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Hong Kong Independence Movement (HIM)
Sunday, 30 May 2010

Please visit our new official Website: http://www.hkfront.org

The Shambles of Democracy

By Chip Tsao    September 22, 2013

It’s no surprise that the record low turnout at the de-facto referendum last Sunday dealt a blow to the democrats. But what turned off voters wasn’t just Beijing’s fury, or the boycott by the pro-China parties, or Chief Executive Donald Tsang and his ministers’ declaration that they wouldn’t participate. It was the alliance of the gang of five, a beauty-and-the-beast marriage between the intellectual elite such as Tanya Chan and street fighters like Cheung-mo (Long Hair) that confused voters as much as a Hammer production of a Dracula movie incongruously starring acting heavyweights Christopher Lee and Meryl Streep as his wife.

Long before the mass resignations of the five in January, Hong Kong voters had been fed up with the in-fighting among the pan-democratic camp. The daggers were drawn when veteran democrat Szeto Wah, who doubted the motivation of the aggressive “Mad Dog” Raymond Wong Yuk-man, wondered out loud whether he had a private agenda. Wong responded with abuse against the long-respected former leader. A witch-hunt was then launched with fingers being pointed at leading members of the Democratic Party, who sided with Szeto and thought that it would be too risky to raise the political stakes at this moment. Some jiggery-pokery was suspected as a rankled Ronny Tong, a leading Civic Party member, tried to mediate the feud. It was a typical Chinese political burlesque, exposed to divide-and-rule strategies, which Beijing is extremely good at. Hence came the shambles.

The five emerged as an amateurish troupe. Wong is a barking demagogue, worthy of his nickname “Mad Dog,” and subject to allegations of large gambling debts. Cheung-mo is a Trotskyist and a romantic follower of Che, the militant Latin American Marxist (who is very much misunderstood by the history-blind Hong Kong Chinese), often seen guzzling beer in Lan Kwai Fong. The pair is a bit like Honore Mirabeau and Georges Danton of the French Revolution—both strong and charismatic figures, but not the stuff of good leaders. But it is the incorruptible Szeto Wah with whom I would lay my bet of trust. As a bachelor who firmly believes in democracy and liberty with a long-standing record of undauntedly fighting British colonialism, the Chinese human rights fighter is never known for being interested in money or sex. As a former secondary school teacher, his mellow and urbane character made him a local version of Uncle Ho Chi Minh, rather than the bloodthirsty Maximilien Robespierre.

But Uncle Szeto was sidelined by the five and his followers were branded as traitors ready to kowtow to Beijing in the name of political compromise. Despite the scene of the Red Shirts on the streets in Bangkok being such a tempting parallel for people-power revolutions, the Mad Dog and his clique failed in their mission. Perhaps it’s not their fault. Perhaps we as Hongkongers are far from ready to scrap the functional constituencies, unlike the French who angrily withdrew from the Assembly of the Three Estates and stormed the Bastille more than 200 years ago. It is money, perhaps, rather than the quest for justice, that is itching in our blood.


Posted by independenthongkong at 1:07 AM JST
Updated: Sunday, 22 September 2013 10:41 PM JST
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Sunday, 25 March 2007
Dictator Hu Jintao

The World’s 10 Worst Dictators

By David Wallechinsky

A “dictator” is a head of state who exercises arbitrary authority over the lives of his citizens and who cannot be removed from power through legal means. The worst commit terrible human-rights abuses.

This present list draws in part on reports by global human-rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International.

6) Hu Jintao, China. Age 63. In power since 2002. Last year’s rank: 4

Although some Chinese have taken advantage of economic liberalization to become rich, up to 150 million Chinese live on $1 a day or less in this nation with no minimum wage. Between 250,000 and 300,000 political dissidents are held in “reeducation-through-labor” camps without trial. Less than 5% of criminal trials include witnesses, and the conviction rate is 99.7%. There are no privately owned TV
or radio stations. The government opens and censors mail and monitors phone calls, faxes, e-mails and text messages. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, at least 400,000 residents of Beijing have been forcibly evicted from their homes.

Posted by independenthongkong at 4:21 PM JST
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Sunday, 20 August 2006
Hong Kong names first snooping chief

 

August 12, 2006, The Sunday Telegraph

HONG Kong has appointed judge Woo Kwok-hing as its first Commissioner of Interception of Communications - a title that is causing as much grim mirth as the commission itself is causing angst among the city's frustrated democrats.

