Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong pro-independence party violates China’s core values, and should be banned

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 8:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 8:54pm

I refer to recent comments from your columnist Michael Chugani “Separatist party ban will put city on slippery slope” (July 26) and former Hong Kong lawmaker Margaret Ng (“Party ban will deal a blow to freedom”, July 30).

Both Mr Chugani and Ms Ng condemned the ban recommended by the police on the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP). I believe in protecting the freedom of speech, but not in this particular case.

Mr Chugani said he was afraid that private political conversations may be classified as treasonous and lead to arrest. This is being a bit over-paranoid. As long as you are not publicly advocating treason and taking action to realise your ideas, you are free to discuss anything you want.

However, the existence of a pro-independence party violates the core values of the country. Separatism is never allowed in any country in the world. Take a look at Catalonia. Even though it held a referendum in October 2017 – seemingly more legitimate than its Hong Kong counterparts – the result was rejected by the Spanish government, and deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium.

What Hong Kong crackdown on pro-independence party means for freedom in the city

Ms Ng said: “All the [actions] police were arguing about were talking, giving interviews, handing out leaflets. All of these fall under freedom of speech, assembly, expression and association.” However, giving talks and handing out leaflets could already be seen as sedition. It is not about the means used, but the nature of what they are doing.

If we allow the HKNP to continue, we will create a real slippery slope. What is the next step after handing out leaflets? Protesting in the streets? Starting another riot?

Some of the extremists brand themselves as “warriors” and are standing ready for “revolutionary activities”. The 2015 Ho Chung bomb plot was an alarming signal. Ten people were arrested that year for plotting to cause mayhem during the Legislative Council debate on electoral reform. (“Hong Kong pro-independence pair found guilty of making explosives”, November 17, 2017). To prevent casualties from such activities, it is reasonable to prohibit the development of such ideas, especially among the youth.

Mutual respect is important. If we don’t want the central government to force enactment of Article 23, we should discipline ourselves not to deliberately challenge the core interests of the country.

Patrick Mak, To Kwa Wan