Tsang Yok-sing: Beijing pressures boost resistance

The pro-Beijing former LegCo chairman spoke about statements made by mainland officials who escribed Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement as a “political virus” that needs to be eradicated. Politics in the territory is polarised with scuffles breaking out over who chairs LegCo’s House Committee. Meanwhile, 171 teachers have been accused of misconduct for their support of protests. In April, 25 pro-democracy figures were arrested.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Tsang Yok-sing, former chair of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo), said today in an interview that the more Beijing “tightens it grip on Hong Kong, the more pro-democracy forces will resist the mainland’s interference in the territory’s affairs.”

Tsang, founder of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), spoke after the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office described Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement as a “political virus” to be eradicated.

Tsang wants to see the authorities and pro-democracy groups engage in dialogue, noting that in a democracy the majority must rule respecting the rights of the minority. Only this way can the ‘One country, Two systems’ principle on which Hong Kong's autonomy is based work.

Tsang spoke as pro-Beijing and pro-democracy lawmakers clashed, even physically, over the deadlock in the House Committee, which has been without a chair since last October.

Deputy Chairman Dennis Kwok, a pro-democracy lawmaker, has been chairing the Committee after Chairwoman Starry Lee quit to stand for re-election. Beijing has accused Kwok of undermining the committee's work and preventing the election of a new chair.

LegCo legal adviser Connie Fung said that the Committee could resume work under Lee without the election of a new chair. Pro-democracy members are opposed to this, saying that Kwok should continue to chair the committee.

The struggle in the LegCo mirrors the main divisions in Hong Kong society. Pro-democracy advocates have spoken out against Beijing's readiness to limit more and more the territory’s political and economic autonomy, which is guaranteed until 2047.

For this reason, thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent months to protest against China’s interference. They include about 171 teachers, who now stand accused of misconduct because of their support for the protest.

Education authorities told the LegCo yesterday that the teachers in question inappropriately used school material in class, as well as uttered discriminatory and hateful remarks.

Some of the teachers could face charges. About 39 teachers received reprimands; four received warning letters. All could lose their teaching license. 

For pro-democracy groups, this is nothing but political censorship, a violation of freedom of speech and the personal rights of teachers.

The anti-government front suffered a major blow on 18 April, with the arrest of 25 leading figures, accused by police of “organising and participating in unlawful assemblies” in recent months.