The establishment of the commission followed nearly 150 hours of often fierce debate in the 60-member Legislative Council, Hong Kong's parliament.

The democratic parties expressed concern that, as legislator Emily Lau said, "the law may be used to target political enemies".

But they were, as usual, outmanoeuvred in the parliament, which includes many pro-government appointees, and finally walked out in protest, leaving the law to pass 32-0.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association also opposed the law, which permits covert surveillance of reporters, complaining that their contacts would become targets of secret interception, and sources of information would be lost.

The commission, comprising three judges appointed on Wednesday, will issue warrants from secret courts that give law enforcement agencies the right to read emails and post, bug homes and offices, tap phones and follow suspects.

Justice Woo issued a statement about his "hefty and important" new role, in which he said: "I am deeply conscious of the trust reposed in me to ensure that all (secret operations) must be in accordance with the law and will not be unjustifiably undertaken."

Beijing - which refuses to approve democratic elections in Hong Kong until all candidates can be proved "patriotic" supporters of the People's Republic - has been pressing for a tougher security regime since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty nine years ago.

Other observers of Hong Kong have focused on the pomposity of the judge's title, comparing it to Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Mikado, in which Ko-ko becomes Lord High Executioner and Pooh-Bah becomes Lord High Everything Else.


Posted by independenthongkong at 11:37 AM JST
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Sunday, 18 June 2006
Catholics mark Tiananmen Square anniversary

By Catholic News Service

HONG KONG (CNS) -- Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun joined about 100 Catholics praying for religious freedom and democracy in China while commemorating 17 years since the Tiananmen Square June 4th Massacre.

Cardinal Zen said people cannot forget the 1989 tragedy and should demand that Chinese authorities give a clear explanation, especially in accounting for the hundreds slaughtered, reported UCA News, an Asian church news agency based in Thailand.

The call for democracy and sacrifice had motivated him to spend six months each year in China educating new religious leaders, he said, referring to the time he spent teaching in major seminaries on the mainland from 1989 until 1996.

He expressed his belief that the same motivation "encouraged Hong Kong people to show their concern about state affairs and to commemorate those who were slaughtered in Tiananmen Square."

Participants at the prayer service organized by the Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organizations in Support of the Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China were commemorating the young people and others who were killed on June 4, 1989, when Chinese authorities used military force to suppress a student-led protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Protesters were calling for democracy and clean government in China.

"All they asked for was a clean government -- is that a sin?" The New York Times reported the cardinal as saying. "And what they wished for was a strong nation -- is that a sin? All we're doing is pursuing their aspirations."

The New York Times reported June 4 that Cardinal Zen said the economy has improved and that "some people have earned lots of money, but corruption abounds, the gap in wealth is huge, mines keep swallowing workers and fake milk powder and fake medicines are flooding the market -- is this considered an improvement?"

"If they had listened to the kind advice of the students and workers, would today's country be a better country?" he asked.

Participants at the Hong Kong service, which this year fell on the feast of Pentecost, stuck small crosses onto a large map of China to symbolize evangelization all over the country.

After the prayer meeting, Catholics marched to the nearby local government headquarters, alternating hymns and slogans that demanded a clear and public account of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong have gathered at Victoria Park for a candlelight vigil every June 4 to mark the June 4th Massacre.


Posted by independenthongkong at 11:54 AM JST
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Saturday, 25 March 2006
Hong Kong says democracy could cost citizens dearly
DPA , HONG KONG
Friday, Mar 24, 2006

The Hong Kong government yesterday faced a barrage of criticism for suggesting that introducing democracy would lead to a welfare state and higher public spending.

In a paper to be presented to a government committee today, the Hong Kong government warned that there could be a sharp rise in welfare spending if universal suffrage was allowed.

The paper also says Hong Kong's investment and economic environment might be adversely affected if free elections were introduced too quickly.

The discussion paper sounded the warning as it reported on views it had gathered around the city over the best way forward for constitutional development.

"There were views that as Hong Kong had a narrow tax base, if universal suffrage was implemented ... Hong Kong might become a welfare state," the paper said.

