Sat, Feb 08, 2014 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Facing up to Taiwan and HK’s China problem

Hong Kong’s League of Social Democrats Chairman Leung Kwok-hung voiced his concerns in a recent interview with the ‘Liberty Times’ (sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’) over China’s growing influence over Taiwan and Hong Kong’s democracy movements through the global economy. Leung told reporter Tzou Jiing-wen that global capitalism under Chinese one-party rule has become a tool to slowly challenge democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan

Leung Kwok-hung, chairman of Hong Kong’s League of Social Democrats, gestures during an interview with the Liberty Times on Jan. 19.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Liberty Times: As a self-styled revolutionary who looks up to Che Guevara, what are your plans for the year to come?

Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄): Three things are on the agenda, with the first being the “Occupy Central” movement [an occupation of the Central District (中環區) with traffic disruption in the hopes of forcing the authorities to agree to implementing genuine universal suffrage].

The second is very crucial to Hong Kong. The Chinese Government promised to implement what it called “general elections,” the elections for the administrative heads of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in 2107.

The special administrative office has begun the first rounds of inquiries to compile a report which will later be submitted to Beijing. The league hopes to encourage [the people’s] participation in the five constituency referendum to truly bring general elections to Hong Kong.

Third, the League hopes to push through reforms concerning the rights of the people of Hong Kong, such as civic pension guarantees.

[It’s funny] you mentioned Guevara; it brings a joke to mind. Everyone knows that Guevara was a gun-toting revolutionary, [but fewer know that he was] originally a doctor. He once met [former Cuban president] Fidel Castro in Mexico, and Castro asked him during a battle in Cuba: “You’re a doctor [by profession]; which are you going to take up, the gun or the medikit?”

Guevara took up the gun.

The story tells us that we can change during the process of a movement. The self is both illusory and real at the same time. We establish our philosophy of life based on the imagination of the self, and are shaped through our pursuit of ultimate caring [for others]. We interact through such processes, just as everyone else.

As Dom Helder Camara once said: “When we are dreaming alone, it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.”

From this point of view, the situation can be changed, whether in Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China.

LT: You believe everything can be changed. What then are your thoughts on the pessimism regarding the “Occupy Central” movement?

Leung: The pan-democrats’ first problem is how to maintain solidarity. The question is constantly on my mind. How do we maintain solidarity?

Using [Taiwan’s] dangwai (黨外, “outside the party”) movement in the late 1970s as an example: they came together as a group in the courts, but the main problem facing the coalition was how different parties and factions reacted to a critical issue. If they hadn’t abandoned their ideals under duress, they could have gone one step further.

Hong Kong is in the same situation.

[The answer is that] in court or in jails, we agree with each other. After the Kaohsiung Incident in 1979, everyone [that was arrested] made adjustments to how they would continue their actions.

I am not saying introspection would not come without being arrested; in fact even after winning, you must still do some soul searching. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is the same. They [dissidents] were arrested in 1979 and then the dangwai participated in subsequent elections. They built a platform by forming a coalition between pro-Taiwan independence and pro-Unification factions in opposition of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

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