My Take

Democratic Party's Stalinist reaction to Nelson Wong's dissent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 May, 2015, 12:42am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 May, 2015, 1:53pm

Like Woody Allen, I prefer under-confident people. Coupled with real-life experience and native intelligence, such individuals are least likely to become fanatical or intransigent. In an age where people are so sure of themselves they are ready to kill others, I am all for self-doubt and uncertainty.

This does not mean under-confident people don't have their own views. It's just that they are ready to change their perspectives and positions in light of emerging new facts and circumstances. Changing your mind does not make you unscrupulous or lack principle. In fact, it takes more courage and integrity than it is to being unyielding, self-righteous and obdurate by insisting you alone know the truth, or what is right or that you are on the right side of history.

As it is with people, so it is with political parties. I don't hold it against the Democratic Party that one of their stewards have dissented from the party line and advocated lawmakers to pass the government's reform package on universal suffrage.

I share democrat rebel Nelson Wong Sing-chi's position but I also respect the pan-democrats' rejection. Still, I find it shocking that his party led by chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing is going Stalinist on Wong.

The plan is to excommunicate and then expel him from the party. Why? For speaking his mind? I don't see how a party that has been at the forefront of the democratic movement since the 1980s should be so intolerant of dissent.

Lau said party discipline needed to be restored. By punishing Wong, Lau said, "we are sending out a very clear and unambiguous message where the Democratic Party stands in the question of constitutional reform."

Frankly, I don't understand how Wong's dissent might have distorted the party's public stance on the government's reform package. All it shows is that it has independent and thinking party members who might not always follow the party line.

The public is not confused by Wong. Rather it's Lau's Stalinism that some people find disconcerting, not Wong's dissent.

Political parties should, by definition, have a party line. This does not mean its members must adhere strictly to it - unless, of course, you are talking about the Chinese Communist Party.