HK's young politicos confident in patriotism, divided on one-party rule

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 4:52am

They are Hong Kong's politicians of the future and, despite coming from different parties, they all consider themselves patriots. But while each has no problem defining their idea of patriotism, they differ on whether a true patriot would call for an end to one-party rule.

Holden Chow Ho-ting, the 33-year-old chairman of the Young DAB, a branch of the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, suggested that a Hong Kong patriot would uphold the "one country, two systems" concept and put the country's interest first.

Chow said that while it was acceptable for a patriot to question his own country, he doubted whether someone who truly loved China would demand an end to one-party rule.

"You can call for that because we have the freedom of speech," Chow said.

"But what's next if one-party rule ends? Look at what happened in Egypt [after the revolution in 2011]. I have doubts about whether ending the communist regime would be to the benefit of 1.3 billion Chinese people."

Dominic Lee Tsz-king, the 29-year-old chairman of the Liberal Party's youth committee, held a similar view.

He said a patriot who "loves China and loves Hong Kong" would point out problems and injustices in China's development, such as human rights issues, in the spirit of eagerness or impatience for improvement in the mainland.

However, Democratic Party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei, 28, saw no contradiction between loving the country and calling for an end to one-party rule on the mainland. He believed democracy in China would lead to less corruption and fewer social problems, rather than political chaos.

"I still identify myself as a patriot because … I am Chinese, I love travelling on the mainland," Lo said. "Patriotism is a sentiment towards the nation, the land, culture and the tradition of China … for example, its literature and opera."