The Rise of Localist and RadicalsTranslated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by Lee Yee
Edward Leung Tin-kei, the NT East localist candidate who supported "resistance without bottom line", garnered over 66,000 votes. This is the most important trend people should be focusing in this by-election. Leung is different from the establishment camp or the pan-dems. He has no political background, or so-called "fundamentals". After the by-election, Alvin Yeung said some people might support Leung but voted him because they do not want Holden Chow to win. There should have been more votes for Leung in this sense. As a nobody in the political circle, it shows more voters support localists and radical means when Leung got 15% votes.
Two or three years ago I have already said localization and radicalization will be the trend for democratic struggle in the future. In these years, many new discourse appeared, such as City-state Autonomy, Rewriting Constitution, "Brenter" (to return to British rule), Hong Kong Nationalism, Reform Hong Kong and so on. In the establishment, John Tsang or Jasper Tsang mentioned about local feelings or protecting local languages and culture. Holden Chow said their party's local awareness focus on not to cause further conflicts between China and Hong Kong.
The fundamental reason why localists rise is because of the HK-China integration boosted by the HKSARG. In the conflicts, all policies are sided with mainland Chinese and sacrificed the interests of Hongkongers. IVS scheme cramping Hong Kong, milk formula, mainland pregnant mothers and their children, smuggling in the North district, Northeast NT exploration are all about livelihood. White elephant projects such as Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High Speed Rail (XRL), or Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge are conducted because such projects can "bring mainland and Hong Kong closer" (not to mention such projects are contracted by Chinese companies instead of Hong Kong ones). Localists are just those who resolutely stand on Hongkongers' side amid so many HK-China conflicts. For the time being we might put other discourses aside. If one talks about "local feelings" but has no feeling about those projects that suck up Hongkongers' money and satisfy the needs of mainland China, then that is by no means "local feelings" but allegiance to China. Talking about "not causing further conflicts" but still supporting those sacrificing projects are seemingly neutral, but far from "local awareness".
The rise of localist is absolutely related with traditional pan-dems neglecting Hongkongers' interests. In so many HK-China conflicts, when Chinese interests overrode Hong Kong, we cannot see any support pan-dem "celebrities", but rather, these pan-democrats even said "localists activities are discriminating against mainlanders". When there was a bill about "putting Hongkongers first", pan-democrats even voted against or abstained, or held press conference on backfiring the stance of such bill. Pan-dem also went to UN Human Rights Committee to spread the message of "Hongkongers are discriminating against mainland Chinese". When they support what the establishment camp supported, such as condemning localist actions or vote for the white elephant projects, Hongkongers who want to defend our very own rights can no longer trust these "politicians". That was how localists rise.
In the struggle for Hong Kong interests, localists became alone in the political field and beaten up on streets. Their so-called radical acts are but struggles under oppression when compared to other countries. Alvin Yeung said more people supported localist and radical acts, so he said there should be an overhaul in pan-dem. He even praised "Leung's courage and purity are the key factors in such overhaul". Looking back and having an in-depth review is the starting point for a self-examination for pan-dems.
(Analysis for Pan-democrats: 2)