image

Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong Kong independence talk was not a national security threat and warrants a reasonable response

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 August, 2018, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 August, 2018, 3:09pm

I am writing in response to Graham Shaw’s letter, “Stop giving free publicity to fringe group” (August 7) about the talk given by Andy Chan Ho-tin, convenor of the Hong Kong National Party. I agree with Mr Shaw that the government has managed the issue as if it poses “an immediate and existential threat”.

What Chan has done so far is merely talk without taking action, which is nowhere near threatening national security. The government, however, reacted as if his speech was a danger to every citizen.

This is not how a responsible government should behave. Instead of exacerbating the problem, it should have begun negotiations. It is true that the topic of Hong Kong independence provokes discussion and worries some people. Nevertheless, Chan was just expressing his opinion on the future of Hong Kong without doing anything to disturb public order.

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion on whether Article 23 should be legislated to limit freedom of speech. I find the idea of limiting freedom of speech ironic in itself, apart from the fact that free speech is an intrinsic part of Hong Kong’s character and protected under the Basic Law. However, the government views the Hong Kong National Party as a threat that justifies putting a limit on something that should never have a boundary.

Why separatist Andy Chan can’t be charged under current Hong Kong law

More importantly, independence is a topic that could be raised during liberal studies courses in schools. However, once freedom of speech is restricted, students would be deprived of the chance to consider this issue from different angles. This is a topic that requires more academic discussion, not less.

 Cassandra Chan, Lam Tin