Speech at the FCC
as given by Andy Chan Ho-Tin, Convenor of Hong Kong National Party
14th August, 2018
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I may first thank the FCC for having me here todaydespite all the challenges you must’ve faced - personally, in these past few weeks, I myself andpeople around me have been subject to a level of physical surveillance I’ve never experiencedbefore. So I really do appreciate that the FCC stood by their decision to host this talk.
The Hong Kong National Party - it all started in 2016, when my friends and I founded what wastruly the first political party that had “Hong Kong independence” clearly stated as one of its centralgoals. Due to the nature of how the Chinese propaganda machine works, the National Party wasinstantly demonised as some sort of extremist group due to this single word: “independence”. Inreality, what the National Party is chasing after is no different from what many Hong Kongerswish for: the dream of democracy, here, in our home, Hong Kong.
What is different is how much people wish to face the truth: the truth that a democracy is nothingif final, ultimate power does not rest with the people. In political terms, the National Partyunderstand that, if Hong Kong were to become truly democratic, Hong Kong’s sovereignty mustrest with the people of Hong Kong. And there is only one way to achieve this: independence.Thus we saw it our duty to help form a “national consciousness” for Hong Kong, and to that end,the first big thing we did was to run for the LegCo election, in 2016. The government, as you allknow, reacted with such over-reaction that I was disqualified before the voting even began! And allof this, of course, was done with “administrative procedures”, which allowed the government tocunningly deny me my constitutional rights via so-called “legal” means. After this, the NationalParty went on to strive for our goal by other ways: educational programmes for students, flyerings,rallies - all was done to arouse Hong Kong’s “national consciousness”, in defence against what iseffectively our current colonial rule under the Chinese.
The Hong Kong National Party has faced political oppression numerous times after the LegCodisqualification. We tried to register as a company, and was rejected. We tried to set up a stall in theLunar New Year Night Market, and was rejected as well. We even had the honour to receive thefirst ever “Letter Prohibiting Assembly” from the Police since 1997. And now, as you all know, thegovernment is trying to shut us down completely, calling us an “illegal society”. Time and again,our government has shown that whatever “freedom” or “democracy” they claim to be upholdingare but Communist mirages - lofty words that Peking only finds useful in deceiving you, theforeign press, and not actually allowing them to the people of Hong Kong. The situation is so direthat we dare say Hong Kong has never experienced such horrid colonialism until 1997. Peking isnow our colonial masters, and the Hong Kong National Party has a real need to exist.
The nature of China is oppression. At its heart, the empire that existed in the 18th century stillstands today, despite all its technological advances. China is not a modern nation state, much less acivic society. China is a large empire, and for centuries she has always operated on the principle ofcentralised power. For this, all its dominions must be forced to assimilate, and to follow the partyline, lest any differences challenge the central authority. All is well under this system if you werepart of those who don’t need assimilating, but if you happen to be born into one of these nationalidentities that are markedly different, then all is lost. Look at East Turkestan; look at Tibet.Nations forced to follow, or face the penalty of death. Even worse, you get sent to one of thesere-education camps, where dying is better than living. Of course, these camps have not appearedhere yet, but the will of China is the same: if you’re different, you’re wrong. The same nowhappens to Taiwan, and here, to Hong Kong.
Peking likes to say that the People’s Republic of China is a nation state, and that there is a nationalpeople called “Zhonghua Minzu”, or the “Chinese race”, a fabricated idea to serve the politicalneeds of an empire. Within this umbrella, and with the ambiguity of the Chinese language withregards to nations and races, Peking would claim that everyone, from the Tibetans andMongolians, to the Shanghaiese, the Taiwanese, the Hong Kongese, and even to the Chinesediaspora in the US, the UK, Australia… you name it. All of that, Peking claims to be part of the“Zhonghua” race, and therefore, by their logic, loyal subjects to whoever controls the seat ofPeking. To the educated this would sound absurd, but it is the official party line from Peking.They would claim this is a form of nationalism, and that China is a nation state, when in reality allthat Peking has is imperialism. All people around the world who has dealings with China shouldunderstand this: China is, by its nature as an empire, a threat to all free peoples in the world.Already have we seen Peking betraying the Seventeen Point Agreement with Tibet; already have weseen Peking betraying its promises when joining the WTO; and already have we seen Pekingbetraying the Sino-British Joint Declaration, leaving us Hong Kongers with less and less freedoms.In the past 21 years, Hong Kong has progressed in only one direction: backwards. Not only havewe failed to attain truly democratic elections, we are also marching ever closer to a dictatorshipwith Chinese characteristics. Hong Kong, being a financial centre, tasted China’s forcedassimilation first via our economy. Chinese capital was allowed to flood Hong Kong, in particularindustries that our daily lives depend on: think infrastructure, think catering, think the media.The second step was the ideological and the cultural, and that, to all who dared to pay attention, isalready underway. Our first Chief Executive, Tung Chee-Hwa, resigned after trying and failing topush the National Security Bill, based on the infamous Article 23. Hong Kong’s consensus back in2003 was that China’s interpretation of what constitutes secession and subversion was simplywrong. China thinks that simply talking about subversion is already subversion, or even worse, itonly takes a single official thinking you’re thinking about secession, then you’re a traitor, andshould be arrested. Soon, with China’s improvements in AI and surveillance technology, the plotof Minority Report might turn to reality. The tragedy we are all now witnessing is that whileArticle 23 has not yet been implemented in law, its effects are already here. The Hong KongNational Party experienced this first-hand. Simply saying you are pro-independence is somehowthe same as committing treason, according to some. And the sad thing is that, by now, many HongKongers have changed - we were still fighting back Article 23 in 2003, but in 2018, many are nowafraid to speak up. There is, in other words, no longer freedom of speech in Hong Kong, butinstead the freedom to think and say whatever Peking wants us to. Hong Kong is no longer thatmuch different from China, and the international community have to acknowledge that.Unhappy with just subverting Hong Kong using money and ideology, China is also sending itsloyal subjects here - 150 of them, everyday, via the One-way Permit scheme. Normally,immigration done right gives the host society immense benefits, but the way that the ChineseHong Kong government handles it is nothing short of a political decision, designed to destroy allthat we hold dear. Local communities were shattered, because of the rapid influx of anincompatible culture. Our medical resources were stretched to its limits, with our own mothersstruggling to find a single bed to give birth in. The labour market was flooded with people who arehappy to take wages far below the normal point. Our very living space is taken from us. Even ourlanguage, the words that shape our thoughts, are being demonised. Per China’s orders, HongKong’s future generations will now abandon Cantonese and switch entirely to Mandarin. Thereare those still in the education sector who oppose this, but the arm of Peking is ever unrelenting. Itwill not be a matter of if, but of when, when one day we wake up and ask ourselves, “Why are mychildren and grandchildren valuing obedience to the state above all else; where is democracy; whereis freedom; where is tolerance; and where is the Hong Kong that we knew?” Today, Hong Kongfaces “national cleansing” from China, and there are those among us who refuse to bow down,who refuse to become a forgotten footnote in history.
