Hong Kong political reform

When loyalty to China and loyalty to the Communist Party are one and the same

  • For China’s leaders, the Communist Party embodies the people and the country
  • In business or diplomacy, moral values may come second. That is no reason for the rest of us to follow suit
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2018, 11:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2018, 1:22pm

Ms Christine Loh and Prof Richard Cullen’s recent book, No Third Person, appears to mix up China and the Communist Party of China, leave aside the irony that two “third persons” – Marx and Lenin – have already had their say in China’s internal affairs (“‘Shake off colonial shackles – democracy not only measure of success’”, October 1).

One might feel loyalty to a country, and demand loyalty to a motherland, but that is not the case in China. For China’s leaders, the party embodies the people and the country. The party is helmed by its “core” leader, now President Xi Jinping, whose thought is embedded in the Constitution. What the Communist Party requires, and what the authors appear to be advocating, is loyalty to the party and its leadership.

Next, loyalty means accepting not just China’s existence and integrity (which is fair) and the rule of the party (morally supportable, if pressure for constitutional change were allowed), but also the policies of the party. And that means loyalty to the persecution of lawyers protecting their clients; to the mass re-education of Uygurs in camps; to the abduction of booksellers and their forced confessions to thought crimes.

Finally, Loh and Cullen state that, for the general good of Hong Kong, we must be loyal to China, and Loh has argued that we “use their system to protect our privileges”.

Businesses and politicians need to accommodate the realities, but why should ordinary citizens, academics, lawyers, journalists, artists and truth seekers be loyal to policies they may despise, and park their moral values at the door? In business or diplomacy, moral values may come second. That is no reason to assert that the rest of us should follow suit.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels