Edward Leung's Speech on Hong Kong National Party - “Defend for Democracy, Hong Kong Independence” RallyTranscribed by Undergrad, HKUSU, translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠 and Peggy, edited by English Lesson for Freedom, spoken by Edward Leung Tin-kei
|(Source: Undergrad, HKUSU Instant News)|
Good evening, to all of my fellow Hongkongers. This is Edward Leung, the spokesperson of Hong Kong Indigenous. It is great to see so many of you attending this peaceful, rational, non-violent and non-swearing (PRNN) rally. Many might be surprised that Hong Kong National party or Localists would hold such a rally.
While we, in the past, have been preaching valorous confrontation and dismissing formalism and failurism, does that mean we cannot chant slogans, hold demonstrations, organize rallies, or listen to songs? The answer is No. We were in Admiralty and Mong Kok during the Umbrella Revolution, and we were on the frontline, why did we dismiss conventional modes of activism, as well as mainstream politicians? Because of their dogmatism.
Peaceful, rational, non-violent, some may even add non-swearing - these are the dogmatic principles I spoke of, the dogmas that we have been told never to violate. The result was, whenever there were people rushing to Lung Wo Avenue in Admiralty, these dogmatic protesters chose to give up on these people. That’s what we are up against. We are against dogmatism, but not peaceful rally or the ability of civil disobedience. I mentioned this during February by-election. If we have to regain our rights in this society, we cannot keep dogmatism going on. All roads lead to Rome - whichever way can we overthrow this government, whichever way should we proceed. Those who believed in peaceful confrontation and civil disobedience can go on their way. Those who believed in rather peaceful ways such as occupying roads, hunger strikes, stop paying taxes, keep going on. I encourage those to do so and I hope those to do so. I do not want those to completely give up their beliefs because of criticisms on your means. Meanwhile, those who believed in valorous confrontation should keep going on.
In the past few months, we have tried to organize a protest - the one on 1st July, outside the Chinese Liaison Office. We failed. We burdened some activists being arrested. We failed to do anything that night. Plan A failed, so as Plan B and Plan C. What does that mean? Circumstances alter cases when it comes to regaining our rights and protests against the government. Nearly 1,000 cops were around Sai Wan (the region around Chinese Liaison Office). If we blindly believed valorous confrontation will surely be successful, we will be going to hell that night. I don’t want to see any sacrifices, I don’t want to see any people being pushed to the frontline. Only under an inevitable dilemma - to stay or to confront valorously - we will choose the latter. I hope we can understand this, and stop being dogmatic. Stop believing the path you believe will absolutely lead to success and become the only path we have to walk on, and other paths are wrong. We absolutely need to know: circumstances alter cases. I believe the rally today by Hong Kong National Party is very good, because I believe in … (pointing at four Chinese characters “Hong Kong Independence”) … I can’t mention these words, because there will be a lawsuit and election petition and the like, so I can’t mention these words. It’s so darn hard. (Laughters) It’s so hard.
These four characters appeared for the first time in Tamar Park. Then many Hongkongers are coming here because of these four characters. This is a historic moment, so I won’t ask you to give yourself a big hand nor to scream, but we have to remember this moment. This is the moment we can show our will of independence.
OK, I'll stop beating around the bush. Today – my mind is actually quite messy recently, because these two weeks have been filled with too many things. I haven't prepared for anything about election, I am still attending classes in HKU. However, these political whirlpools and turbulences kept affecting me, and I have to face them. So now, my mind is so messy. What should I say can I motivate your awareness for independence? What should I say can I make more people to be awakened and to confront? I haven't figured out yet, but there are some topics I wanted to speak of, so I wrote them in my palm.
First, politics. What is politics? Some may say it is the matter of everyone. To me, the nature of politics is the allocation of power. When we speak of a political problem, we actually mean – whether the authority and resources of the society are being centralised in Beijing's hands, or in hands of bigwigs in the society, or in the hands of other stakeholders, such as the people, such as Hongkongers. What happened in these two weeks? The government extend their authorities to what the law did not empower them to do so. The government did not follow what is written in the law. The government extended its authority and deprived the public of the right to vote and to contest, as well as the freedom of speech. This is an issue of power allocation. When we, Hongkongers, are confronting and in pursuit of a reform of political entity, or just like today, in pursuit of these four characters – we are talking about regaining our rights. We are getting back the rights we ought to have in this society. Neither does this society, this sovereignty of Hong Kong belong to Xi Jinping, to Central Authorities, to CCP, to Chinese government nor to HKSARG. The sovereignty of this society belongs to Hongkongers. The sovereignty should always belong to the people, not to Beijing. But what happened to Hong Kong? There are a million of Hongkongers, genuine ones with blood and flesh, having no right to choose representatives for themselves. They do not have the right to be elected, nor have freedom of speech. Their rights were utterly deprived. What society is this? This is a sheer authoritarian society. What should those who have and pursue independent will do? Revolution.
Now there's a problem – Won't there be bloodshed during a revolution? Won't a revolution fail? Won't there be sacrifices during a revolution? There will, as a matter of course. If the government does not make your revolution fail, not suppressing the revolution, not making sacrifices in your camp, nor nipping you in the bud, what does that mean? A failed revolution that does not pose any threats. The situation today seems bad, but at the same time, it also means we constitute a threat to HKSARG and Beijing. We should be encouraged by this. We have given up fantasies towards HKSARG, the Basic Law and One Country, Two Systems. Starting from this moment, we are prepared to fight, we are prepared to regain the power, and this is the meaning of today's rally.
