Democracy is supposed to be about free speech as much as anything else. But the pan-democrats and their allies are rapidly becoming the most censorious and dogmatic in our society.
Anglican Church Archbishop Paul Kwong delivered a sermon about people who doth protest too much and that we might consider toning, and quieting, down sometimes. It sounded perfectly sensible to me but he was roundly denounced, not least by the organisers of Occupy Central, the very people who are calling for a blockade of our business district.
The Reverend Chu Yiu-ming said it was sad to have "the existence of such a sermon" and that Kwong shouldn't make fun of protesting students who were arrested. Why not, when they complained of having to wait for food, drinks, lawyers and the use of toilets? Perhaps the police should apologise for making the students' stay an uncomfortable one. Officers have already been faulted by critics just for doing their job in a most restrained manner.
It's a sensitive time ahead of the government's expected release of its election reform consultation results next week. In his latest report to the British Parliament on Hong Kong, Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed support for the city's struggle for universal suffrage but otherwise avoided using stronger language that might provoke Beijing. The usual suspects like Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing and Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party immediately jumped on Hague for not speaking out. But poking Beijing in the eye at every opportunity is not the preferred method (or madness) of everyone.
Meanwhile, HSBC and Barclays put out investment reports warning about the impact of Occupy Central. The predictable chorus of critics went into overdrive. According to some parents, the State Council's white paper should not be taught or even discussed in schools. It's the same parent concern group from the fight against national education. As before, it is encouraging others to rat on any unwitting school that tries to do it.
There are many people who disagree with the pan-dems' often obstructionist and destructive methods, if not their goals. Not all of them are Beijing stooges, apologists or opportunists.