Claudia Mo's anti-mainland motion a cynical masterpiece of campaigning
Hateful and xenophobic as it was, Claudia Mo Man-ching's anti-mainland motion had no hope of passage in the legislature.
The Civic Party lawmaker knew that. However, the real intention was never to win legislative endorsement but to boost her "street cred" with "localists" and enhance the chances of those allied with her party in the District Council elections tomorrow.
The motion "to safeguard Hong Kong from Mainlandisation" was defeated by 34 opposing and 19 in favour. But for campaign purposes, it was a cynical masterpiece.
Mo said mainlandisation referred to rampant corruption, abuse of power and denial of consumer rights.
Yes, these are serious problems on the mainland, and there are many more besides. But it's not like China is making no effort to address them. To think that is willful ignorance or slander.
You can always pick a country you don't like and present a long list of problems it has as its defining characteristics. But to define a country as such is not only blatantly biased, it's little different from hate speech.
But it's election time and no pan-democrat has ever lost votes by bashing the mainland - and self-aggrandising about Hong Kong's "core values" and how special we are - to mobilise their supporters. God forbid we become "just another mainland city", in the favourite phrase of people like "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung.
It never hurts to go for cultural chauvinism against mainlanders to display our superiority. It's good to see people like Mo fighting against the erosion of our civil liberties by exercising theirs to the fullest.
Does Mo think we should stop teaching Putonghua in schools and speaking it in the streets? I wouldn't be surprised. For the spread of the national language is as "mainlandising" as it comes. Perhaps we should stop teaching the Chinese classics in university too, lest our young minds are brainwashed. For surely nothing good can ever come out of the mainland or be produced by mainlanders.
The problem with Mo and her kind is that they equate the democratic fight in Hong Kong with anti-communism against the central government and increasingly, with anti-mainlander sentiments in our social interactions.
This leaves little room for moderates on both sides who try to build bridges.