Sixtus “Baggio” Leung during the controversial oath-taking session in Legco. Photo: Sam Tsang
Public Eye
by Michael Chugani
Public Eye
by Michael Chugani

No one wins when Hong Kong lawmakers play patriot games

The real patriots are ordinary Hongkongers upset by localists using the derogatory term ‘Chee-na’

How patriotic are those who play patriot games?

Come everyone, let’s play patriot games. To play, you must answer a question. What’s more traitorous: a Beijing loyalist who surrenders his British passport at the last minute to qualify as Legislative Council president, or two young localists who use “Chee-na”– a variation of the derogatory Japanese wartime word “Shina” – to describe China while swearing in as legislators?

Here’s a clue: Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen clung to his British nationality while portraying himself as a Chinese patriot. He dumped it only for political expediency. Youngspiration legislators Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang humiliated their own race with an insulting Japanese occupation word. But then they deny being Chinese even though their names and appearances betray them.

Andrew Leung presents the notice of his renunciation of his British nationality. Photo: Sam Tsang
So, mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most patriotic of them all? Give the mirror a break. It can only reflect what’s in front of it. It can’t know what’s in Andrew Leung’s heart, nor can it know if Yau and Leung were aware of the historical context of “Chee-na”. I wasn’t until the pair’s use of it outraged Chinese people. Both were likely clueless until coached into using it by people who knew exactly how to hit a raw nerve.

Patriotism is a shield that defends noble causes yet is defenceless against those who use it as a political tool. The opposition predictably taunted Andrew Leung for holding British nationality while in a top position in the loyalist camp. They’re using this as a lever to dislodge him as Legco president, arguing he didn’t renounce his British nationality soon enough.

The loyalist camp sees nothing wrong with Leung’s British passport but plenty wrong with the localist pair’s use of “Chee-na”. It wants to use that as a lever to dislodge the two as legislators. How patriotic are people who play patriot games? Was Chief Executive C.Y. Leung patriotic when he nudged his wife to close her umbrella during the national anthem on a rainy national day after liaison office boss Zhang Xiaoming closed his? Are people such as “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung patriotic when they burn the Japanese flag in front of TV cameras?

The true patriots are the ordinary Hongkongers genuinely upset by the use of “Chee-na”. The Youngspiration pair will have a second chance to swear in today. Will they be sensible enough to eat humble pie?

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