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Hong Kong localism and independence

What Hong Kong independence activist Andy Chan’s FCC talk revealed about divided city

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 5:03pm

I am writing to respond to your reports on the talk by Andy Chan Ho-tin at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (“Separatist leader Andy Chan denounces China as ‘threat to all free peoples’”, August 14) and (“Hong Kong pro-independence leader defies Beijing to speak at FCC”, August 14).

There were protests both for and against Chan outside the FCC. Pro-Beijing demonstrators waved the Chinese flag and warned of a conspiracy to split Hong Kong from China, urging “zero tolerance for Hong Kong independence”, while the other side raised slogans about protecting Hong Kong’s free press and the freedom of speech.

I cannot imagine what the future of Hong Kong will be like if such polarisation continues. After reading the articles, I found myself asking two questions. First, whether such protests are the right way to convey to the government one’s views on “justice”. Second, whether the FCC furore had brought the issue of Hong Kong independence centre-stage once again, after it had receded from public debate for a while.

I disagree with demonstrations as a form of protest, as heightened emotions make it difficult for protesters to strike a balance between “just talk” and violence, if their ideas are rejected. There are better and more efficient methods of protest, such as debates in public forums or on television. The general public would then also get a chance to participate in the conversation.

Some might call this utopian thinking, implausible in today’s world, but at least we could try it first.

Watch: Activist Andy Chan delivers FCC talk despite protests

Moreover, thanks to the Andy Chan controversy, Hong Kong independence has become a hot topic. People from all walks of life, students, workers and senior citizens, are discussing this issue.

But I don’t see the point. Hong Kong has always been a part of China. Chan, the founder of the Hong Kong National Party, told the FCC that: “We were once colonised by the Brits, and now we are colonised by the Chinese, where is our right to determine our own future?”

This simple sentence strengthened my stance, which is the opposite of that of Chan’s. There is no question of Hong Kong becoming independent from China.

But the protests did make me worry about the future of Hong Kong, about the quality of its citizens and their respect for the city’s core values.

Sky Kwan, Tseung Kwan O