Craving for the new and outdoing others in radicalism: too much is as not enough

Craving for the new and outdoing others in radicalism: too much is as not enough

Due to the 2020 Hong Kong Book Fair having been postponed, my humble publication – The User’s Guide to the Ballot – was made available for purchase during the Passion Times Online Book Fair Bonanza. Within the book, thirty-five motions in the Legislative Council were employed to explore the Pan-Democrats’ true dispositions, as well as presenting the argument how various radicals and small potatoes that keeps popping up with their ambiguous and imprecise ideas, are repeating the well-trodden path of the Pan-Democrats; an excerpt     of which is presented here in this issue as an tantaliser for the readers.

Being radical is not necessarily progressive, or that one is ahead of the times: the Renaissance in Europe had led a trend and yet it was about rediscovering cultural roots. Fundamentally, all that radicalism is is what society finds intolerable. The League of Social Democrats was radical in its early beginning not because they had an economically left-wing perspective, but their legislative confrontations. People Power’s radicalism was also because of their legislative confrontations and their “settling the ballot debt at the ballot” movement in calling for the boycott of the Democratic Party; yet in terms of their economic orientation they are conflicted internally, there being Stephen Shiu’s right-wingers and Raymond Wong Yuk-Man’s left-wing. Radicalism for both the League of Social Democrats and People Power were their strategic, intense confrontations inside the legislature and at the ballot box. It is their filibustering, resignation from LegCo to kick-start a referendum and denunciation of political parties that betrayed its voters, which was deemed intolerable in Hong Kong, that made them radical; yet legislative confrontations and election campaign ethics are supposed to be general knowledge and common sense.

Likewise, localism essentially is also common sense, and in On the Hong Kong City-State, which promoted the segregation of Hong Kong and China, had been political pragmatism. However, as mentioned previously, if one is to evaluate via the use of political philosophy, it is the Pan-Democrat’s collaboration – in playing along with the Chinese communists’ economic integration with planned economy as its basis – that is the radical proposition. Being radical isn’t solely the realm of the political underdog; let us not forget that the Chinese communist party is a radical revolutionary party that had taken power. Refusing reforms is being antiquated, and governance can be both radical and yet foolhardy, their conservatism is being impetuous.

Political parties under the Democratic Party system are also antiquated and imprudent. In the book, The User’s Guide to the Ballot, the “Szeto system” frequently mentioned is the genuine radical vanguard party, as they would employ political utopianism as their political rhetoric. In the controversy over Hong Kong’s future during the Eighties, they went against the tide by suggesting a “democratic return to China”, and definitely not the accepting it reluctantly as Martin Lee had falsely claimed. They believed that with China’s economic development will bring about democratic reforms, as well as embracing China’s economic miracle that was built upon adventurism, convinced that Hong Kong’s civil society will affect changes to Chinese immigrants and tourists. The Civic Party in its entirety and Leung Kwok Hung from the League of Social Democrats to an extent also devoted themselves to such political rhetoric. No matter how the “Szeto System” mutated, in Hong Kong, it ultimately became the “Szeto Cycle” that undid the efforts of multiple generations of social activists; it is political utopianism that has monopolised the political arena.

Radical parties that are ignorant of the situation will become the most degenerate upon assuming power. In Hong Kong, the Pan-Democrats are the perfect example; confrontations within the legislature, holding opposition parties accountable for having betrayed their voters, LegCo resignation prompting a quasi-referendum, and even the notion of localism – which are only political norms – would be subjected to long-term suppression by political utopianists at LegCo and Next Digital Ltd. [formerly Next Media Ltd], being vilified as “being in the communist party’s payroll”. The progressive democrats that were once suppressed by the Pan-Democrats, now in turn are doing the same to the localists, and their supporters have become radicalised supporters. Supporters of the radicals, from being supportive of Leung Kwok Hung to supportive of Edward Leung Tin-Kei, have all been tormented by the Pan-Democrat’s blustering, even being subjected to false incrimination by them; but due to society having deemed their political position intolerable, these “radical faction supporters” became abhorrent of the Pan-Democrats’ obsolescence and stagnation, and consequently, these radical faction supporters became infatuated with radicalism to the point of being radical for its own sake.

Hong Kong Independence: the Radical Politics Bubble

Subsequently, the faux Hong Kong independence faction and their supporters arose, with the slogan “secede from China is the only way out” as their purpose. Doesn’t the phrase “the only way” speak of a lonesome indignation that goes against the current of public opinion that society finds intolerable? However, this faux HK independence lot has fulfilled the “radical parties ignorant of the situation” half of the statement in the above paragraph. At the present, Joshua Wong from the Self-determination faction has been working on the “international front” in Germany, but was put at arm’s length by the German Foreign Minister, saying that he “has a very separatist approach”. Jack Lee, editor of Hong Kong Nationalism – the canonical work for the HK Independence faction – said that he no longer advocate Hong Kong independence, when he was interviewed by Lewis Lau (formerly the Hong Kong Independence faction’s leading author) at the pro- Pan-Democrats’ flagship online media, Stand News, but instead he now supports the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and have devoted himself to being part of the pro-establishment business sector. Demosisto even changed their political party platform by revising their positions on self-determination … These young politicians are under the impression that they have to be more radical than the progressive democrats and localists, and that many supporters of radicalism holding onto the feelings of being the lonely battler are of the same mind. In the end, the new leaders of the radicals with their “inflated radicalism”, either has changed their mind or became a “suicide bomber” at the Hong Kong legislature, leaving no one in the HK Independence or the Self-Determination faction within, perhaps except Eddie Chu Hoi-Dick. The HK Independence voters, along with the Self-Determination ones, together comprise of 254,000 votes – all of which are demanding the most radical of change – but amongst them, how many were lonesome, indignant voters who had been tired of the old ways of the Pan-Democrats?