The matter of Hong Kong Independence is both a political and an ethical one. In the span of170-ish years, since Hong Kong opened as a port in 1841, and until 1997, Hong Kong hasdeveloped its own unique culture, history, way of living, and religious beliefs. Shielded by the Brits,Hong Kong was spared the anti-intellectual destruction that Communist China imposed uponitself. There was no Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong, and the society we have here is built uponreason and morals. Just as there is no freedom of speech in China, and the society they have there isbuilt upon fear and obedience. The difference between us in the South and them in the North isfar beyond just geographical distance. It is a matter of cultural values, and of civilisation. To thisday China is still essentially a closed, inwards-looking, and authoritarian society, with manynational peoples being forced to obey. By virtue of its historical, geographical, and culturaluniqueness, Hong Kong is truly a separate entity from the so-called “Chinese nation”. We are ourown, and sadly, we are a nation that is quickly being annexed and destroyed by China. The cry forHong Kong’s Independence is therefore a cry against colonial invasion. It is an ethical cry forliberation, and it is a political cry for our own continued existence. We were once colonised by theBrits, and now we are by the Chinese. Where is our right to determine our own future as a nationalpeople?
The government trying to ban our operations did not come as surprise to us in the National Party.Ever since our companies registration ban and our election disqualification, all of our activitiesfaced degrees of physical opposition and surveillance. From the very beginning, the governmenthas decided to rid us of our freedoms, if not more. Our Party is not the first victim, and it will notbe the last. Those who come after us will do well to prepare themselves for more to come.The Police and the Security Bureau have very kindly compiled a 700-pages long document as“evidence” for banning our Party. Since we’re here at the FCC I’m going to assume you’ve at leastskimmed the the PDFs we’ve uploaded. And I’m sure you’ve laughed as well after reading them.The hundred upon hundred pages of so-called “evidence” are mostly just screenshots of our Party’sFacebook Page! It’s frankly absurd how these government elites could imagine some paragraphs onthe Internet and my own sayings on a radio show could constitute “a threat to national security”.Imagine the insecurity!
All that we’ve done, the Party and myself, are all protected within the International Human RightsLaw. The legal clause that our government used, the Societies Ordinance, is a relic left behind sincethe British Colonial days. What better law than this! Our Chinese colonial masters are unironicallyhappy to tell us all that, yes, they are colonising Hong Kong, and yes, Hong Kong’s freedoms arejust for show.
If the idea of “One Country, Two Systems” were to really work, none of the above would’vehappened. That they did is conclusive proof that there is only “One Empire, and One System”.China has turned its back on the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and the UK, as a co-signatory,must act on this. This is Britain’s inescapable duty, as a nation of honour and democracy, to standup against such atrocities. Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms will soon be all gone, and all will betoo late by then.
The events thus far has also proven that the unique position of Hong Kong is now lost. WhateverWestern values we had are now replaced by ideologies from Communist China. The Hong Konggovernment now serves not the interests of the Hong Kong people, nor those who have dealingswith us, but only the interests alone of Peking. Countries and nations all around the world need tounderstand this, and act accordingly. The US, in particular, should review the conditions set out inthe United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, and start sanctioning those Hong Kong governmentofficial who trampled on our human rights. The incentives here extend far beyond the ethical.Think about how much more clout the US would have on China if the current trade war extendsto Hong Kong. Many of the Chinese already store their actual capital here. If the US truly wish todeal an economic blow to China, the US-HK Policy Act should not be overlooked.
The Hong Kong National Party hopes that the international community can, like the US,objectively review the imperialistic threat that is coming from China. You may not have tasted itssting yet, but those of us who are stuck next to China’s expansionist borders may soon be no more.Hong Kong now faces ethical and cultural challenges from the North - who knows when suchchallenges turn into the humanitarian kind. International aid must come, and come quickly. Fortime is running out, and I don’t say this as Convenor of the Hong Kong National Party, but asAndy Chan, a surviving Hong Konger.