Date
28 March 2017
Armed with a draft anti-independence bill, Lawrence Ma led a delegation to Beijing last week to lobby the Basic Law Committee and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. 
Photo: HKEJ
Armed with a draft anti-independence bill, Lawrence Ma led a delegation to Beijing last week to lobby the Basic Law Committee and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. Photo: HKEJ

Who needs an anti-independence law?

It’s a dreadful prospect but an independent Hong Kong is a notion that keeps coming back like a bad dream.

And it’s all thanks to Beijing loyalists who find it useful in diverting attention from the ongoing public debate on democratic reform.

The question, obviously, is do Hong Kong people really want independence? The answer is absolutely not.

On Wednesday, Leung Chun-ying cooled the rhetoric by saying his government has no plans to introduce anti-independence legislation, although he reminded Hong Kong people to be alert for the slightest signs of separatism.

But the announcement is not stopping government allies from keeping the issue on the boil — they want China to inject an anti-separatism provision into its statutes.

The latest initiative comes from Lawrence Ma, an Australian Chinese lawyer who is a member of pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

The move was apparently inspired by recent protests against mainland shoppers and parallel traders.

In his mind, the protests are a sign Hong Kong people want nothing to do with China.

Ma reminds us of another pro-Beijing figure, Stanley Ng, leader of the Federation of Trade Unions, who recently urged Beijing to outlaw any activity that mentions independence and to tighten its grip on Hong Kong by pushing for the approval of the mothballed national security law.

Last week, Ma led a delegation to Beijing, armed with a draft anti-independence bill, to lobby the Basic Law Committee and the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

The idea of a Hong Kong city-state has been around for years since Lingnan University scholar Wan Chin raised it in his book Theory Of Hong Kong City-State.

It began to catch on among netizens in the aftermath of last year’s democracy protests. 

But Chin has not offered anything by way of making Hong Kong independence happen or done anything to promote the idea.

It was Leung who drilled it into the public consciousness and made it an official concern in his policy address in January when he singled out a student magazine for publishing an academic discussion of independence.

It was a signal to government allies to get behind the offensive.

Ng began making noises about implementing Beijing’s draconian state security law in Hong Kong pending its own national security legislation.

Last month, pro-Beijing media splashed on claims a Hong Kong Independence Party had registered with the British Electoral Commission in February.

The reports said the party used Hong Kong’s British colonial flag as its emblem, and criticized Chin for suggesting a Hong Kong city-state.

Which makes us wonder why Beijing loyalists continue to harp on a subject about which Hong Kong people could not care less.

Sure, the topic continues to attract comments on social media but there is no evidence any one is taking it any further.  

But people like Ma, who holds an Australian passport, think Hong Kong is going to be in the grip of a revolution anytime soon.

– Contact us at [email protected]

SC/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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