2nd November 2013
I Make the Policies, You and the Public Bear the Cost
The pan-democrats lost in the 2011 district council election. My analysis about the results is that pan-democrats position themselves as left wing is no longer suit Hong Kong people’s sentiment. Hong Kong’s political scene is not about a “battle between democratic and autocratic” nor “a face-off between capitalism and communist”. Hong Kongers’ identity issues have become political, and the resentment of Chinese public resources free-riders in Hong Kong grows. “Soundbite politics”, a style the pan-democrats have been using for decades, suddenly seem vague and empty. Ignoring the public desire for “local first” as the principle of policy formation and resources allocation was the major reason for pan-democrats to loss in the election. However, the pan-democrats have not adjusted their strategy, but headed further in the opposite direction.
The debates amongst pan-democrats began to emerge since the 2011’s election. In 2012, Gary Fan Kwok-wai and Claudia Mo Meng-ching both got their seats at the Legislative Council by emphasising their “local first” stance. In 2013, Labour Party and various pan-democratic parties jointly voted down (some abstained) the motion on “adhering to the need to ‘put Hong Kong people first’ in formulating policies” is an evident that China Government is determine to destroy “Hong Kong nativism” at its early stage.
The “anti-discrimination war” led by Jackie Hung Ling-yu (another article), the Legislative Council dominated by pro-China lawmakers blocking Hong Kong nativism motion, and “New Hong Konger Theory” created by China’s mouthpiece, are all targeting the same thing. Even putting Hong Kong people first is being condemned as “discriminatory” and “polarising the society”. The entire pro-China circle is targeting the two lawmakers who stand up for the locals. These lawmakers are the minority when one looks at the Legislative Council, but the public’s sentiment is obvious which threatens the interests of the organisations who specialise in “servicing” new immigrants. These organisations join effort with Democratic Party and Civic Party, which have been promoting the “democracy to save China theory” for years, and putting “family reunion” before everything else to defend the One-Way Permit system. They further blame the entire population of Hong Kong for discriminating new immigrants, and create the illusion that “One-Way Permit System” is a subject that cannot be touched nor discussed, in order to ensure that their interests are intact.
In the eyes of nationalists who praise China as their lord, “family reunion” is the be-all and and-all: setting a limit on immigrants and requiring immigrants to have sufficient financial resources to support themselves and sufficient academic qualifications to enable them to secure jobs is discriminatory. The reason they believe the “Hong Kong people first” doctrine to be polarising, discriminatory and xenophobic is that they are all looking at the issues in Hong Kong from a regionalism perspective. Hence, they decry the public’s resentment of anchor babies, Individual Travel Scheme tourists, cultural invasion, shortage of school and labour ward spaces, etc. as being discriminatory, and accuse the people who resent these China-related problems of being unjust, intolerant, xenophobic, and even fascist.
The problem is, however, Hong Kong people are not targeting the new immigrants who are already living in Hong Kong. The so-called Hong Kong-China conflict is caused by the absolute power China has over Hong Kong and the system that China Government exploits and uses to send unlimited number of immigrants to Hong Kong without considering Hong Kong’s ability to accommodate such large and ever growing number of population.
Some of those who signed this petition (condemning the “Hong Kong people first” motion) arrogantly assert that as lawmakers they are the ones to make decisions on behalf of the people of Hong Kong and leaving the people to bear the cost, while others naively to imagine they are taking the moral high ground but fail to consider the reality. However, where do we draw the line when it comes to universal values*? How much should the people endure? They do not think about any of these factors. The general public are suffering, but they do not seem to care nor feel the pain. Their high wages have allow them to be naive and ignorant about the suffering of the general public. There seems to be no solution but to carry on blaming the government. It is one thing if solutions cannot be found, but a complete different thing if they fuel the problem in the name of universal values and justice. More family reunion, more subdividing units, higher rent, more social unrest. Hong Kong is becoming more and more crowded. There is a physical limit in terms of the maximum population a place can accommodate. The One-Way Permit System is faulty as well: permits are open for bid (corruption), fake marriages can secure a permit and allow immigrants to bring all their relatives to Hong Kong, and so on. Hong Kong, however, according to these lawmakers and individuals, must not look into this issue to find a way to improve the situation because if we are to seal the loophole, reduce the daily quota or impose any requirements on immigration applications, we are discriminating against new immigrants and our “comrades”, most importantly affect their interests and rock their moral high ground.
This is what’s happening in Hong Kong: glorifying China’s nationalism with universal values. Each and every cities in China has power to approve immigration applications, but Hong Kong has no such power. Yet, Hong Kong people are being accused of discriminating against Chinese.
From now on, we have to change. We should stop categorising politicians as pan-democrats and pro-China camp, but nativists and non-nativists. The term “pan-democrats” is as empty and meaningless as the term “Chinese”, should be binned because it prevent us from studying what focus a party or a politician has.
Universal values: a term that has been used regularly in recent months if not years. It is most frequently used by the self-proclaimed left wingers in Hong Kong when they talk about the influx of new immigrants from across the boarder. They repeatedly stress that Chinese have the right to immigrate to Hong Kong to reunite with their families in Hong Kong. However, there are numerous commentators as well as activists are challenging this theory: immigration applications from everywhere around the world except from China are handled by Hong Kong Immigration Department, and there are countless cases reported that people in different nationality cannot emigrate to Hong Kong. A number of ethnic Indians who have lived in Hong Kong for decades had their naturalisations denied. However, Chinese nationals from China can apply for their One-Way Permit through their respective provincial governments, yet the Hong Kong Immigration Department is not allowed to evaluate the legitimacy of these applications and Hong Kong has to accept all these new immigrants from across the boarder. Therefore, there have been shocking incidents including a murderer who committed his crime in Hong Kong soil successfully immigrated to Hong Kong.