Monday, 12 August 2013

Lewis: "Global Times" wishes to cool down

Written By Lewis
Translated By Chen-t'ang

The editorial of Global Times (GT), the Party's mouthpiece, is very popular in China, because comparing to the People's Daily, GT is playing a more radical, nationalistic and hawk-style pioneer role.
After the faith of Communism has fallen, "nationalism" has become the common language between CCP and Chinese people. GT absorbs the atmosphere of Mao's times, creating a feeling of containment of foreign aggression, and the thought "US Imperialist will not cease from their wild ambition to subjugate China" is still bought.
The hidden meaning is promoting unity for Chinese people against foreign aggression under CCP.

GT commented the July 1st protest in HK, pointing out CCP shall act commonly towards opposition voices in HK and shall avoid "interact once by once" with them;
on 30th July, the Japanese vice foreign minister visited China and hoped to have a Sino-Japanese summit conference, and GT has similar thoughts as before.
The editorial said China shall give a cold shoulder to Japan's diplomatic action, and needs not to improve Sino-Japanese relationship that quickly.
Its 'standpoint' is that the strength of China is greater than that of Japan: "Japan dares not to confront China traditionally in terms of strength, which is growing weaker and weaker,
and they cannot afford the political cost of doing so."

It is not uncommon to see these cocky tones on GT, yet such discourse is not encouraging "premature foreign policy", but rather encouraging a spritual victory with nationalistic characteristics, and not a war between China and Japan.
In fact, the State Council of China is determined to audit the indebtedness of local governments, showing the high risk of burst in economic and social order, and thus China cannot afford to start a war.
Japan has so much moves, using little tactics to confront China, showing CCP's incompetence as they show no, or a few, responses. So GT is not actually spreading hawk-style thoughts but rather cooling off for CCP: the CCP government is having a smart move while holding still! CCP leaders are like having a chess purposefully,
using the name of nationalism to cool off the fire of nationalism.

Because the CCP knows that the controversy on the East China Sea is a double-edge sword: if well-controlled, it could be a "nationalistic viagra"; but otherwise the CCP's tolerance would be chicken.
The education of CCP creates a generation deeply impacted by "nationalistic passion", and there could always be side-effects. So the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands activists are always, or mostly organised by official organisations.
If there are activists who are not willing to "cooperate", CCP will crack them down.

Lots of analysis says that the "lost temper" of China is similar to that of Japan and Germany before WWII. When the myth of communist giant has fallen, China has nothing but the aggrieved feeling of "the entire world has wronged us",
and this in turn has become the foundation of foreign aggression. In China, similar thoughts are widely popular. Unlike People's Daily, which the public would not treat it seriously, GT is truely acclaimed by the Chinese public.
CCP knows its status, but the 'angry youths' are 'passionate' irrespective of the status of China. The impact of extremist rightists in Japan are not that great, but there are a lot of Chinese angry youths. Why does some hot-blooded local middle-age only assume Japan as the sole militarism country?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Jasper Tsang: Having no alternatives - on universal suffrage

Originally at:
By Jasper Tsang Yok-sing
Translated by Chen-t'ang

Democracy is not a perfect system, but we have no other alternatives now in Hong Kong. Democracy is the system that the majority of citizens is willing to accept and reply on. As the Chinese central government has pledged to Hongkongers that there will be universal suffrage for Chief Executive on 2017 and all LegCo seats in 2020, then they cannot back down. We must implement universal suffrage according to this schedule.

An election mechanism with consent from all parties has to be set, if universal suffrage for CE has to be implemented. Everyone knows it, but the point hinges on the nomination: how to decide who can run the election? Some people think that the nomination mechanism can act as a sieve to weed out unacceptable candidates to the central government. But is this possible? If the the SARG's proposal of the universal suffrage for CE is a "fake/bogus suffrage", they must be facing strong opposition, and thus cannot obtain two thirds support from the LegCo.

Furthermore, even if the weeding out mechanism can be used, if there exist a candidate with lots of support and without the acceptance of the central government, it will be politically impossible if the nomination committee weed him out. Last year, every candidate tried their best to obtain support from the public, and improved their reputation in the CE Election last year, which even was not a universal suffrage. It is because every candidate knows that the election committee members cannot be at loggerheads with the public's will to support the one with low reputation. For the same reason, the nomination committee cannot weed out candidate(s) with high reputation without letting the public to choose it.

If the SARG insist on proposing a way that 'guarantee not letting the opposition party to run', not only is it in vain, but also aggravated the situation. An obviously unfair proposal will only disgruntle the public, and the opposition party can obtain more sympathy and support. If the government really do so, and the establishment camp backed it, then they will be besieged in the LegCo election.

In my opinion, anyway, we have to walk on the road of universal suffrage.

For those who do not believe in democracy and worry that universal suffrage would put HK in a worse situation, they shall face the fact, rather than trying their best to design a 'risk-free' election rules. Do more preparations on what they apprehend.

For those who support universal suffrage, they shall know that although we often say universal suffrage is the "ultimate goal", but it certainly is not the end of political development of HK, but rather the beginning of democracy being under the trial of fire. Universal suffrage is only the first step; there is a longer, harder way to go in pursuit of a successful and good democratic system.

Sunday, 4 August 2013



德國人素來不以幽默感著稱,但近來德國《明鏡》 週刊或者會改變你的想法。




Thursday, 20 June 2013


匯豐加入了中國的「銀(唔)聯 」自動櫃員機網絡,基本上旅行時你的匯豐提款卡沒用了。如果你因為習慣用匯豐卡到各國的櫃員機拿當地貨幣而少帶現金,以後不行了。匯豐仿似時光機倒流二十年,好似以往旅行前要去銀行買外幣,然後帶著大量外幣隨身旅遊
還有不要被銀聯的網站誤導啊! 目的地一欄就有各國國旗,但按下去只有旅遊資訊,沒有櫃員機地址的!
  1. 將戶口轉到提款卡能在PLUS及/或CIRRUS櫃員機網絡提款的銀行。
  2. 啟動信用卡提款功能,記得PIN密碼。貴係貴,但緊急起來有個錢傍身。
  3. 帶現金,要小心。
  4. 有一個其他網誌打過,但我未試過的方法︰將你的支票/提款戶口連到你的匯豐VISA卡,以這些戶口作為提款預設戶口,避免手續費。VISA可以令你用PLUS櫃員機網絡提款,但不保證他們不會事後叫你結帳。

Is politics equal to interests? ─ What indeed is politics?