"There are also views that in other economies with full democracy, governments provide a relatively high level of welfare protection but at the same time they are also capitalist societies," it said.

The paper will be presented today to the Committee on Governance and Political Development. The government says it supports universal suffrage but only in the long term.

Pro-democracy legislators accused the government of trying to scare people away from universal suffrage by suggesting democracy would cost taxpayers more.

"It is absolutely absurd," said Civic Party Legislator Ronny Tong. "The government is trying to equate people who want democracy as people who are opposed to the capitalist system."

"Ninety nine per cent of people in Hong Kong support the capitalist system but also want democracy. It doesn't mean that if we have one-man-one-vote, we will necessarily turn into a socialist state," he said.

However, the government's secretary for constitutional development Stephen Lam defended the paper, saying democracy overseas had led to budgetary pressure.

"Overseas where there are systems of universal suffrage and direct elections, political leaders face rather serious public pressures for implementing more public services," he said. "That will have an effect on fiscal prudence and the government's budgetary process."

Posted by independenthongkong at 9:33 PM WST
Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006 9:34 PM WST
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Sunday, 8 January 2006
Trust can go a long way

Michael DeGloyer

The Standard
Thursday, January 05, 2006

Issues of trust dominated 2005. The year opened with millions of Boxing Day Tsunami victims expressing distrust in the initial outpouring of promises of aid from both foreigners and their own governments.
For example, residents of Aceh province, bitterly struggling with the Indonesian army, at first mistrusted everyone. Conservative Aceh Muslims recoiled at thousands of military personnel both foreign and Indonesian arriving shortly after the disaster. The appearance of non-Muslim, non-Indonesian outsiders sparked initial xenophobia and even attacks on aid workers, including one from Hong Kong.

But the wrecking of infrastructure was so complete that there was no choice but to accept outside help. Aceh survivors and other Indonesians learned to trust one another as well as outsiders' good intentions, both in terms of aid and as mediators in the long-running conflict between the province and Jakarta.

With the Indonesian army now reducing its numbers in Aceh after rebel arms surrenders and a negotiated settlement, prospects for peace appear bright.

Sri Lanka, the second worst tsunami-devastated nation, saw trust go in the opposite direction. Government corruption and military responses in Tamil areas destroyed the trust that had begun to bloom after years of Norwegian-led negotiations. So much did trust diminish that Tamils largely boycotted elections held at year's end, handing the presidency to an anti-Tamil hardliner who vowed to settle things by force.

Trust and distrust continued to dominate events throughout the year.

Mid-year the world looked on in dismay as the most powerful country on Earth seemed unable or unwilling to rescue thousands of increasingly desperate refugees stranded by the failure of New Orleans levees. They were not the only thing to fail New Orleanians' trust.

Elaborate evacuation plans and procedures failed. Civil society, city government, and the police failed. State-level government assistance failed. The largest government reorganization - resulting in the Homeland Security Bureau, made after the failures of September 11, 2001, and meant to guarantee rapid, comprehensive response to feared mass-casualty terrorist attacks - failed to respond effectively to the most accurately and fully predicted disaster on record.

Government at all levels failed in terms of zoning, building codes and enforcement, insurance requirements, flood prevention, disaster planning and execution, and recovery operations. Thousands across Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana were bankrupted, made homeless and displaced by predictable natural disasters and preventable damage.

If these blows to Americans' trust in government were not enough, the year also witnessed their vaunted beliefs in limited government, rule of law, freedom, and the rights of individuals all trampled by the most indiscriminate, most widespread surveillance of all forms of communication ever conducted by any government.

Corruption investigations will further test American's trust this year. The issue of trust will likely dominate the 2006 elections.

Locally, trust was also an issue all year.

In January 2005, few could believe Beijing would trust a devout Catholic and Knight of the British realm as chief executive. Fewer could imagine Beijing would trust democrats like Martin Lee and "Long-hair" Leung enough to let them enter the mainland. None believed a pro-democracy lawyer had any chance replacing Elsie Leung as Secretary for Justice or that any democrat would sit on Exco for years to come.

No one trusted Tung Chee-hwa to propose constitutional reforms that even incrementally moved toward democracy in 2007 and 2008.

Donald Tsang began to rebuild trust by doing all these things. But when he called for just enough trust from just enough democrats to pass what most people considered modest but nevertheless real steps forward in our governance, trust failed.

