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Fearing for the future

THE exchanges between Miss Christine Loh, and Hongkong adviser Mr David Chu Yu-lin show us clearly what to treasure so much in today's Hongkong, and dread in post-1997 Hongkong.

Miss Loh represents what we value in Hongkong today. She is educated, successful, tolerant, cosmopolitan, multi-lingual, cultured and, above all, dares to speak her mind in defence of the rights and freedoms of Hongkong people. To classify her as non-Chinese just because she spent 15 years overseas and loves art is ludicrous. Despite being an appointed legislator, she speaks for everyone in Hongkong in fighting for democracy and the rule of law.

Mr Chu stands for everything we dread after 1997. China will not tolerate dissent in Hongkong. We can now see clearly that three types of people will run Hongkong after 1997 - ultra-nationalists; yes-men, and businessmen. People like Christine Loh and Emily Lau will be classified as non-Chinese. Anyone who kowtows to the wishes of the Mandarins in Zhongnanhai is considered a patriotic Chinese. After 1997, democracy means rule by ''patriotic Chinese''. When you have a Chief of Public Security praising the ''patriotism'' of the triads, we can only wait with bated breath, for the disappearance of the rule of law as we know it.

China's economic reforms were achieved with the help of Hongkong businessmen. Today, more than one billion Chinese watch Hongkong films and TV and listen to Hongkong pop music. Yet, Hongkong people are deemed unfit to govern themselves. The Hongkong envisaged by Mr Chu will be a very sad and sombre place.