By Kay Lam Chi-yan
Translated by Chen-t'ang
Originally at:

PenToy had posted a reply from 文德彬 (Man Tak-bun; Translator's note: I cannot find who he is, but there is a foreign professor whose Chinese name is 文德彬. I'm not sure, so I will just put Man Tak-bun there), commenting on the interview between Wan Chin and Raees Baig. As a host of the interview, I sincerely thanked him, who is able to discuss the main points in the City-state Discourse than Chin.

Mr Man thought that: Chin's 'local interests' concept is a political declaration. City-state discourse is a political discourse. We cannot prove its logical validity on the academic perspective. He then pointed out that the foundation of local interests is that 'everyone is selfish': 'If pointing out selfishness is a wrong thing, then the word "politics" probably would disappear from this world. As politics are omnipresent, it would be misapprehending to see politics from a logical view.'

So, Mr. Man said Baig did not know much about politics, and was pale and unpersuasive in replying Chin's Realpolitik by using universal values. Besides criticizing Baig, he also thinks that the questions are not well-set by the hosts, so two guests cannot interact well. I would like to reply:

1. Mr Man's comprehension to politics reminds me of the beginning of my studies of political science. People surrounding me kept on saying 'politics is very dirty'. They might be impacted by TV series and mudslinging in the HK political environment, and think that political science is a subject studying the infighting between men. Politics is very dirty ─ only if we do not have to distinguish rights and wrongs logically, and political interests means everyone is selfish. 'One small steps will make a great difference', if one simply thinks politics is the competition of our and their parties' interests. He mistakenly treats 'reality' as 'necessity', and it does not help pushing the discourse of politics and social movements to a higher level.
Also, if politics only concerns power struggle, then why are we, as political science students, spending 4 years or more in this field? I remember on the first day for 'Political science ABC's', we were required to answer: What is politics? What problems would political science deal with?

2. The interpretation of politics is always controversial, and the content of politics varies with time, so we cannot define it uncontroversially. Yet, a concept must be involved in politics: authority. There goes several questions: what is its source, its allocation, its exercise, its legitimacy, its ultimate aims of exercise, its impacts and so on. For example, under a free, democratic regime, representatives are voted by the people in elections, authority is restricted by the rule of law, rights and interests of the minorities are protected, in order to show the intrinsic values, like fairness and autonomy. Even in the ancient China, the autocratic monarchy is a 'rule by man', and the exercise of authority varies greatly from the modern democracy, the yardstick is still there ─ morals. The Analects of Confucius said: 'The person in the highest position should act with integrity.' (政者,正也). It means that politics is the matter of the people, and the person in the highest position should act with integrity, and set example to their subordinates and people. Otherwise, if politics is about a group of people gaining own benefits against another group of people, it is bullying, and such situation can only be called as a tyranny.

3. Problems political science dealt with can be divided in to interpretive or normative.
The former one includes Mr Man's strong concern ─ Realpolitik. We observe and analyze how does politics work in reality through different hypothesis, methods and perspective. The latter one is to explore the highest moral standards through logical thinking, and deliberate on how to apply these standards in life, and thus design a corresponding political system.
Some people might say it would be too ideal to say 'fairness' or 'morals'. We are facing ferocious CCP regime and the reality brought by China-HK integration, what does 'political ideal' have to do with me? John Rawls, an American political philosopher, mentioned two concepts ─ ideal theory and non-ideal theory in his book, A Theory of Justice. It is the answer to someone's misunderstanding to politics.
To make it simple, the ideal theory is based on the following hypothesis: the individuals have the ability to make moral criticisms, they are willing to follow any moral standards which are discussed fairly, a society with good law and order. In other words, the problems ideal theory dealt with is what political order 'should' be with less constraints. Yet, the reality has so many constraints, just to name two possibilities:
(1) The reality has the conditions to put 'ideal' in practice, in other words, it is just transitional to be not ideal;
(2) The reality does not have the reality to put 'ideal' in practice, we have to set 'ideal' directions and goals, and make them more realistic.

Such theory (which takes ideal and reality in consideration, and making compromises in a world with many constraints, as to improve our lives) is called non-ideal theory. So so-called reality and ideal are not paradoxical: these ideals are the elementary moral standards, and the yardstick helping us to distinguish rights and wrongs. Rawls also pointed out both reality and ideals are important: we must combine them to make our society a progressive one with a sensible ideal and a feasible non-ideal theory.
Realpolitik is not only from the mouth of Chin, as non-ideal theory is based on a justifiable political ideal, and takes reality into consideration.
Moreover, in reality, political contest are not unethical. We can refer to Max Weber, a German political socialist's essay, Politik als Beruf (Politics as a vocation), where he mentions two kinds of ethics. He thinks that if politics is a pure activity of authority, then the ethics they obey are different from saints (he quoted it is not right to revenge even someone tries to start a fight or an argument in the context of turning the other cheek)
 Weber said there are no rooms for saints to participate in politics. No high moral values. Chin or Mr Man might agree on this, but politicians do have ethics. Weber thinks the ethics of politician lie on:
(1) the proportion between moral/political aims; (2) responsibility; (3) his passion on his job; (4) having distance between his preferences and the real aims.

For example, if it is a necessary evil to resort to community contradictions (族群矛盾), we also have to prove why is this a necessary evil, and discuss its negative impacts and how it can attain 'autonomy'. Besides we have to ponder over the value of 'autonomy'. Is it that any kind of autonomy is a good one? If not, which one is a better one? Why?

