24 October 2016
Eddie Chu believes that in order to understand a local issue, you need first-hand experience. Photo: Reuters
Eddie Chu believes that in order to understand a local issue, you need first-hand experience. Photo: Reuters

Eddie Chu: From Afghanistan to Choi Yuen village

I bet none of Eddie Chu’s friends would have imagined that he would emerge “king of votes” in the Legco elections and win by a landslide.

When I first met Chu more than 10 years ago, he was working as an international correspondent for Ming Pao Daily and had been to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

He told me that in order to truly understand an issue, you need first-hand experience.

So he spent months in Iran learning Persian. As he put it, the only way to truly understand Iran, a country he was so fascinated with at that time, was to live like an average Iranian for a period of time.

Frankly, I have never been a fan of left-wingers nor have I been sympathetic toward those who embrace leftist beliefs.

Over the years, I have met many hypocrites who claimed to be leftists or internationalists.

However, it wasn’t until I met Chu that I began to rediscover left-wing internationalism.

Chu, a typical left-wing internationalist by any measure, is a “put-up-or-shut-up” kind of guy who always translates his ideas into action.

And his dogged perseverance and selfless devotion to his cause have completely changed the way I view left-wing activists.

Shortly after Chu came back from Iran, he became a conservationist and an activist in the protection of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage.

He was a key figure in the campaign against the demolition of the old Star Ferry Pier and Queen’s Pier in Central 10 years ago and he has also been a leading figure in the movement against the forced relocation of Choi Yuen village in Yuen Long in recent years.

Little known is that apart from appearing on TV on behalf of Choi Yuen villagers, Chu and his family actually moved into the village several years ago and have become villagers themselves.

They make a living running a small farm while continuing to fight for their rights.

I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard that he had become a villager.

He stuck to what he stood by — to truly understand a place, you need to actually live in it.

The degree to which Chu has devoted himself to his cause is both phenomenal and unparalleled.

And his victory in the Legco elections will inspire more people to devote themselves to the fight for social justice.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 7

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Associate professor and director of Global Studies Programme, Faculty of Social Science, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lead Writer (Global) at the Hong Kong Economic Journal

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