Yet, this is the irreversible direction that the radical factions have been going down for years: the old Pan-Democrats are conservative, so they become radical; the situation worsens, so the Pan-Democrats become even more conservative, and we feel like being under attack from all fronts, so one can only become even more radical. However, yours truly have to stress again, it is the Pan-Democrats that are the radicals devoted to adventurism! They are the radicals that are ignorant of the situation, who have become corrupted upon gaining certain measures of wealth and power. The real supporters of the Hong Kong localism movement are the ones who understand that localist politics is the pragmatic and conventional approach. The situation in Hong Kong is where the old radical nationalists, who were in collusion with the regime, gave rise to the daydreaming HK independence advocates with their Hong Kong nationalism, while ousting the pragmatic localists. We are not resultant of the “Szeto faction” and their political cycle, but the harbouring of a great sense of lonesome indignation within, with the belief of having to be socially intolerable, and taking the task of “outshining others in radicalism” all upon oneself.

Pan-Democrat’s HK-style wolf warrior diplomacy: apart from radicalism is craving for the new

The word “radical” has another translation: fundamental reform. Those who advocate for fundamental reforms, are looking to shake up the foundation of social problems as the vision for their actions; but in contrast to political sycophants who survives by playing both sides, they are have lost their bearings. By the same token, due to political old timers playing both sides, thus one embraces the reverse of what Pan-Democrat old-timers are about: youth, students, amateurs – having fresh colours, fresh faces, using catchphrases that are trendy online, engaging in political ministry that are “in vogue”, such as civil diplomacy and crowd funding for lawyer fees... Just like the vicious cycle in trying to “outdo each other in being radical”, trying to be trendy will also screw up their “new political toy”. For example, how far did the “deep cultivation” go, since those political neophytes proposed it after the Umbrella Revolution? And just where will the currently trending “international front”, in order words – civil diplomacy, take Hong Kong’s public image and our chances of survival?

The Pan-Democrats in Hong Kong became Hong Kong’s representatives, at a time when other countries are paying attention to the issues in Hong Kong, because the citizens donated to them, even granting them their seat at LegCo. Amongst them is Demosisto, which raised $3 million from crowd-funding for “overseas lobbying”, said they aimed to have each country enact their own Magnitsky Act. However, Joshua Wong in his fund-raising promo referred to United States President Donald Trump as being “capricious and fickle”; Agnes Chow in her video, subtitled in Japanese, mocked the Japanese government in regards to their pandemic prevention policy, likening them to the HKSAR Chief Executive and criticised the Japanese people for not understanding what is democracy; and Denise Ho, a Hong Kong singer, having been invited by the U.S. Congress to represent Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act congressional hearing, only to have made scathing remarks a month earlier on her Facebook against President Trump: “Ha! He changed his tune again. I can only say that he is a ruthless businessman, and it’s just a coincidence that their [political] tug-of-war is somewhat beneficial to us, that’s it. Ask him for help? No thanks. For someone without a shred of decency, he could betray us before we even know about it.” On the 7th of June, 2020, Leung Kwok Hung, Avery Ng and Raphael Wong from the League of Social Democrats led their members to the American consulate to show solidarity with “Black Lives Matter” social activists, as well as shouting “say no to Donald Trump”.

On the 8th of December, 2019, Keith Fong Chung-Yin, from the Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation, scolded the then presidential candidate Tsai Ing-Wen from the Democratic Progressive Party on Facebook, on the day prior to the voting in Taiwan: “it is inevitable that people would be made to wonder if the Democratic Progressive Party is only using the blood of Hong Kongers in exchange for the votes of the Taiwanese people.” Soon after, Tsai’s political rival Han Kuo-Yu posted online in support [of Fong’s statement]. On the 4th of June, 2020, the former chair of the Democratic Party, Emily Lau, published an article on The Times in Britain shaming Prime Minister Boris Johnson; in which, the article said that he would be treacherous and dishonourable if Prime Minister Johnson did not grant the British National Overseas (BNO) passport to Hong Kong permanent residents born after 1997. On the same day, Joshua Wong was interviewed by Channel A, the South Korean pay television network, where he used South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s origin to criticise him for trampling on human rights by approving the human rights situation in Hong Kong. Wong said: “I’m very disappointed at the South Korean government. Both the Taiwanese and the Japanese government have expressed their concerns, so how can President Moon Jae-In, who was once a human rights lawyer, remain silent?” “The South Korean government, especially its President, should not trample on human rights for the sake of the pursuit of profitable interests… This moment is where one should make their position clear.”

Those high profiled Pan-Democrats in Hong Kong, from university students and former chair of a political party, to political blocs and internationally-talked about political celebrities, if they are not intervening in American bipartisan politics or the presidential election in Taiwan, then they are insulting the presidents of other countries and voicing their position on the cold war between the United States and China, to place a limit on the options that the Americans can take to sanction China. Amongst these men and women, some people have a seat at LegCo but have yet to provide detail account of their diplomatic position in their election manifesto; most of them do not have one but many of them are “fresh faces”, and “civil diplomacy” is the new form of ministry in recent democratic movements. Despite the current rise of the “international front”, Pan-Democrats new and old are going around insulting people, reminiscent of the “wolf warrior diplomacy” that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is engaged in; all their actions are just ill conducts being committed overseas – all in the name of Hong Kong.

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(Editor’s note: this article was published on the 84th printed edition of Passion Times. Subscription link for the printed edition of Passion Times is :