4. As to Chin's attitude on Realpolitik, Baig doubted sensibly: degrading politics to competition of interests will bring politics into a cul-de-sac. As Baig said, it is easy to satisfy petty favours. Those who feel satisfied will not fight for democracy afterwards, and Hong Kong cannot be on its path of autonomy. In some circumstances where reality and ideals are disconnected, some social movements in HK have become competition of interests. It does not only neglect the awakening of the public on justice, but also favours the CCP 'united front' work. When Hong Kong seek autonomy from a strong economic and military regime being a veteran in power struggle, how 'realistic' is such Realpolitik if we resort to materialistic benefits? Mr Man might misapprehend Baig. She is not an opponent of 'local-come-first', and did not see protecting rights as a wrong thing. She wanted to mention the relationship between local interests and universal values ─ local interests are not protected by policy because there is a lack of democratic participation in HK's political system. So we shall not stop at merely protecting materialistic benefits, but place our importance to democracy.

Notably, Chin originally has his political ideal. He criticized CCP of procrastination of universal suffrage, suppressing the dissidents, allowing consortium hegemony, interpretation of Basic law as he pleases, ruining Chinese culture in his book ─ it is because he has yardsticks in his mind: democracy, freedom, fairness, justice, spiritual civilization are values he thinks worthwhile to have. Saying there are no ideal in politics is just a kind of selfishness, and is contradictory to his thoughts. However, he focused a lot of debating, becoming somehow heterodox, so people neglect his political ideal. Mr Man says political declaration and discourse need no demonstration, I can't agree on this. The attitude of 'needless to debate, just believe' will lead to a reliance on authorities, and useless in enlightening people to think independently with their own wisdom.

Confronting CCP and having city-state autonomy will inevitably involve the defintion of community, and how to deal with relationship of community members. In other words, Chin does not agree on the governance of CCP on HK. He expects a new political order can be formed through city-state, so what kind of order is it? We just see Chin merely talking ethnic Chinese culture, but did not mention his views on EM, so we decided to discuss on this. Especially in Remnants Discourse, he mentioned how to decolonize Chinese culture; and be inclusive while reviving Chinese culture. Sooner of later, he will have to face these problems. Yet, during the interview, he said: EM shall succumb temporarily in the process of confronting CCP; after the autonomy of HK, mainstream interests will be eventually the base of devising policy. It is the pot calling the cattle black as the cultural hegemony of CCP (for example using simplified characters [with over 1 billion users] to replace traditional ones [with less than 4 million])

5. Lastly, Mr Man doubts we, as hosts, posted a edited version without the entire conversation. From our experience, editing and writing more is more complicated than just uploading the conversation record. We hope that the main points can be emphasized by re-editing. If Chin and Baig agreed, we do not mind providing a full version, and let readers determine. At last I have to thank Mr Man's detailed reply, as an inspiration of more public discourse. This is what we aimed at.

Monday, 17 June 2013


  • Playing On Our Turf



中國乘客笑到見牙不見眼,用歡呼同鼓掌為五分半鐘的表演劃上句號;他們並無說要求Encore,加些有中國味兒的東西。他們好應該這樣做。演奏了的是A. 德伏扎克的American String Quartet (美利堅弦樂四重奏),單看標題就充滿了文宣味。


用美國味的菜牌「嘉惠」中國人,純粹是因為這是免費節目。我就會播Jack Nicholson的《飛越瘋人院》(One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)主題曲了。風格奇特,提醒祖國同胞乖客,1999年是美國政府炸毀中國駐南斯拉夫大使館、2001年擊落中國偵察機,據說令機上的飛行員王偉不幸身亡。在機上,堅持要求有一碗揚州炒飯,換掉安格斯牛扒,想必也不會有人投訴我的。別忘記啊,當中國人從北京美領館申請旅客或者學生簽證時,雖然一疊疊銀紙拋在領事館職員前,美國人可是堅持有權仔細挑選的啊。

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

[Pentoy Interviews] How do you define a Hongkonger?: Wan Chin vs Raees Baig

Co-hosted by Kitty Ho Suet-ying, Kay Lam Chi-yan
Translated by Chen-t'ang, Kalmarr Lam (partly)

平台:訪問陳雲、碧華依。 葉家豪攝 2013-5-28
How do you define a Hongkonger?
{Translator's note: Raees Baig looks really cute}
No doubt that Wan Chin, the leader of city-state movement, is the focus in this couple of weeks. He, who criticized the candlelight vigil of Tian'anmen Massacre and mourning Li Wangyang, a Chinese social activist who was passed away a year ago, was then criticized on the Internet. But there is still room for in-depth discussion.
Wan Chin started the discussion of the identity of Hongkongers in his book Hong Kong City-state Discourse (香港城邦論). No matter is Wan Chin correct or not, but the identity of Hongkongers will definitely be one of the important issues. In fact, such controversy was observed in Taiwan. We will all be witnesses of an important social change.
Raees Baig is a local ethnic minority (EM) scholar. No matter in the discourse of 'Greater China' side or 'Localists' side, few voices are heard from the EM side, and she'll be a mouthpiece of them.
There is insufficient room to discuss issues in public, and often it becomes a mess when there are 'unrestrained' discussion online. The interview programme of Pentoy aims at creating a room where both parties can really TALK, and have an in-depth discourse with our hosts.

Therefore we have invited Wan Chin and Raees Baig to discuss the question, with our hosts Kitty Ho and Kay Lam: How do you define a Hongkonger? How to protect the minority?

We do not put any restrictions as usual, as long as we can handle. The interview is really long, hope you will like it. (Translator's crying......) And we hope that we may provide some points and clues for readers to ponder over. We hereby thank our hosts and participants.

Chin, the author of Hong Kong City-state Discourse, who likes talking about the 'Chinese orthodoxy' (中華道統), but stays away from 'China'; while Baig, a young female EM, whose raw nerves are touched by localists' discourse. With many online supporters, Chin is an advocate of Realpolitik, while Baig is a scholar safeguarding the rights of EM with universal values ─ these two thoughts seems to be irrelevant, and these two interviewees have not met each other before. Their viewpoints might vary, but they have in-depth study in ethnic issues.

