Hong Kong Writers Defend Freedom of Speech
The writer known as Lam Hang Chi (real name: Lam Shan-muk), the co-founder of the Hong Kong Economic Journal, authored that daily paper’s editorial from 1973 to 1997. Since then he has written his own column. Commonly acknowledged as one of Hong Kong’s most influential political journalists, over the years Lam is estimated to have written ten thousand articles.
That Niagara of words may suddenly dry up, if Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying does not change his approach.
Once before, in 2003, Lam Hang Chi threatened to stop writing. Lam pointed out then that if Article 23 of the Basic Law were passed, journalists would be in danger if they reported the truth or spoke their mind.
A recent controversy over an article Lam Hang Chi wrote showed him that free expression in Hong Kong once more faces a grave threat.
Loyal to His Own Understanding
In a combative article, Lam Hang Chi, commenting on the struggle between good and evil in Hong Kong, referred to a group of noisy frogs trying to confuse people and criticized the recently created, pro-CCP group called the Silent Majority.
Cheng Chak Yan, one of the founders of Silent Majority, wrote to refute Lam Hang Chi, triggering a war of words.
Then, another person named “Yi Bo” published an open letter to Lam in the form of an advertisement in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, claiming that Lam’s criticism of the Silent Majority “is not setting the Chinese race on a path of stability and glory.”
On Aug 28, Lam Hang Chi published an article on the topic of responsible politics in which he said the attack on him under the pretext of an advertisement sounded a warning alarm.
Since the handover of sovereignty in 1997, and especially since Leung Chung-ying took office, “Hong Kong has moved further and further away from the past,” Lam wrote. If he was forced to pledge loyalty to a country instead of being loyal to his own thoughts, Lam preferred “to stop writing.”
“The most shocking, agonizing and worrying action in Hong Kong is the setting up of two antagonistic fronts through deliberate diversification,” Lam Hang Chi wrote. “From the power-base of the ‘Leung camp,’ ‘the official bureau,’ Leung set up groups under the names of ‘love Hong Kong’, ‘Power of Loving Hong Kong,’ and ‘Voice of Loving Hong Kong’ to oppose the Pan-Democrats.”
“To gain power, the communists use inhumane, ruthless tactics and political movements backed up with propaganda to intensify class struggles, leading to disastrous destruction to the society and the economy,” Lam Hang Chi wrote.
Support Falun Gong, Defend Hong Kong
Wong On Yin, a columnist at the Hong Kong Economic Journal, shares his colleague’s concern over the threat to freedom of speech in Hong Kong. He linked the concerns Lam Hang Chi has about the Silent Majority to the controversy over the teacher Ms. Lam Wai-sze.
Wong pointed out that the Silent Majority was formed in part to oppose the drive for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. But the group has also criticized Lam Wai-sze, who defended the rule of law and freedom of speech, as “making trouble for Hong Kong.”
Wong On Yin said that the people of Hong Kong need to focus on the core of the controversy around Lam Wai-sze: she opposed how the Chinese Communist Party-linked Hong Kong Youth Care Association sought to harass Falun Gong practitioners and deprive them of their rights.
To support Ms. Lam, Wong said, we should condemn the CCP’s suppression of Falun Gong and support Falun Gong.
“Those people that only fight for her right to speak, but are unwilling to go further and mention Falun Gong, are hypocritical,” Wong On Yin said. “Ms Lam shouted at the police because the police did not keep order. They sided with the Hong Kong Youth Care Association against Falun Gong. If you support Ms Lam, why don’t you support what she supports?
Wong On Yin explained why some people were not openly backing Falun Gong. They are frightened of the Communist Party, and they do not have a clear understanding of religious freedom and human rights.
“Fighting for Falun Gong is also fighting for the core values of Hong Kong,” Wong said. “Actually, if the Hong Kong people help, the whole situation in Hong Kong will be different.”
“People in Hong Kong often think that they are helping Falun Gong,” Wong said. “But in fact, they are helping the whole of Hong Kong, guarding Hong Kong, and supporting the whole value of freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. This is very simple.”