Beijing demanded trust that a timetable for full democracy might be forthcoming after 2008. Tsang demanded trust in his intentions and trust that his package was the best obtainable. Reform failed because no one - Beijing, Tsang, the Liberal Party, the DAB, big business, or democrats - really trusted the people.

Beijing fears majority rule and Hong Kong's democratic example. Big business fears "mob rule" and uncontrolled entitlements. Liberals and the DAB fear fully competitive elections. Tsang fears Beijing, big business and directly elected Legco members. Democrats, far from trusting the public, feared if Tsang's reforms passed the majority might then fail to continue pressing for faster and full democratization.

Last year taught us we cannot be too trusting or too distrusting. But locally, we need more, not less trust for reform to succeed, as it must for governance to improve and accountability to increase. A new attempt at constitutional reform must be made in 2006 with more trust from everyone, in everyone.

Posted by independenthongkong at 3:28 PM WST
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Friday, 11 November 2005
`Bull' leads charge of radio rebels
Activist is set to test officials' patience with another broadcast, write Justin Mitchell and Mimi Lau

Monday, November 07, 2005, The Standard

Eastern district councillor Tsang Kin- shing, who goes by the nickname "The Bull," seems to relish his self-appointed role as a Hong Kong radio rebel.

He's faced government inquiries since he organized a 90-minute October 3 "Citizen's Radio" broadcast on 102.8 FM, within the bandwidth used by the Metro Finance station owned by Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing.

The allegedly illegal transmission, which used content from People's Radio, a Hong Kong Internet station, reached Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and parts of Happy Valley.

A second broadcast is reportedly planned today, from 10pm-11.30pm, using a feed from People's Radio of a talkshow to be hosted by Raymond Wong, who was sacked by Commercial Radio, and legislator Emily Lau.

"I don't know our topic, yet," said Lau. "We just turn up and say whatever we want to say. I think we will talk about political reform."

Tsang, a burly, normally outspoken man, chose to keep mum October 24 when invited by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority to answer questions about the October 3 broadcast.

Just before he was questioned, he and legislator Leung Kwok-hung scuffled briefly with security guards outside the OFTA office when they called for an expansion of Hong Kong's airwaves.

"I chose the right to remain silent regarding the illegal radio broadcast accusation because the questioning was ambiguous," Tsang said.

On the same day, an OFTA official went to Tsang's house and asked his wife for information about Citizen's Radio. She refused to answer, and the visit lasted less than a minute. Tsang was furious and later blasted OFTA.

"[My wife] doesn't know anything about it and is not a public figure. They should come to me and leave my family alone," he said, adding that the government was acting like communists and creating a "red terror."

Wong was also summoned but refused to go to the OFTA office.

An OFTA spokeswoman said the government does not disclose details of an ongoing investigation. "Everything is being conducted using normal investigation procedures," she said.

It's not known how many listeners Tsang's broadcast reached.

"Maybe six or seven people, one taxi driver and others, called us during the broadcast," Tsang said. "It was also a test to see the government's ability to monitor us. We want all citizens to hear what we have to say. We have limited technology and equipment and if the government catches us they will take it. But I'm prepared to face criminal charges."

Tsang declined to give specifics about his transmitter but admitted it cost about HK$10,000. It was ordered via the Internet and can fit in a truck or van and be driven to different areas for future broadcasts.

Pointing to a chart of the FM frequencies assigned to all 13 city stations owned by three organizations, RTHK, Commercial Radio and Metro Radio, Tsang insisted 102.8 is not being used.

"When I listened to 102.8 before, I heard Guangzhou radio," he said.

But he couldn't explain that because FM channels are assigned a bandwidth of 200 kHz, and the midpoint of a channel's range - 102.5 in this case - is used for identification purposes, it means that he was likely squatting on Metro's signal.

"We don't intend to attack any particular station," he said when asked why a frequency on Metro's bandwidth was targeted. "There are 12 stations taking up a lot of space, more than they need."

Tsang said that in an earlier application for a license, he was told two AM spots were available. Why not go AM?

"No one listens to AM and not many Hong Kong radios or radios around the world have AM reception," he said, apparently not attuned to the fact that AM is the frequency of choice for talk radio - such as he is proposing - in the United States.