We invite them to be here, talking about questions yet to be answered by Chin: How do you define a Hongkonger? How do a Chinese-majority city state ─ Hong Kong ─ protect the rights of EM?

Before the discussion begins, we invite Wan Chin introducing his two books: Hong Kong City-state Discourse and Hong Kong Remnants Discourse (香港遺民論). His main points are:

(1) CCP is the culprit of damaging Chinese culture, and suppresses Hongkongers in the name of national interests, nationalism and China-HK integration
(2) His solutions for (1) is: It is a must to change HK to a city-state temporarily, and to establish a Chinese Federation with Taiwan and mainland China once a democratized China is formed. Although the sense of 'cultural China' is quite strong among Hongkongers, but when we face such a party-state, we have to deal with local issues, and establish sense of nativeness, and temporarily giving up the identity as a Chinese. It is not feasible nor safe to treat the democracy of Hong Kong as a part of democracy of China: when Hongkongers are more and more concerned about the politics on the mainland side, the CCP has more 'excuses' to intervene in Hong Kong.
(3) As to the practice of his city-state theory, Chin emphasized a lot on Realpolitik. In his opinion, Hong Kong must resort to ethnic politics and local interests in order to fight against CCP and be a city-state. Local interests is not only a necessity against the CCP, but also a principle in allocating resources when democracy is practised. Chin thinks that concept of 'universal values' is rather vague, and can only be a foundation of politics and law institution, but cannot serve as a principle in allocating resources. So when there are universal suffrage, local interests will be the greatest consideration of resources allocation.

The problem Chin addressed is the suppression to Hong Kong by the CCP. We do not disagree at first, and it was initially a peaceful talk. Yet Baig started a debate as she does not agree the logical order from (1) to (2), and from (2) to (3).

The discourse begins from: Who are the remnants of Hong Kong? What are local interests?
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Who are remnants of Hong Kong? - Between sense and sensibility
The term "remnants" is from Wan Chin's Hong Kong Remnants Discourse . It refers to the Chinese people which were left behind by colonial government. Those people have the concept of "Cultural China", however, it is different from the ethnicity of mainlanders ─ the Chinese culture of Hongkongers is mainly derived from Guangdong. Some migrants came to Hong Kong before the Qing Dynasty, whereas some came after 1949, when the CCP took over mainland China. Under the rule of the colonial government, the sense of belonging and the awareness of being a world citizen have been developed. Besides those who come from Guangdong, there are some migrants from other regions, such as American, British, as well as Eurasian and South Asian, which came along with the foreign rule, and the overseas Chinese back from Southeast Asia. By this Hong Kong Remnants Discourse, I would like to discuss what cultural traditions they brought here and  conserved, and what role this tradition can they play under the modern democratic regime.

After defining remnants, Chin was asked whether Baig, whose born and raised in Hong Kong, with Pakistani father and Hongkonger mother, a remnant.

Chin: She is a remnant, but not a 'mainstream' one.

Hosts: How do you define 'mainstream'? Is it based on amount of people or other standards?

Chin: Amount of people, the culture of ethnic Chinese (華人) or showing one's willingness of integrating into ethnic Chinese culture, for example, writing Chinese characters, speaking Chinese. If one do so, I would call him/her a remnant. Culturally speaking, I do not resort to cultural dominance, yet in Hong Kong, ethnic Chinese culture remains overwhelmingly dominant in Hong Kong. We cannot say that in Hong Kong, ethnic Chinese citizens are overwhelmingly dominant, as some of them are 'fake' ones ─ some being pro-Beijing, some being pro-America, some talking about universal values, some prohibiting their offspring speaking Cantonese, and so on. Moreover, ethnic Chinese in Hong Kong had not fully acknowledge its own culture, the dignity of culture has not been established.

Having different viewpoints, Baig: First of all we have to define ethnic Chinese culture. Everyone in this room are ethnic Chinese, except me. Do you think yourself embracing Chinese culture? If ethnic Chinese do not necessarily embrace Chinese culture, of course I could say I am a remnant of the Hong Kong city-state, as 'ethnic Chinese culture is the "mainstream" culture of the Hong Kong city-state' becomes invalid. Besides, for identity issue, we often argue the definition of a Hongkonger, but the identity of Hongkonger remains blurred to EM. I think that it was arbitrary to define what is a 'Hongkonger', and moreover Professor Chin said many Hongkongers are not so active in taking part in ethnic Chinese culture. Can I say I am a Hongkonger when I celebrate Lunar New Year or eat glutinous rice dumpling during Dragonboat Festival? These standards are vague, so I would not define in such way. In my mind, that the most important thing for building up Hongkongers' self-identity is: bringing everyone to discuss public policy and social issue. Every day, Hong Kong people are discussing the issue of 'doubly non-negative residents' (both parents are not residents in HK, hereinafter DNRs), the issue of foreign domestic helpers gaining right of abode or the livelihood issues. If I could participate in such discussion, I will feel that I am a Hongkonger irrespective of race. In the entire discourse of City-state Discourse, even ourselves cannot define what is ethnic Chinese culture, or what is Hongkonger. If we think that Hong Kong embraced a set of culture different from that of mainland China or the UK, then we have to point out and define the core meaning of such culture.

It is always difficult to clearly define what constitutes a community's sense of identity. Chin admitted that even a folklorist like him feels hard to give a clear definition of Hongkonger and 'Chinese-race' (Zhonghua Minzu, 中華民族), and therefore there are grey areas, that's why nation and culture are mystic. Chin says he has another definition for 'sense of nativeness': Baig's proposal is with sense, mine is with sensibility and without much thinking. He then straightly stated: 'Those who will defend local interests are Hongkongers.'
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What are 'local interests'?: Between local and universal values
He again interpreted:  Every time we confront the CCP for rights, we resort to universal values; but after democracy is successfully practiced, do we solely talk about universal values? Universal values advocated by the Human Rights Covenant of the UN are, of course, the elementary values of a modern society, but these values cannot become standards in devising and enforcing policies. Priority must be set to deal with conflicts of interests when judgments are made. Many DNRs are coming to Hong Kong and ruining the population structure of Hong Kong, commercializing the Northeast NT, encouraging more Shenzhen people buying more Hong Kong properties, attempting in blurring the border between HK and China. Who are in support of these are not Hongkongers, irrespective of race and motives. Neither is the fundamentals of 'local interests' democracy nor human rights and freedom, but the consensus of defending community rights. Take the US as an example: when there are terrorist attack in the US, who stand on the US army side are Americans.

