ON SECOND THOUGHT ELIZABETH WONG CHIEN CHI-LIEN
Column
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Hong Kong localists have grabbed the spotlight – what next?

The big question now is whether proponents of independence believe in the strength of their dreams

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 4:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 10:40pm

There can’t be much doubt that the city’s sixth Legislative Council elections since the handover of sovereignty from Britain to China is the most controversial – so far at least, until the next big controversy comes.

Candidates who wished to run in the election, to be held next month, were asked to sign a new declaration form pledging support for three specific articles of the Basic Law on China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.

And it is obvious that the new requirement is targeted against candidates who wish to promote independence for the city.

What was once considered to be a puerile joke is now given some degree of seriousness and debated on the air and in printed media

To sign or not to sign became the controversy of the month and several applications for judicial reviews were lodged, pending future hearings.

Sure as day follows day, in any free society, controversy sells. It sells like hot cakes.

The perennial truth is that the greater the controversy, the greater is the publicity generated for the very subject of the controversy itself.

And in this case, the form has paradoxically given proponents of independence free publicity, piggy- backing the election.

Independence for Hong Kong, which was once thought to be some crazy bee in some crazy nut’s bonnet, has suddenly loomed large in people’s consciousness. What was once considered to be a puerile joke is now given some degree of seriousness and debated on the air and in printed media.

So when the final list of qualified candidates for the elections is out, it comes as no surprise that candidates who are known proponents of independence for Hong Kong are disqualified from running.

In my view, there are four types of politicians: those who win, those who lose, those who’ve lost it, and those who hang in there, no matter what.

Eight years ago, Michelle Obama famously said: “We want our children and all the children in the nation to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Just last month, Melania Trump echoed beauteously: “We want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievement is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

These words, coming as they do from famous ladies in the United States of America, also ring true universally.

The big question now is whether proponents of independence for the city believe in the strength of their dreams. Well, we’ll wait and see.

Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien was secretary for health and welfare from 1990 to 1994 and a lawmaker from 1995 to 1997