China As It Is Hong Kong As It Is

Ching Cheong’s tears

The veteran Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong was finally released by the China authority, on the eve of Chinese New Year, who had spent more than 1000 days in jail for allegedly spying for Taiwan. 

His family, the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association and many friends of his, had been trying different ways to secure his release since his detention, with the belief that he is innocent.

During those 1000 plus days, his father died. To lessen Ching’s misery, his family hid the sad news from him.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, Ching asked for his father, when he saw that all his family was there, except his father. Only then was he told of the passing of his father. His tears started to flow.

Hong Kong As It Is

A sad day for Hong Kong

The China Government dictated today that Hong Kong people can only choose their head of government in 2017 – 10 years from now – I hope I am still alive. As for the universal suffrage for legislative council (i.e. parliament), that will be implemented after the universal suffrage of the chief executive of Hong Kong. No timeline has been set on this.

In the public consultation carried out by the Hong Kong government earlier, over 50% of the Hong Kong people support universal suffrage of chief executive and legislative council in 2012. However, our current chief executive Donald Tsang recommended to the China central government that it is better for Hong Kong to have the universal suffrage in 2017, though he admitted that over 50% of the Hong Kong people want universal suffrage in 2012.

He is appointed by the China Government and knows what his boss wants. So to no one’s surprise, the China Government has adopted his suggestions.

And do not imagine that we can have real universal suffrage in 10 years time. Who can be the candidates and how are they produced? We, Hong Kong people, have no say on the rule of the election game. Will you trust the China government to allow Hong Kong real democracy when it dictates that this city’s people can only choose their government head, not to mention legislative council, in ten years time? The answer is abundantly clear.

Of course, it is understandable that why China does not want Hong Kong to have democracy. It is the fear of people in Mainland China to demand democracy, following the example set by Hong Kong.

Hong Kong won’t have real democracy, unless there is major change in China politically. And I don’t see that is coming. So I don’t see Hong Kong people can have real democracy anytime soon. Not in 10 years – that is for sure.

Hong Kong As It Is Hong Kong As It Was

A city view to be lost – graham street market

Hong Kong’s oldest open air market in Graham Street and nearby lanes in Central is set to be demolished, to pave way for the redevelopment of the area. A so called “old street” will be created, in an attempt to represent the old days of the neighborhood. But don’t be fooled. The shops and buildings in the “old street” are mere replicas.

The Hong Kong government, as always, has a logic of its own: the replicas can replace the original, especially the old, which are run down and obsolete. So why not just tear down the old rather than preserve them? Conservation is time and money consuming, anyway.

And do not forget that tearing down the old is a very profitable business for the territory’s powerful quarters- the property developers. With redevelopment of the Graham Street area, a 96,000 sq ft hotel, a 400,000 sq ft commercial building, and two residential buildings accommodating 290 units will be put up here. There is no need to say who benefit most from the redevelopment. Btw, who can afford to live in these two luxury residential buildings in this very prime area of Hong Kong? The wealthy, of course.

That is how Hong Kong’s general public is being rid of their public space and heritage in a city whose government knows only redevelopment but not conservation.

Besides Graham Street, there is Wedding Card Street in Wan Chai being torn down and re-developed. Before, not long ago, we witnessed the sad fate of Star Ferry pier in Central.

Hong Kong As It Is

Distortion of history

I was shocked to hear from the news that the Hong Kong Canto pop song “At the foothill of the Lion Mountain” (獅子山下) was named the most well known “national affair song”(國情歌) in a survey among secondary students. How was it possible that the song is about national affair when the song, as every Hong Kong adult knows, is the theme song of a very popular TV series in the 70s about the lives of Hong Kong people? It is a song about Hong Kong, a city, not China, the whole country.
I am not blaming the secondary students for the survey result, but I do blame the organization which conducted the survey, the Boys and Girls’ Club of Hong Kong. This was a glaring distortion of historical facts. How can the NGO did such a thing to the yet-to-mature minds of secondary students? It is obvious that history is easy to distort, not to mention a survey.

The reason to distort history in this case is understandable. The buzz word in the town nowadays is patriotism and nationalism. So even if something has nothing to do with nationalism/national affair, some people will make it possible that “this something” finds its way to relate to it.

Hong Kong, sadly, is losing its diversity and identity day by day.

Hong Kong As It Is

Cultural Revolution and Democracy

I know Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, is not a politician, but only a civil servant, as he has always been; I know he is not a leader, but only an administrator.

But I never expected that he can be so bad. He can be so ignorant of history that in a radio program, he cited China’s Cultural Revolution as an extreme case of democracy, while Cultural Revolution is in fact a good example of how dictatorship can destroy a whole country.

Further, Tsang thinks if people have all the power, there can’t be good governance. In other words, democracy, people’s power, is at odds with social development and good governance.

It cannot be clearer that why Tsang was picked by Beijing to be the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. His idea about people’s power/democracy, something Chinese government is very fearful about, is just so similar to that of his boss.

View here for the text of Tsang’s interview on the radio program.