Sign of the Times with a localist fantasist

Readers of The New York Times were denied a true reflection of Hong Kong by Yau Wai-ching, who is trying to keep the dying independence flame alive

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 10:25pm

Yau Wai-ching has long ago used up her 15 minutes of fame. But The New York Times can always be counted on to offer an editorial platform for the has-beens and burnouts of the Hong Kong independence movement – to keep the dying flame alive.

It’s rare to find so much deception and self-deception, foolishness, delusion and self-aggrandisement in a single piece. It would have been amusing, if not for the depressing fact that many Times readers who know nothing about Hong Kong would think they were reading something true.

The absurdity starts with the headline: “Democracy’s demise in Hong Kong”. OK, that wasn’t Yau’s fault. Some subeditor came up with it. But the point is, you do need to have democracy first before it can suffer a demise. A Times reader would never have guessed that most district council and Legislative Council seats are now directly elected, and that was not the case under the colonial Brits.

“[Beijing] promised that by 2017 the city would be able to elect its top leader by universal suffrage,” Yau wrote. “Residents pushed hard for this in 2014. They had hope, but it was betrayed.”

Threat of jail and bankruptcy hangs over pro-independence duo

Everyone would have been able to vote last year, and the opposition’s favoured chief executive candidate John Tsang Chun-wah would most likely have won in the popular vote, if the opposition had not rejected the electoral reform package, flawed as it was, being offered at the time.

“Opposition figures are also treated as terrorists simply for assembling and protesting,” Yau claimed. I am unaware of any opposition figure being labelled “terrorist”, let alone treated or charged as one. “Terrorism” is foreign to the vocabulary of our political discourse.

“Dozens of pro-democracy activists have been convicted of minor offences, and some have received lengthy jail terms,” according to Yau. In her mind, every convicted rioter in the Mong Kok riot of 2016 – in which almost 100 police officers were injured – is by definition a pro-democracy activist.

She added: “I was imprisoned for four weeks after being charged with ‘unlawful assembly’ [which] occurred as we attempted to push our way into a conference room to retake our [Legco] oaths.” Well, an “unlawful assembly” that led to the injury of several Legco security guards.

“Only by splitting from China can Hong Kong have true democracy and freedom,” she concluded.

When you are a fantasist, all you can offer is fantasy.