Hypocrisy is unacceptable, whether outside or within the democratic camp

Michael Chugani says with their blatant double standards, Hong Kong's so-called democrats have distorted the meaning of democracy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 May, 2015, 1:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 May, 2015, 1:43pm

This is the last time you'll see me in this space. Time for a change - for this space and for me. Change - a small word that can mean so many things. American President Barack Obama used it to win the world's most powerful political office. People say I have changed. One long-time friend, who was somewhat intoxicated, even chided me in public. We exchanged heated words, apologised, and still remain friends.

Have I really abandoned the democratic cause? Not if I separate Hong Kong's so-called democrats from democracy. I no longer blindly support the former but still cherish the latter. Supporting our so-called democrats is not a prerequisite to be defined as supporting democracy. No one has a monopoly on democracy. I voted for Obama and Al Gore, not that I need to prove my democratic credentials.

If supporting democracy means applauding those who demand the right to be heard but who hurl drinking glasses or shout down others who speak, then it's not for me. I cannot bring myself to support those who disrupt a school debating contest to heckle political foes in the name of democracy.

It is not democracy but double standards when our so-called democrats cry political persecution after one of their own is fired as a radio host but say nothing when one of their own fires a radio host who is not one of their own. What else but "hypocrites" do you call those who say it is free speech to expose dirt on others, but call it white terror when others dig up dirt on them?

Not giving a free-to-air TV licence to Ricky Wong Wai-kay is a muzzling of the media but demanding the closure of ATV is not. The Hong Kong Journalists Association, which now behaves like a political party, raised hell over the firing of radio host Li Wei-ling but said nothing when so-called pro-government columnist Chris Wat Wing-yin received death threats and when ATV failed to pay its reporters. If pointing out such hypocrisy makes me a democrat turncoat, I'll proudly wear that label.

Am I a Beijing stooge for saying it is folly to combine the fight for Hong Kong democracy with opposing the Chinese Communist Party? If I am, then so are many of the students who fronted Occupy Central. Here's why the Hong Kong University Students' Union will hold its own June 4 vigil this year instead of joining the one in Victoria Park: students want to pay tribute to victims of the crackdown, not use the anniversary to oppose Chinese communism.

They believe what I believe: we must fight for Hong Kong democracy for its own sake, not as part of an attempt to democratise China. It is up to mainlanders to democratise China, not Hongkongers.

Legislators Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho Chun-yan said this week fighting for Hong Kong democracy and against Chinese communism is one and the same thing. I suggest they find wisdom from the students.

No, I have not changed. It's the current crop of so-called democrats who have warped the true meaning of democracy. Waving the flag of genuine democracy doesn't make them true democrats.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. [email protected]