• Tue
  • Jul 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:36pm
NewsHong Kong

'Independence' groups want a stronger local voice in how city is run

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 January, 2014, 2:57am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 January, 2014, 3:59am

Three anti-Beijing groups, which advocate either independence or "full autonomy" for Hong Kong, are sticking to their guns in opposing what they see as interference in the city's affairs by the central government.

All formed in recent years, the three groups - Hongkongers Come First, the Hong Kong Autonomy Movement (HKAM) and The Faculty of Orchid Gardening - are often branded as separatists that demand independence for Hong Kong.

However, Hongkongers Come First is the only group among the three to advocate the separation of the city from the People's Republic of China.

The other two stress they have never demanded that Hong Kong become a nation state.

Referring to a recent rumour suggesting mainland officials had cited the groups as a major concern over their anti-Beijing sentiments, HKAM spokesman Vincent Lau said: "I believe Beijing might have mixed up [the beliefs of] these groups."

The Faculty of Orchid Gardening's chairman, Barry Ma, also said his group did not support the idea that Hong Kong should be an independent nation state.

The rumour arose after Hongkongers Come First activists broke into the People's Liberation Army barracks in Admiralty on Boxing Day, with Beijing expressing "grave concern" over the incident.

"It was Hongkongers Come First who broke into the PLA barracks, not us." Lau said. "We do not want people to mix us up.

"But we have been targeted by mainland officials for a very long time, this is not the first time we have heard about it.

"I hope the officials concerned will come to us and listen to our beliefs on their own."

He said the group, which was formed in 2011, was demanding city-state autonomy - meaning Hong Kong should enjoy the right to autonomy under the "one country, two systems" principle.

The Orchid group, formed in 2012, said it aimed to defend local values and was against Beijing's interference in local policies. Ma said the group did not care if Beijing was talking about them.

Peter Wong Man-kong, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said it would not be surprising if the central government had sent people to the city to study these groups.

"Since Zhang Xiaoming took office [as director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong], he has been actively carrying out duties relating to the constitutional situation of Hong Kong,"

However, Wong said he did not think Beijing had been watching the groups particularly closely as they were only three among many new groups formed in Hong Kong in recent years.

Another local NPC deputy, Brave Chan Yung, said many of his "mainland friends" had expressed worries about growing anti-mainland voices in Hong Kong. The less they knew about Hong Kong, the more sensitive they were to the issue.

"I believe what most citizens want is not Hong Kong independence, but improvement in the implementation of 'one country, two systems'," he said.

The New Territories Association of Societies, of which Chan is chairman, issued a statement condemning the members of Hongkongers Come First for breaking into the PLA barracks.



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This article is now closed to comments

A Hong Konger
For now, Hong Kongers prefer the implementation of the 'one country, two systems' policy in a way that grants HK the greatest degree of autonomy & democracy. Mainly because we see it as the most practical way of achieving some control over our own destiny, without the risks of more radical alternatives. However, now that it is clear that Beijing will deny us any say in our own future while it waits until integration with the mainland becomes more palatable (which it never will - the idea of economic convergence has had the opposite effect and political convergence is a dream), pro-independence movements and parties (once they form a solid ideological platform) will gain real traction and are destined to become a permanent part of our political landscape. Social, economic and ethnic tensions, as well as Beijing's obstruction and the HK Gov's obfuscation of our desires will only accelerate this, given the contradictions within the structure of the HKSAR. Radical action will only increase given the state of affairs, and while we may loathe the disruption it causes, we may look to the pro-independence / pro-autonomy groups as the only ones with a workable strategy, and who are willing to make a real sacrifice for our future as the 'one country, two systems' policy only heightens tensions and looks increasing like a loosing strategy for all involved. Beijing and the SAR gov will have to work hard to avoid this eventuality, but it seems they prefer confrontation to any real reform.
sudo rm -f cy
The "Faculty of Orchid Gardening"? Doesn't give the English reader any clues about the purpose of their Chinese name.


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