We might ask some more questions: when the US sends troops to Iraq, some newspapers in UK opposed their country participating on the grounds of humanitarianism. Does this constitute a breach of 'local interests'?

Chin: They are defending the local interests, since involving in warfare will exhaust the country's resources.

Hosts: Those commentators, like Leung Man-tao and Fred Lam, do not support a community struggle (族群鬥爭). Are they defending the local interests?

Chin (answering decisively): I have already made it clear: they are the traitor of Hong Kong.

Here, we find that not only his term 'local interests' can be interpreted in many ways, but also a relative concept. If there are resource allocation problems between other parties and local interests during discussion of certain matters (like DNRs and parallel traders), we can clearly define what is NOT of local interests; but when the matter is an internal problem involving different interests groups (like minimum wage, or the UBWs of NT indigenous inhabitants), 'local interests' can hardly be a principle for resource allocation. As 'local interests' is the core of city-state discourse, it has to be clearly defined in order to be rested on during devising a policy.

Baig (heckled): I wish to know what is local interests indeed; if we cannot define what is local interests, then neither can I participate, and nor think I'm a guest in today's interview.

Chin (noncommittal): Never mind. I can do nothing if you do not participate.

Baig (a bit irritated): Mr Chin, I do not want to call you as a professor. (Translator's note: Wan Chin is called by Baig at the beginning as 'professor'. Chin gained his moniker 'Nation's teacher' (國師) due to Leung Man-tao's column)

Chin: As you like.

Baig (irritated): Simply you are xenophobic. You just said you do not mind whether I could participate in discussion, simply because I asked you to define 'local interests' but you failed to! Those 'leftist-morons', as you said, are not in the establishment and cannot be obstacles of policy. (Editors' note: Chin once said the localists cannot participate in devising policy, so such 'discriminative views' cannot be counted in) The problem is only that whether we can be inclusive of different opinions. Singapore is facing the same situation, they do think Singapore belongs to Singaporeans, so they do not welcome PRC residents living there. The society reacted vehemently to the Singaporean administration, but the entire discussion was halted ─ elitism takes its place. Singaporeans have a sense of superiority, so they do not accept mainland Chinese. They think they are civil-minded but the PR Chinese are not. So, 'community politics' (族群政治) is indeed elitism.¥¥x¡G³X°Ý³¯¶³¡BºÑµØ¨Ì¡C ¸®a»¨Äá 2013-5-28
Chin refuted: Don't you think that what I have said is based on facts to a certain degree? The man would be questionable if he derails our discussion of should we block DNRs and revise the Basic Law. Resorting to the term 'locust' is to force our government to adopt a tough approach, so as to restrict entry of mainlanders. Moreover, DNR expectant mothers did not receive good upbringing: they born their children and go back to mainland China. We might not know when will they return, probably when there are war and economic downturn. Or maybe they are just exploiting the advantages of local education system. When the society force the government to take action by complaining the 'locust', some people criticized me of racial discrimination. They do not see the whole picture of politics. Their knowledge and experience may enable them to comprehend the facts. If the political reality of Hong Kong is that the mainlanders infringing the local interests, causing insufficient resources in Hong Kong, then a further question besides defining 'local interests':  how far would the pursuance of protecting local interests get us?¥¥x¡G³X°Ý³¯¶³¡BºÑµØ¨Ì¡C ¸®a»¨Äá 2013-5-28
Plurality of the Hong Kong city-state and the rights of ethnic minorities (EM)
Chin mentioned very little about the EM in Hong Kong Remnants Discourse, but clearly pointed out that the differences between EM and local ethnic Chinese is little, or even closely to none; on the contrary, although most Hongkongers and mainland Chinese belongs to Chinese, but they are not of the same community. As to the reason why EM are closer to Chinese, Chin said that the EM 'do as the Hongkongers do', for example striving in learning Cantonese, foreign domestic helpers "humbly asked for the right of abode" to the HK government. He 'appreciated' this a lot. Yet when Chin thinks EM are part of us, at the same time Hong Kong is a city with a majority of ethnic Chinese, so how should we protect the rights of EM?

Chin thinks that neither is Hong Kong an empire or eligible to be an empire. No matter how they express their stance, Neo-nazism will not appear, but rather a coward nationalism with racial discrimination. He said, 'EM might face oppression from resources, society and the government. But these oppression are not from us, the anti-CCP side. You can go for fighting rights for the EM, I will not oppose it. I am not the government, I am just confronting the CCP by the cultural power.

We agreed that there are no tradition of empire in Hong Kong; yet we might think 'oppression' out of the box: the oppressor might not be an empire, the way of oppression might not be tangible violence. Marginalization is a kind of oppression, and as Baig said, EM cannot participate in the discussion of social policy due to various reasons. Those who are excluded from the institution and the mainstream society will be prone to powerlessness, and they will be more timid in participation (Details in: Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference).

