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Hong Kong localism and independence

Any more talk about independence will poison Hong Kong’s way of life

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 2:30pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 2:30pm

Andy Chan Ho-tin, founder of the Hong Kong National Party and independence activist, was given a forum last month by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) to give a talk on his political views. The speech contained humdrum old ideas that could hardly have drawn attention from the people, let alone resonated with them. His less-than-rousing delivery would have done the rest.

However, the event got on the nerves of mainland officials at the Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, who slammed the FCC for abusing press freedom and freedom of speech, and obstructing the city’s rule of law, as it was giving a platform to someone with separatist intentions.

The Hong Kong government, for its part, issued a statement admonishing Chan and the FCC, for its “regrettable” decision to provide “a public platform for a speaker to openly advocate independence” in total disregard for “Hong Kong’s constitutional duty to uphold national sovereignty”.

Chan’s talk at the FCC emphasised that Hong Kong has developed a culture and value system that differs from the mainland, and therefore independence from the mainland is necessary, and called on international powers to help in that effort.

Watch: Andy Chan on why he wants independence for Hong Kong

Though Hong Kong is a Chinese city where freedom of speech is valued, we must not abuse this freedom, or the venomous rhetoric that spreads the misconception of “Hong Kong independence” will infiltrate our next generation. This can possibly spark more vigorous political activism stemming from indignation towards China, adversely affecting our quality of life and livelihoods.

In Hong Kong, we should value our freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed by the Basic Law. But this cannot be enjoyed without reservation.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan