My Take

When it comes to Taiwan affairs, leave it to Beijing to deal with the word ‘national’

China’s foreign and military affairs are none of Hong Kong’s business, yet our bureaucrats made ridiculous demands of Taiwanese artist Suie Lo Shuk-yin

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 9:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 9:59pm

Home affairs chief Lau Kong-wah said the arts community and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department enjoyed mutual trust and respect.

Somehow I doubt that. The fact he was standing in front of reporters yesterday rather indicated the opposite.

Some busybodies from the department apparently asked the producer of an arts group not to publish the full name of her Taiwanese alma mater because it contained the word “national”.

The artist, Suie Lo Shuk-yin, was responsible for the production Three Novels: The Third Lie, staged at Tsuen Wan Town Hall last week.

Lo graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts, but LCSD staff demanded that the word “national”, both in Chinese and English, be dropped in the programme booklet.

With reason, Lo refused. Instead, she rewrote the programme by not mentioning the university at all, though she printed a picture that showed its full name.

The problem is that many public universities and colleges in Taiwan have the word national in their names. So it would be difficult not to mention it. Is it now the policy of the LCSD to ban any mention of Taiwanese institutions of higher learning in programmes and events it is associated with? If so, we ought to be told.

The government was clearly embarrassed yesterday. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said officials were following up the matter.

Lau made a pretence of responding to the news media without saying anything.

“Hong Kong has maintaining very close and active relation with other parts of the world,” he said in his typically broken English. “The cooperation is good, is fruitful.”

Lau could have manned up and admitted the department made a mistake. Instead, his non-response now guarantees more questioning from pan-democratic lawmakers and reporters on a slow news day.

No one questions there is only one China. But how Taiwan names its public universities and whether their naming has implications on this delicate issue is something for Taiwan and the mainland to decide.

As the Basic Law has stipulated, China’s foreign and military affairs are none of our business. It is certainly not something that should concern lowly bureaucrats at the LCSD.