EM have to make compromises, reflecting the unjust and disguised oppression of the whole system. On the one hand Chin denounced the oppression placed on Hong Kong by the CCP, on the other he took no count of the oppression placed on EM by local mainstream. We have a doubt, isn't it the pot calling the kettle black?
In short, if he considers Hong Kong's confrontation against the CCP's cultural hegemony being reasonable, does it mean that EM are able to use the same reason to confront against the mainstream? If we need to avoid erring in an CCP way, that is, oppressing minorities by mainstream, we cannot also resort to "EM doing what the Hongkongers do" to absolve the oppression to EM. Ask Chin in another way: what is cultural diversity (or multi-culture, 多元文化)?
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Chin does not define plurality (多元化) as tolerance: We can exclude certain opinions on the basis of civilization and 共和, as to generate a 'mainstream' culture. My understanding of plurality refers to the constructive interaction between the majority and the minority. Although each voice has its right to compete, but eventually there will be a mainstream voice, which will become the principle of devising a policy. As there are different priority for different policies, and limited resources are available, we have to consider the mainstream interests first during devising policy; if we only emphasize plurality, we cannot devise policy. Especially after dual universal suffrage, Hong Kong has to face the problem of resource allocation ─ different communities will compete for benefits when they want votes. Before suffrage, we often talk about universal values; but after suffrage, benefits will stymie the way for resource allocation. Of course, at least we have to protect the elementary rights of the minority. For example, in the DNRs case, we cannot treat DNRs and Hongkongers equally.

Baig thinks tolerance is the foundation of plurality and democratic deliberation: We often see that the Policy Address asked foreigners to integrate into the Hong Kong society, but this is wrong. Oneself could not integrate, but a inclusive society can help these people integrate. That's why we are asking whether Hong Kong provides such an environment where everybody in Hong Kong can participate in the discussion of social usses. If everyone only listens to the mainstream opinions, the social plurality will disintegrate. Besides, I think that you have pointed your finger wrongly. Of course I do think everyone has to protect the interests of Hong Kong, but the DNRs issue is a policy problem, but not related to a community problem.

Chin (straightforward): Some people argued that I am a Han-chauvinist, but that's the only choice. When plurality hurts the interests of Hong Kong, I think that we do not need to take count of them. You may say, but the doer do not have to listen and consider during devising policy. It is useless. When the anti-CCP movement and city-state autonomy become successful, and we can show the mainstream of Hongkongers with dignity, plurality can have its own place; but when these are not yet successful, I will exclude you, as you are not in line with me. I'm frank, and not afraid of offending others.
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How 'real' is Chin's Realpolitik?
Chin keeps saying the term 'Realpolitik' over and over. The origin of 'Realpolitik' is from Prussia in the 19th century (present-day Germany). The Minister President of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck (also known as Iron Chancellor), proposed the national interests shall be the highest consideration of administration and diplomacy, unbounded by moral ethics or ideology in order to achieve the unification of Deutscheland (Germany). Learnt from Germany, Chin said Realpolitik is a reasonable way to protect local interests, so the rights and interests of EM cannot be taken into account.

Hosts: You said your thoughts are from Realpolitik, so do you think that Realpolitik is incorrect in nature but a necessary evil?

Chin: No, as this is based on facts: most mainlanders do not behave themselves. And when the resources are insufficient, the government is side with mainlanders! Hongkongers have no choice but to scold them, until the government is scared. Restricting bootlegging infant formula (RBIF) is one of the consequence that we scold the government. Early to 1998, I already mentioned the concept of 'remnants'. After the change of sovereignty, we have to find our cultural identity to maintain the cultural consensus, aiming at a better governance. We must say this. If I don't, the CCP will do; if the CCP will do, what would happen? Everybody's clear. If I don't, and some sociologists do, can their discourse confront the CCP's? Absolutely not.

But if Hong Kong autonomy has to succeed, the prerequisite is the approval of CCP, who is afraid of Hong Kong being an "independent political entity" (IPE) and willing to sacrifice at a heavy price. In the eye of CCP, no matter 'city-state autonomy' or 'becoming an independent country' represent that Hong Kong will become an IPE, which will hardly be allowed. Even Hongkongers are in concerted efforts in separating from the rule by China, will we become another Chechenya as we are in the proximity of a strong neighbour? Even 7 million are in concerted efforts, can we confront 1.3 billion? How feasible is Chin's Realpolitik?

Chin: This is a realpolitik 博奕. CCP leaders are realists, if they feel it's favourable, they would do so. In the last 6 decades, no one proposed Hong Kong being an independent country, and now I say so, you can see am I in jeopardy? The Basic Law stated that Beijing has to give democracy to Hong Kong. Whether you will fight for it, Beijing will let HK democratize. They will be the unfavourable side if they still procrastinate. If various conflicts of benefits, people started to know the importance of a council, and who is really representing the people. Like in the Sichuan earthquake fundraising [in 2013], people know there are discrepancies between what they feel and the voting result, and know who to support in the coming election. Citizens might not participate in discussion so often, but the voting trend will change whenever confrontation occurs.

As to whether Hong Kong will become another Chechenya, he said it depends on:
Firstly, is integration as a single-regime country a 'Great Unity' (大一統)? There are two kinds of 'Great Unity' in China: one being the single regime adopted by Qinshihuang (秦始皇) ─ Prefecture-county system; another advocated by Confucius, saying countries are under 虛君, but with common ethical foundation (of Chinese culture). Confederation theory refers to the latter one, few federal states tie to be a confederation. It depends on the choice of politicians and people in different regions. Time will tell and allow people to choose whether integration of HK and Taiwan, independence or confederation is favourable. Moreover, is the nationalism on the mainland China sufficient to support mainlanders to enrol in the army? I don't think so. You can see from their attitude to Diaoyu Islands (Translator's note: Also known as Senkaku Islands). They are not the one who set sail to there, but Hongkongers and Taiwanese. Mainlanders broke Japanese cars in Japanese stores, but did not attack the embassy. There are many boats and ships in Fujian, but none of them set sail and occupy the islands. So we can discuss different opinions ─ how are they conceived, including the CCP.¥¥x¡G³X°Ý³¯¶³¡BºÑµØ¨Ì¡C ¸®a»¨Äá 2013-5-28
Local interests must integrate with universal values
When Chin pointed out, plausibly, the originality of City-state Discourse and the power of the book in Realpolitik, Baig spoke bluntly that his goal was simply anti-CCP, and Chin actually didn't have much to say about racial harmony and multiculturalism. 
She asked, that what can anti-CCP movement bring about: So what after the anti-CCP movement? Is such 'democratization' a real democracy? I think both universal values and human rights are important, as this is the firm bottom-line. If we compromise on these, then all social movement will disintegrate, as no one knows what the ultimate value is. For example, in cases like anti-CCP movement, anti-DNRs, anti-bootlegging of infant formula, if the government keeps on making concessions and giving petty favours to Hongkongers, Mr Chin, your supporters will not come out and confront as their demands are met. The government will not answer to demands like democracy and protection of human rights. This is the washout of the entire movement. Fighting for democracy and human rights are the right way in gearing ourselves to the international conventions, not the Chinese conventions. How 'Real' is your Realpolitik. Politicians can never do what you exepct. You think the anti-DNRs and anti-bootlegging of infant formula movement was successful, but these are only petty favours. The values behind remains the same, the boundary areas have to be opened.

