is it even possible? But US whistle-blower Edward Snowden says it is. The ex-CIA man says Hong Kong is so free that he fled the United States - that beacon of freedom - to spill the beans here about a massive American cyberspying programme that tracked e-mails and phone calls globally. Surely Snowden's praise for our city's freedoms can be turned into a slap in our pan-democrats' face if the Beijing loyalists play their cards right. The democrats have long labelled Hong Kong as a society of shrinking freedoms under Chinese rule, hence the Occupy Central movement for true democracy. But now an ex-CIA spy says we're freer than the US. Let's see how the loyalists are going to milk this.


Repeat of Tiananmen would never happen here

Come July next year, we could see the People's Liberation Army's tanks rumbling through Central, soldiers firing indiscriminately at peaceful protesters, and blood-soaked streets littered with dead bodies. That's the wild imagination of those convinced the central government will crush the Occupy Central civil disobedience protest with a June 4-style crackdown. If tanks do rumble down Queen's Road Central, we'll need a volunteer to defiantly stop them in their tracks like that heroic young man who stood in front of the Chinese tanks rolling towards Tiananmen Square. How about "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung? Maybe he can throw bananas at them. Or Benny Tai Yiu-ting, the movement's mastermind? He could sit cross-legged in front of the tanks to prove he meant it when he said the protest would be non-violent. But seriously, do you really think mainland leaders are such numbskulls that they would order a bloody crackdown? Think of what the bullets would hit aside from peaceful protesters - Harvey Nichols, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, H&M, Gucci, the newly-opened Topshop, and yes, HSBC. They are all along Queen's Road Central. The images of these bullet-ridden brand-name stores would be circulated around the world like that 1989 picture of the man in front of the tanks. A violent crackdown would plunge Hong Kong into a far deeper economic and political crisis than Occupy Central. Today's mainland leaders are savvy enough not to risk that. The China of 1989 is not that of 2013. And Central is not Tiananmen Square. Only idiots would believe Tiananmen could happen in Hong Kong.


Government has a role in hate crime against Filipinos

Don't blame just the Hong Kong thugs who hurled bottles and racial slurs at Filipino fans and players after the local side lost in last week's soccer match. Blame our government, too. It was an accomplice in the hate crime. Its refusal to lift the black travel warning against the Philippines three years after a crazed ex-policeman killed eight Hongkongers makes it an accomplice. The travel warning is in itself a hate crime. It has more to do with racism than with the safety of Hongkongers. Not one Hong Kong tourist has been killed in the Philippines in the past three years. But a mainlander was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. Gunmen are killing people with alarming regularity in the United States. Mainlanders and Hongkongers are routinely mugged in Paris. So why aren't the US and France on Hong Kong's travel alert list? Take a look at the countries on the list. It reeks of racism. By keeping the travel warning intact, our government is sending the message that Hongkongers can treat Filipinos like dirt.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host.