Opposing the CCP in HK and Taiwan as students

By Eric Tsui 徐承恩  / 

Mon, Dec 12, 2016 - Page 6

Controversy surrounding a swearing-in ceremony for members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has continued to grow. After legislators-elect Sixtus “Baggio” Leung (梁頌恆) and Yau Wai-ching (游蕙禎) were expelled, the Hong Kong puppet government filed a judicial review over the qualifications of four other legislators-elect of the opposition camp on Dec. 2. Although Taiwan’s ability to affect Hong Kong affairs is limited, as both regions are facing the same Chinese imperialist pressures, it can share its experience with Hong Kongers through non-governmental exchanges.

Hong Kong used to be an overseas base of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and a group of adherents of the Republic of China (ROC) still reside there. When these people look at Taiwan, they have a distorted view of a “grand unification.” As for Hong Kong’s localist camp, some also have a superstitious belief in the ROC’s legitimacy. They think of the KMT as an ally in the fight against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and see Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) as a role model for their struggle. If such toxic thoughts are not eliminated, it might be difficult to take Taiwan-Hong Kong relations to the next level, and localist awareness in Hong Kong will not grow stronger.

In recent years, many young Hong Kongers have admired Taiwan’s democracy and chosen to study in the nation. In the past, the associations of Hong Kong students in Taiwan were close to the KMT, but although the new generation accepts Taiwan’s ideal of autonomy, they have no group to represent them. Taiwan’s student movement should assist Hong Kong students supporting Taiwanese autonomy and help them form their own group. After the establishment of such a group, it would also be necessary to set up a “democracy classroom” to help them understand the history of Taiwan’s struggles and learn from the nation’s experience to form a solid pro-local discourse for Hong Kong.

In the long run, overseas Taiwanese students’ associations can cooperate with overseas Hong Kong students to launch their pro-local movements abroad — just like the overseas Taiwanese independence movement did in the past.

Overseas Chinese academics and students have behaved arrogantly on campus in recent years and they have covertly helped Beijing oppress Taiwan’s and Hong Kong’s international space. By working together, student movements would be able to take back the right to speak internationally.

Most Hong Kong media are funded by pro-China capital. Although there still are some liberal editors and reporters, most belong to the older generation who continue to believe in a “grand unification.” Given this situation, the way Taiwan is portrayed in the Hong Kong media is biased. Perhaps Taiwan’s civic society could consider adopting the model of “Thinking Taiwan” — the online forum of the Thinking Taiwan Foundation established by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) — and establish a pro-localization online medium specifically targeting Hong Kong.

Experienced people in Taiwan could take charge of the site during its initial stages, hiring Hong Kong students as interns who could take over once operations are on track.

Both Taiwan and Hong Kong are coming under pressure from China’s expansionism in the coastal regions of East Asia. They could start by forming a civic society alliance and then gradually move to attract the civic societies in the other littoral regions in East Asia and form a joint united front against Chinese imperialism. This would be a righteous move that the pro-localization movements in both Taiwan and Hong Kong could take.

Eric Tsui is the author of A Natural History of Hong Kong.

Translated by Eddy Chang