Hosts: Following Baig, I just thought of some cases. On some parent forums, almost all people supported anti-DNRs proposed by CY's administration, but they will not involve in democratic movement. This is the fact of some Hongkongers, who lacks universal values as Baig mentioned.

Baig even think that what Chin mentioned ─ 'local interests', are the tangible interests of Hongkongers: Neither can these interests be turned into universal values, nor be enhanced. For example, no one would say the meaning of anti-bootlegging infant formula movement is 'democracy is the foundation of protecting our own rights'. If we have sufficient infant formula then we will be satisfied, no one would participate in public discourse, as their urgent needs are solved, and they will not attach so much attention to democracy. If they think so, they are not global citizens, but rather extremely 'local citizens'.

Facing doubts by Baig, Chin agreed that at the same time, Hong Kong shall struggle against the CCP as well as nurture citizens with vision, letting them know we need democracy in HK. Still, the vague impression of universal values remains in the mind of Chin.

Baig pointed out that if the democracy system in Hong Kong is very stable, no worry is needed for infringement of local interests: Some scholars said the issue of '2nd generation of immigrants' is actually a false statement. When the 1st generation took roots, the 2nd generation have already become local citizens, but not immigrants. People classified 'immigrants' as they are in a new place, different from others and not treated as local people. So when they can fully participate in local public discourse, they are already a part of society. Why do we think they will affect the local people's interests? They are local people once the government granted them citizenship.

(Editor's note: What she said is actually responding to what Chin had said at the beginning ─ EM is not the mainstream of the city-state.)

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Post-script: Communitarianism and Realpolitik

During the discussion, Chin and Baig did not interact much. Chin did not clearly state the definition of local interests, but described it in three aspects:
(1) Local interests is on the opposite side of the interests of CCP;
(2) It refers to the 'mainstream' benefits of the Hong Kong society, and 'mainstream' is defined by the amount of people, as well as culture;
(3) It does not exactly equal to universal values. 

According to Chin's comprehension of Aristotle, he created a discourse similar to communitarianism: he thinks that there are two kinds of moral principles ─ one being abstract and universal, that is, 'universal values'; another one being certain principles belonging to certain communities, that is, 'local interests'. He thinks that universal values are not into specific social context (脫離特定的社會脈絡), therefore it is impertinent to mention universal values when resources allocation is involved in real terms. He further pointed out that we need to establish a moral principle based on Hong Kong by common cultural, political and historical background (especially facing the challenge and suppression by the CCP), and use such principle in nurturing personal responsibilities and sense of belonging, as well as enhancing social movements and discussion of policy.

In political science, communitarianism is the most representative school putting community interests first. Communitarianism attach great importance to the qualification, participation and common interests of the community members, and treat these as important and just principle. Communitarians oppose the identity of world citizens. They think that a political community has little moral obligation to do with other political communities, and it is normal to have segmentation (區隔).

At the same time, they suggest that the moral identity of every member of the political community is equally important. A famous communitarian, Michael Walzer, once pointed out that community members can only involve in political decision-making once they obtained citizenship, and they can then feel their significance in the community as well as share interests among other members.

Chin's definition to 'community' emphasized more on bloodline and commonality. He thinks that the EM and the ethnic Chinese are of the same community, and welcomes them to be in the discussion. But Hong Kong shall pursue 'mainstream' interests when democracy is practiced, rather than the common interests of the entire community.

Here comes a question: if 'mainstream' only includes community members embracing ethnic Chinese culture, then we have to find out the reason why such culture and resources allocation are interrelated. If resources allocation is purely considered according to 'mainstream' benefits, then it would be a 'majority rule' without protecting the rights of minorities, and far from democracy and human rights.

In Realpolitik, Baig also raised several worthwhile questions to ponder: is democratic movement sustainable to promote 'community concepts' over universal values? Chin has obvious objectives when he emphasized local interests in the current stage, where Hong Kong is facing political and cultural suppression. But the core meaning of universality is that they are universally acknowledged and supported. Local interests shall not contravene universal values. Localist movement shall not be short-sighted and merely in pursuit of materialistic benefits selfishly. We think that a learned person shall welcome beneficial comments. We learnt a lot during this interview. We hereby hope that two interviewees and readers can bring more inspiration. Chin told us that he cherished such opportunities a lot after the interview. He did not express and defend his stances so comprehensively before. At last, we have to thank editorial team of Pentoy.

(Translator's note: As well as Kay, she helped me a lot. Really.)

Planned by Editorial Team of Pentoy
Photography by Yip Ka-ho

Friday, 7 June 2013

Not wise to knock Wan Chin down

Originally at :
By Wong Hoi-ming

Translated by Chen-t'ang

[Note: Wan Chin 陳雲, whose his family name is Chin, pronounced in Hakka]

The profile picture of Wan Chin on Facebook

Although there are many people teasing Wan Chin 'controlling natural forces' at the night of June 4th, criticizing him for only talking the talk with a keyboard. Yet up to now, nobody could challenge his city-state theory effectively. His opponents cannot convince Chin, so they could merely make a fuss upon trifles, and say that they despise talking to a mad man, as a response to his MAXIM: 'Forget it, I can determine you attitude already', or even demand Lingnan University to fire such person with misconduct. These people are not here to help improving the future of HK politics, but rather intensifying the feud between anti-Communist and anti-pro-establishment camp.

