Public Eye

Time for mudfest by-election where the two Hong Kong camps reveal their true colours

Opposition always insists Hongkongers want true democracy free of any Beijing meddling, while loyalists claim most residents prefer political harmony

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 7:08pm

There are the loyalists, mocked as Beijing’s lapdogs by the opposition. There are the so-called pan-democrats, derided by the loyalists as traitorous running dogs of the West. Never have the two sides dared fight an election using their definition of the other side as a rallying cry. They have always hid from their true colours in a great pretence to focus on livelihood issues instead.

But they cannot run from their inner beliefs forever. Voters deserve to know where the real loyalties lie of the people they vote for. The opposition has always insisted Hongkongers want so-called true democracy free of any meddling by Beijing. The loyalists have always claimed most Hongkongers are patriots who prefer political harmony to the endless confrontations instigated by the opposition.

Hong Kong will see an unprecedented Legislative Council by-election if our top judges reject the appeals of six opposition legislators disqualified for abusing their oath-taking. Let’s use that by-election as a down and dirty referendum to find out once and for all what the people really want.

Opposition leaders proudly hail Occupy as a massive display of civil disobedience by Hongkongers disgusted by Beijing’s political reform package that vets chief executive candidates. So why have opposition candidates refrained from flying the Occupy flag in every election since the 2014 uprising?

Opposition lawmakers say they had the people’s backing in voting down the reform framework. So why haven’t they proclaimed in past elections they vetoed one person, one vote? Why haven’t they invoked the names of the Youngspiration pair who foul-mouthed China as the voters’ choice who former leader Leung Chun-ying maliciously ousted?

Loyalists claim traitorous opposition leaders instigated Occupy with the help of foreign forces to destabilise the motherland. So why haven’t they dared name and shame opposition candidates in past elections as running dogs? Why don’t they ever wear their loyalist badge on their lapels during election debates?

Will the loyalists dare say in a future by-election campaign the liaison office did not interfere at all to help Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor win the chief executive election in March? Will they insist Beijing is not tightening its grip on Hong Kong?

Do Hongkongers want filibustering, the hurling of missiles, riots, self-determination and mistrust of the central government? Do they want harmony, closer ties with the motherland and whatever democracy Beijing will allow? We need a mudfest election to find out.