Trump card – Hong Kong politicians have followed US tycoon into the gutter by fanning racist fears
With Legco elections looming, some are seeking to score points by demonising South Asian asylum seekers in the city
Election year brings gutter politics. In America, presidential candidate Donald Trump is fanning the prejudices of voters with promises to ban Muslims and to keep out Mexicans with a border wall.
In Hong Kong, legislator Elizabeth Quat has learnt from Trump ahead of September’s Legislative Council elections. She wants to intern South Asian asylum seekers. Trounced in last November’s district council elections, Quat likely believes she can score points by labelling dark-skinned asylum seekers as criminals who should be locked up.
She is not the only pro-Beijing politician to play the race card. Her Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong is aping the Liberal Party, whose Dominic Lee Tsz-king on Tuesday labelled South Asian asylum seekers as murderers and rapists. He talked of “over 3,800 crimes for the past few years”, but glossed over how many were murders and rapes.
Former security secretary Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong has joined the drumbeat for Hong Kong to quit a UN convention on asylum claimants, denigrating Indians as so poor that they come for the HK$3,000 monthly refugee allowance. These are the same people who denounce localists as bigots for confronting mainlanders who abuse their tourist status to trade in parallel goods.
Lee cited Europe’s refugee crisis as an alarm bell for Hong Kong. Quat cited our 1980s refugee camps for Vietnamese as reason to intern South Asians. Over a million refugees flooded Europe last year. Hong Kong had over 100,000 Vietnamese refugees. And the accumulative backlog of South Asian claimants? About 11,000. Oh my, we’re really being swamped.
How are people like Dominic Lee different from Trump when they demonise a race? An Immigration Department statement to Public Eye’s questions was no better, accusing South Asian claimants of gaming the system, a claim dismissed by human rights lawyer Mark Daly.
Let’s do a reality check. Just 230 asylum seekers were caught working illegally last year. The number for mainland Chinese was 1,609. This does not include the hundreds of mainland women who come here illegally as sex workers or the foreign sex workers in Wan Chai bars. Let’s not forget the mainland gangs who burgle upscale homes and kidnap rich people.
Who has ruined our quality of life more – the 11,000 asylum seekers or the millions of mainlanders whom the localists oppose?
Quat and the others won’t dare answer. They belong to a group whose hands are tied to a puppet string that leads to the liaison office. Hong Kong has only accepted a tiny handful of asylum seekers. Most are fakes who need to be stopped. But let’s not do it by fanning racist fears.