26 October 2016
Commercial Radio host Lam Bun was killed as he was driving to work during the 1967 riots. Assailants poured petrol over Lam and his cousin and set them on fire. Photos: Wikipedia, internet
Commercial Radio host Lam Bun was killed as he was driving to work during the 1967 riots. Assailants poured petrol over Lam and his cousin and set them on fire. Photos: Wikipedia, internet

Pay tribute to Commercial Radio, not former union chief

The relationship between Hong Kong and China has been affected by many factors, but Hongkongers cannot forget how pro-Beijingers caused great damage to our society during the 1960s.

They did this by launching a series of political struggles against their anti-communist enemies, which laid the foundation for Hongkongers’ distrust of the Communist Party.

So, older Hongkongers will find it strange that the government issued an obituary for Yeung Kwong, a former chairman of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, paying tribute to him for his significant contribution to the local working class — but ignoring his key role in the political struggle in the ’60s, in which 51 people in Hong Kong died.

The government’s “cold-blooded” attitude toward the victims of the 1967 riots, led by pro-Beijing activists inspired by the mainland’s Cultural Revolution, has drawn criticism from the Commercial Radio program Flat C, 18/F.

The station was itself a victim of the riots, as the show’s outspoken host, Lam Bun, was killed by pro-Beijing loyalists after he criticized them.

On Monday, Flat C 18/F criticized the government’s obituary, saying Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should not have praised Yeung in such a high-profile manner for his contribution to local workers while ignoring the harm he did to the community by leading the 1967 riots.

“The 1967 riots led to a long recession in the Hong Kong economy. Many people were killed and injured, including Lam Bun,” the program hosts said.

“However, Yeung, who was the chairman of the Anti-British Struggle Committee, was honoured by the Hong Kong government with a Gold Bauhinia Medal in 2001, the city’s highest honour, without mentioning his role in the 1967 riots.”

“And now the government is praising his lifetime contribution. The government is repeating an error and rubbing salt in the victims’ wounds.”

The program hosts criticised those who decided to award the medal to Yeung, arguing that the action encouraged Hongkongers to embrace violence.

Then the program attacked Carrie Lam, saying, “She was incubated by the British Hong Kong authorities, but now she praises Yeung for his contribution. Isn’t she biting the hand that fed her?”

The hosts said: “The pro-Beijing loyalists should be very happy, as Lam’s high-profile tribute to Yeung demonstrated Beijing’s success in the work of its united front leading to the kowtowing of former British Hong Kong officials.” 

Hong Kong has never recovered from the wounds inflicted by the 1967 riots, even though the city has been under communist rule since 1997.

The elder generation of Hongkongers still remembers how the pro-Beijing leftists set off explosions on the streets and set fires in public places to express their anger about British rule.

Brainwashed by the Communist Party, they never admitted they had done anything wrong during the riots.

They just thought they were doing what they believed in at that time.

One example is Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-shing, who was jailed after he was arrested for distributing leftist leaflets in 1967.

Beijing loyalists have been criticising the pan-democrats for not embracing Beijing’s direction and refusing to adapt to being Chinese under Communist Party rule.

But the fact is that Hongkongers prefer to distance themselves from political issues. 

They don’t often express their political views.

But they prefer to take to the streets to protect the interests of Hong Kong; for example, to uphold the core values of the city, including transparent government and fair and open elections, as well as to fight for a democratic roadmap to achieve better governance.

All these are good for Hong Kong and could benefit the mainland’s political system as well.

But Hongkongers are now being required to follow the direction of the central government, from political reform to economic development to education.

All the city’s policies should be politically correct rather than for the good of Hong Kong.

The administration is focusing more on the interests of Beijing rather than taking care of the interests of the people of Hong Kong.

That’s more or less a continuation of the spirit of the 1967 riots, but in a more civilised form.

Instead of paying tribute to Yeung, Hongkongers should pay tribute to Commercial Radio, which has positioned itself as “the voice of the people of Hong Kong” since it was founded in 1959 by George Ho Ho-chi.

It is still an outspoken radio station, and the killing of Lam Bun in 1967 cemented the station’s credentials to speak up for the truth to the public.

The Flat C, 18/F radio show has maintained Lam’s outspoken style in its coverage of current affairs.

That made Commercial Radio the most popular station in Hong Kong in the past decades.

And the station is still brave enough to condemn the pro-Beijingers, especially in its Flat C, 18/F show, every weekday.

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter