My Take

Hong Kong’s independence advocates are simply a bad rash

Beijing and the Hong Kong government fret too much about a movement whose leaders are mediocre at best

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 12:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 12:29am

If you suddenly have a bad rash that won’t go away, your instinctive reaction is to scratch like mad. But you don’t need a doctor to tell you that it will only make it worse.

The so-called nativist, or independence, movement has been a skin rash on the body politic of Hong Kong. It’s nothing serious; it won’t kill you. But it may last a while and cause an immense amount of irritation. The more you scratch, the quicker it spreads. That, it seems to me, is what Beijing and the Hong Kong government are doing – trying to get rid of a skin rash that may have no immediate cure, yet is hardly a serious condition. The worst diagnosis is to mistake a few bad spots for cancer.

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Let’s do a biopsy. A common characteristic of our luminaries of nativism or independence has been their extreme mediocrity and/or lack of achievement or just plain work experience.

Take Edward Leung Tin-kei of Hong Kong Indigenous. He migrated here from the mainland and first made his name in politics by being arrested for taking part in the Mong Kok riot during the Lunar New Year in February.

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, formerly of Scholarism, now called Demosisto, helped force the government to shelve national education and mobilised Occupy Central, an action for which he has now been convicted in our courts. He might have neglected his studies for all those protests and, for his tertiary education, managed to get into ... Open University.

Chan Ho-tin and Jason Chow Ho-fai? Both were protesters with Occupy Central and founded the Hong Kong National Party.

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Billy Chiu Hin-chung won fame by sneaking into the PLA headquarters in Tamar with his girlfriend and waving the colonial flag. He has launched “the Alliance to Resume British Sovereignty over Hong Kong and Independence”.

The middle-aged Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan, the father of localism? The former assistant professor, who has a flair for violent and demeaning sexual metaphors in his political writings, failed to have his contract renewed at Lingnan University this summer. Trust me, it’s not because of political persecution.

Some of them are heading for September’s elections for the Legislative Council, which has become the perfect place for people who make a lot of noise but can do little else.

With leaders like these, perhaps we fret too much about the independence movement.