Mon, Jul 16, 2001 - Page 8 News List

Tung's performance pleases CCP

By Paul Lin 林保華

July 1 was the fourth anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China. Beijing did not send any leaders to the celebrations, perhaps because Hong Kong's political, economic and social chaos have made Beijing lose interest in Hong Kong. But Tung Chee-hwa (董建華), Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, did manage to create an uproar among Hong Kongers, causing them to view the "old muddlehead" with new eyes.

Since 1997, Tung has issued various Bauhinia medals to individuals on July 1 every year for their meritorious service to the community. The highest among those honors is the Grand Bauhinia Medal. Recipients in 1997 included the most famous of Hong Kong's "patriots," such as Ann Tse-kai ( 安子介), former vice chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

This year, the most controversial awardee was a man by the name of Yeung Kwong (楊光), who at 75 is a precious, newly unearthed historical relic. Younger Hong Kongers will not be familiar with Yeung, but 35 years ago he was the man of the hour. At that time, echoing the unprecedented Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution (文化大革命), Hong Kong's left-wingers launched a series of disturbances, their support base rooted in the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU, 工聯會). Yeung was president of the FTU at the time, and became the director of the "struggle committee" (鬥委會) behind all the disturbances.

During the disturbances, which occurred between May and October of 1967, large posters denouncing British imperialism were put up at the gate of the Hong Kong Government House. Bombs were also planted all over the city, creating a wave of terror. Though on the surface it appeared as if the leftists claimed to be launching an "anti-British" uprising under the banner of "nationalism," the majority of their victims were Chinese. True, bombs carried the written message "Compatriots stay back," but then again, bombs don't have eyes.

According to statistics, between 5,000 and 8,000 bombs, either real or fake, were planted around the city. In all, about 50 people died (including 11 thugs), and over 800 people were injured. Lam Bun (林彬), a well-known presenter on Hong Kong Commercial Radio, frequently received threatening letters because of the sarcastic manner in which he lashed out at the disturbances caused by these "patriots." Finally, on Aug. 24, as Lam was leaving his home to go to work, a revolutionary thug threw a gasoline bomb into Lam's car, burning him to death.

Through a collection drive launched by citizens all over Hong Kong, and with assistance by prominent businessman Ho Cho-chee (何佐芝), Lam's 24 year-old wife -- who had wept herself in and out of consciousness -- was able to take their three daughters to Taiwan, an anti-communist bastion. Later the family immigrated to Toronto, leaving painful reminders of this region behind. Lam's wife eventually moved again, to France.

This year, by conferring a medal to Yeung, Tung has managed to rub salt into painful wounds that the widow had kept concealed for 34 years. She was shocked and frightened to receive a reporter's phone call asking for an interview. I hope that no more journalists ever bother her again.

Lam's death -- and the general turmoil caused by the "struggle committee" -- intensified anti-communist sentiment among residents, giving rise to an extremely contemptuous attitude toward "leftists." Graduates from leftist schools were called "Red Guards" and had difficulty finding jobs. Good at struggle but lacking in skills, many of these students had to settle for low-paying salaries at Beijing-invested organizations, and gradually turned against Hong Kong society.

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