17 February 2019
Paul Shieh has set an example by speaking truth to power. Photo: EJ Insight
Paul Shieh has set an example by speaking truth to power. Photo: EJ Insight

Hongkongers should speak up against Leung invasion of campus

Paul Shieh Wing-tai SC, the former chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association, recently gave an interview to Cable News during which he mentioned some simple and widely known facts about the rule of law.

His remarks created a heated discussion among the public.

As the old saying goes, “moms are female”. What Mr. Shieh did was simply reiterate some universal truths about the rule of law and be candid about the present state of affairs in Hong Kong.

Why were we so startled by what he said? The reason is that we have confused lies with truth so much in recent years, and fewer and fewer people have had the guts to step forward and call a spade a spade.

Thanks to underground Communist Leung Chun-ying, who rose to power three years ago in collaboration with certain factions in Beijing and the indigenous Communists in Hong Kong, our core values have been shaken and turned upside down, and it has become harder and harder to tell the truth from lies.

Since Leung became chief executive, Hong Kong has become more and more like just another mainland city, and the boundary between the two systems in the “one country, two systems” principle is increasingly blurred.

The principles of a “high degree of autonomy” for the city and “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong” have been superseded by “Hong Kong Communists ruling Hong Kong”.

However, when we look back in time, we can see that Leung is no more than a proxy, and the root of all evil in fact lies in the rise of a syndicate made up of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, national chauvinists, Maoist fundamentalists and some bigwig capitalists in the mainland.

After the July 1 march in 2003, when half a million people took to the streets, the Communist Party was so afraid of the rise of the masses that it secretly adjusted its policy on Hong Kong and began to intervene actively in the affairs of the special administrative region.

First, the Hong Kong and Macau Liaison Task Force, led by the then vice-president, Zeng Qinghong, was formed.

Then Cao Erbao, an official in the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, put forward a theory that advocated the setting up of a “second power center” in Hong Kong, providing the necessary theoretical foundation for the escalation of Beijing’s intervention in the city’s affairs.

Taking advantage of this radical policy shift, the liaison office seized the opportunity to expand itself. It now has seven duty directors and more than a thousand people on its payroll.

The office also has 24 different departments under its command, several district offices across Hong Kong and 17 properties in its name, which makes it like a miniature government.

When Leung assumed office, he was ordered to transform the minds of our young people through the implementation of ideological education in our schools.

Although Leung eventually withdrew the proposed national education syllabus — which caused so much anger among students, parents and teachers — in 2012 under the orders of the liaison office, which feared that it might damage the election prospects of the pro-Beijing camp, some of the content of the syllabus has been resurrected in some schools under disguised names, and insidious brainwashing is underway in many classrooms.

In one primary school, the Primary 6 students were ordered to compose an article on the subject “The Person I Respect Most”, and Leung Chun-ying was designated as the only person they could write about.

The Hong Kong Army Cadets Association, founded last month, is just another example of how communist propaganda is invading our schools.

Of course, the biggest shock came from the recent concerted effort between Leung and the liaison office to lambast Undergrad, a publication of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union, in his policy address and launch Cultural Revolution-style attacks on Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun of HKU’s faculty of law in an attempt to stop him from being appointed as a pro-vice-chancellor.

Much to the dismay of the public, not only the mainstream media but HKU’s management, its alumni, its teachers and its students remained largely silent in the face of Leung’s relentless political attacks.

To make matters worse, the vice-chancellor, Peter William Mathieson, has so far refrained from taking a stand on this matter and remains indecisive about holding an inquiry into whether the government has interfered with the official nomination process for the pro-vice-chancellorship.

Only a handful of academics dared to stand their ground in defense of the academic freedom and integrity of HKU and published a co-signed open letter online.

Their effort to stand against government interference in the university’s autonomy was doomed to be a damp squib, unfortunately, as they were given the cold shoulder by local media.

While a sentiment of indifference and apathy has become prevalent among the general public, Mr. Shieh has set a good example to others by speaking his mind openly.

Only by encouraging more people to come forward and speak the truth can we prevent our society from going further down the path of moral degeneration.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 18.

Translation by Alan Lee

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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