Studying logic is obviously not a prerequisite for a rational discussion. Otherwise, the discussion will be in an ivory tower. The prerequisite is simple: although in the interview on Pentoy (Chinese version; English version will be later provided here), the interviewer simply cannot master well on interviewees' answers, yet their answers are clear. Their views on 'local interests' might not represent all parties, but at least their rationale shows the viewpoints of the side supporting city-state and the side upholding universal values.
At least there are somebody being the mediator and objective relatively. It's better than endless dispute on Facebook.

Everybody can enjoy freedom of speech entitled by law, and say what they want on the Internet. In the Eastern Zhou dynasty, there was a movement called 'inclusion and speak-up of hundreds of schools' (百家爭鳴). Many people expressed their views and impacted the society at that time. 'School', according to Sima Qian (司馬遷), refers to using one's own method and thoughts to be independent from others. If everyone follows what others say, then it would be useless to 'speak up'. In short, if participants can avoid personal attack, that it's already promoting a beneficial environment for rational discussions.

Netizens in Hong Kong are not ignorant. Nowadays, people tend to 'label' somebody─ 'leftist moron', 'rightist moron', 'localist moron', 'Greater China blind supporters', etc. But keeping on labelling someone is not helpful at all. Those 'smart ass' shall come out and contribute to society. It is the only way to make HK a better place.

To conclude, no matter Chin is really or pretending mad, using this as tactics or sincerely getting protégés, there is no need for everyone sticking to such dispute. The progression of HK is helping the 'mad guy' to be presented in a decent way, rather than shooting him with rifles. The stances of 'leftist moron' are vague, yet the proposal of Chin is yet to be completed. Both parties need 'complimentary forces', like Hung Ho-fung (孔誥烽). We shall focus on how other rational people interpret the theory of city-state, rather than merely focusing on Chin. We have to concern whether his theory is practical, rather than who sends who to the hell or Nuremburg.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Originally at :

By Paul Zimmerman 文/司馬文

Translated by Chent'ang 譯/鎮棠

日本建築師磯崎新和由吳永順主導的本地團隊AGC Design的設計已展出了一段時間。大部分人接受了新的中環街市將按此方案興建。去搜尋器按幾下,你就可以找到「城中綠洲」的網頁當中的設計和資料(我不能理解為何不直接叫「中環街市」)。

市建局為節省時間,申請了 「略為放寬高度限制」,而非更改分區計劃大綱圖(12A)。這實在是開壞先例。不少建築物均曾向城規會申請「略為放寬高度限制」,多數獲批,而發展商經常任意玩弄此條款,本意是為了容許加添一些設計變更,如天台公用設施。小型建築物頂多也就5%到10%,就中環街市而言也頂多是加一層。

"Archaic Politicians" in the 21st Century

Originally at:

By Lewis Loud
( )

Translated by Chen-t'ang

The patriotism of the older generation is so deeply ingrained. The so-called pan-democrats in Hong Kong begins from the 'democratic-reunificationists' (D-Rs). They, in fact, are nationalists, and 'reunificationists'. For these D-Rs, it is not necessary to have immediate democracy (which, they think, could be fought gradually), but they attach lots of importance to reunification. They are more enthusiastic in fighting for reunification than the 'local-leftists'. They subjectively believe China will be better and better, regardless of the future of Hong Kong. This is the 'patriotic politics' in Hong Kong.

No matter the D-Rs or the backbone of the Pan-democrats, they are just 'archaic' as if they were Qing dynasty people living in the 21st century. On the one hand, they bowed and scraped with 'allegiance and patriotism' (although they insist in supporting a China which is yet to exist); on the other hand, they are so conceited in their spirits of 'loving the country and loving the people'.

Feeling self-abased and arrogant at the same time were characterizing these 'traditional' intellectuals. They think highly of themselves in bemoaning the plight of the Chinese. Settled down in Hong Kong, the D-Rs think they are able and responsible to democratize China on the base of Hong Kong. The party will be nerve-racking if these D-Rs did something "against the central government", and 'sentence' them being unpatriotic. They will then surrender as they are 'sinned', according to the Chinese authority. Yet at the same time, their arrogance of 'loving the country, loving the people' allow them to tolerate the misbehaviour of the mainland Chinese.

These 'archaic' politicians always think each and every issue in Hong Kong (welfare, population, smuggling problems, etc.) as a yardstick of patriotism before the CCP. Such issue then became vague controversy of values. They think that they are able and responsible to democratize China on the base of Hong Kong; perhaps suggesting HK being the beneficent and obliged to help China; or condemning people hoping for fairness as traitorous separatists.

Hong Kong may be an observer of China's fate, but they shall not merely hope that the Democratized China will bestow upon Hong Kong. They cannot even mix the politics of China and Hong Kong, and sacrifice the benefits of Hong Kong. It is unrealistic to say if we help democratization of China, then the government cannot tackle this, leading to salvation of Hong Kong by a Democratized China.

We 'outsourced' our fate to politicians, which 'outsourced' the fate of HK to an inexistent China. It's like casting oneself on the mercy and grace of the emperor. Hongkongers should not think vague things too much, like the future of China, and neglect the real things yet to be done in HK.

Race replacement is happening right here in HK. But these 'archaic' politicians will say: we have to remain abstinence; we cannot offend China; it is ruthless to talk rationally.
So what's the fact? The livelihood and the welfare of the next generation cannot be well safeguarded, not to mention democracy and freedom. These 'archaic' politicians are merely supporting the 'democratization of China', and neglect the sad fact in HK. It's like the theologists discussing how many angels are dancing on the candlestick regardless of the plague in the Medieval times.

As to be a 'keyboard warrior', it is not shameless. At least they won't keep their mouth shut when Chinese nabbed and grabbed infant formula. D-Rs are not that noble when "loving their countries" on Facebook, or safely be 'anti-Communists', or 'constructing a democratic China' distantly. But at least, these 'archaic' politicians have received donations, votes for their council seats, salary and moral high ground ─ see, putting the countries before HK is, "safe and well".