Eddie Leung, who organized the People's Radio Internet radio site last year, said, "I cannot speak for Tsang, but my opinion is that most people in Hong Kong listen to FM frequencies. Hong Kong people should have a wider choice of media, including more FM stations. The audience currently doesn't have too much choices."

Though Tsang denied singling out Metro Radio's frequency, Lam provided a clue. Lam and other backers had competed with Li for the FM slot. "I spent HK$3 million writing a proposal but, of course, we lost," Lam said. "However I really don't know why [Tsang used] that certain spectrum."

Tsang was a construction worker with a secondary school education who said he became politically galvanized in 1989 by the Tiananmen Square massacre, and went from pounding nails to politics as a full-time district councillor.

He was further inspired to organize Citizen's Radio - which he said has "less than 15 core members and more than 1,000 supporters" and depends on street donations - after the abrupt departure of Lam and Albert Cheng from Teacup.

In September Tsang applied for a license with the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority for a 24-hour FM station featuring public affairs talkshows and live broadcasts of open meetings of district councils and government advisory bodies.

A TELA spokesman said his application is still being reviewed. Tsang said his chances for receiving permission was "harder than winning the Mark Six."

"I know his chances are quite slim," said Lam. "But he's an action man who really tries to get what what he wants, regardless of the end result. That's why people call him The Bull."

Posted by independenthongkong at 3:51 AM WST
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Sunday, 16 October 2005
For the Chinese government a referendum is a threat to the nation


Democratic Party protests demanding universal suffrage. According to Bishop Zen, the referendum is no threat to Hong Kong-Beijing relationship.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Gao Siren, director of the central government's liaison office, said that a referendum on universal suffrage was a “challenge to the country's political and constitutional system”.

Lawmakers from the Democratic Party are behind a push for greater democracy in the Territory; their goal is to get Beijing to agree to universal suffrage and the direct election to the post of Hong Kong Chief Executive. But the referendum they propose is not meant to be binding.

Yet, in an interview with Xinhua, Gao Siren stressed how the referendum was inconsistent with Hong Kong’s Basic Law no matter its form or packaging.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa also said that the proposed referendum was “inappropriate, inconsistent with established legal procedures, impractical and misleading to the public”. He warned that a referendum could seriously undermine the ‘cordial relationship’ with central authorities.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on April 26 had already dashed any hope for full democracy when it ruled our direct elections for the post of chief executive and universal suffrage for the Territory’s Legislative Council in 2007 and 2008.

A referendum “will not help promote [. . .] democracy in Hong Kong,” Mr Tung said, for it “departs from the Basic Law and the [Standing Committee's] decision in dealing with the electoral methods in 2007 and 2008."

The Chinese Catholic Church also weighed into the controversy in favour of the referendum. Some days ago, Mgr Joseph Zen, Bishop of Hong Kong, expressed his support for the measure to gauge public opinion on the issue of universal suffrage. According to the top prelate, finding out what people think “would not undermine the relationship between China and Hong Kong”.

Posted by independenthongkong at 3:47 PM JST
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Saturday, 13 August 2005
Proposed Hong Kong National Anthem

Is it a great country?
Yes, it is.
Is it a great country?
Yes, it is.
Is it a great country?
Yes, it is.
Hong Kong is really great.
Is it our great country?
Yes, it is.
Is it our great country?
Yes, it is.
Is it our great country?
Yes, it is.
I love Hong Kong.
I love it forever and forever.
I love it forever for sure.
Is it our great country?
Yes, it is.
I love it forever and forever!
Why not we call ourselves a nation?
Yes, I think we should do so for sure.

NB: This proposed Hong Kong national anthem can be downloaded on http://www.geocities.com/hk_front/

Posted by independenthongkong at 5:23 AM JST
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Friday, 12 August 2005
A Song for Taiwanese People

Taiwan!
is an independent country
She is our homeland, how come she belongs to China?
The ROC Where? The biggest lie
Construction Taiwan, defend Taiwan, I 'm hugging Taiwan
Work hard!
Work hard!
Word hard!
Work hard to save Taiwan!
Taiwan is our nation!
Hurrah!
Taiwan is our nation!
Hurrah!
Hurrah!
Hurrah! Wow!

Posted by independenthongkong at 2:11 AM JST
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