Another thing: government. What’s government? Why is there a government? The government exists because people want to have an authority to allocate power so as to maintain public order. The government is not an organization to rule the people. The government should be the servant of the people. “People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” If you’re a movie-goer, you may know these two lines. This quote also applies to Hong Kong. Today, there are still many people being afraid of the government. Why? It’s because the government has armed force. The government has power. The government has all the say in society. The government has laws. However, it can exercise the power of interpretation lightly. What the “law” told by Rimsky Yuen is law! This is Hong Kong today. The government is an institution of violence by nature. When our action does not comply with the thinking of the government, when we are not going in the same direction with the government or the authority, they will impose violent suppression on us. That’s why we emphasize valorous confrontation for the reason that the government itself is an institution of violence. Facing this institution of violence, we should not have mercy. We should not act like a coward. And we should not talk about virtues and morals. In fact, this government is a rascal government. It is a rascal regime. Of course, many people do not want to become a rascal. And I myself do not wish to become one, too. However, if it’s the only way to overthrow the government, I have no choice but become a rascal.
Now the third thing: revolution. What is revolution? You may immediately picture: bloodshed, 1911 Revolution in China, corpses, buildings destroyed, sacrifices, suppression, jail. These will come to your mind. But what revolution is, indeed? Revolution is about a fundamental and a bottom-up change in the allocation of power in a social structure. A top-down change means a reform, and a bottom-up change means a revolution. Then imagine, will you still have the wishful thinking that China of HKSARG will give democracy or freedom to Hong Kong in a top-down approach? Impossible. So I'd say, we must have a revolution.
When does the revolution start? The revolution has already started. Two years ago, why did we, localists, call the Umbrella Movement as Umbrella Revolution? Because we know that moment was a start. That moment, when more Hongkongers know we can no longer rely on others nor have the slightest hope from this government. Because if you are relying on that slightest hope for democracy, that is but rule by men. Why do we wish for the slightest hope from the ruler? Why do we wish Beijing to have the slightest good faith to start a reform for democracy, to believe that Hongkongers do not really want to subvert state power, but just our rights and democracy? We do not believe in this, so we were there on 26th September, 28th September, 30th November 2014, we took it to the streets bottom-up to exert pressure to the government. We don't want Hong Kong to be a society of rule by men, we want it to be a society of rule of law. We should have the right that the constitution empowers us. So, this revolution has started two years ago. But most people might still think: “Nah, it was rational, non-violent, and a great utopia, just like Harcourt Road in Central.” The revolution has started subtly, because we no longer long for a top-down reform from the ruler, we started to change the power structure of the society bottom-up.
The revolution has started, so when will it succeed? What was Sun Yat-sen doing in 1894? He was writing a book to Li Hung-chang on reforming the Qing government. Nobody cared, so he established Revive China Society in 1895, and started to tread on the path of revolution. When did he succeed? 1911. He used 16 years to overthrow Qing. I do not want to be a wet blanket, but revolution is a long, long way to go. Things will not be successful in a night, but can be, all of a sudden, successful in a night. It is paradoxical and funny, it is revolution. But we have to keep this revolutionary spirit. We have to influence more people, because at the moment of success, in retrospect, we know it is worthwhile for all the work. After the revolution succeeds, and if we cannot win hearts and minds, we cannot really get Hong Kong. [As Mencius said, ] “Those who get the hearts can get the nation.”, so our first thing first is to influence more people. Today, there is 17%, around a million Hongkongers supporting these four characters, and we have to keep this figure going up. I don't know when we will be the majority of the society, but I know one day we will be. This is a matter of course, because even if I cannot contest this time, or even to be a politician, I believe the day this “door always open” building [HKSAR HQ] is here, the day I cannot get into the building next to it [LegCo Complex]. Never mind, there will be someone else to replace me, there will be successors. You should not put all hope into one person. A person represents himself, and he only represents a concept. You should be after a concept, not a person. I cannot contest, or have no way to – I don't know what else can I do today – but I know I can keep on influencing more people. I can still promote my idea and concepts. We have to keep on affecting hearts and minds. One day we will be the majority, and we will eventually succeed.
Finally: dream. What is dream indeed? Dream is … dream! (laughters) Dream is vague. Before realizing the dream, it seems like a somniloquy. When I was 18 … oh 17 years old, in 2008, many journalists were there. I won't mention which party or politician, but you should remember which leader is the representative of a party. What they did in the Council affected me. When I was in Form 6, I told a classmate, "I wanted to be a lawmaker, what's your opinion?" My friend told me, "Great, you are suitable for the post. You will succeed, I'll vote you." But it seems that I have failed this, this dream was just a step away from me. What happened during my pursuit of dream? A year ago I was just a wasted youth, a year ago I was just an undergraduate who cannot graduate, I wanted to graduate but I can't. A year ago no one knew who I was, and I didn't know what role should I, a wasted youth, play. Who can picture that: a year later, this wasted youth will become a Hongkonger whose political rights were deprived by the government? Who can picture that: this wasted youth is just one step away from his dream? No one can ever picture that, not even me myself, really. Even I myself feel dubious on whether I can continue to realize my dream. But if I know: if I am just "dubious" and not going to act, I am doomed to fail. With this dream, even if I am teased, disdained, scolded, suppressed, I will carry on. [Stephen Chow's quote:] "If we don't have any dream in life, we'll look like a salted fish", isn't it? So I kept going on. A year later, you saw me, Edward Leung, standing here. One year ago, I was just a wasted youth who can't find a job. I can't do anything, and I don't know anything.
Today, we have this dream, and we have to keep this dream. One day we will succeed. Because today many will tease us and think we are nuts, but one year ago, one can picture that these four characters can affect so many people? A year ago when you said these four characters, people will think, or say, "He's mad". "Maybe it is possible in computer games", "Stop daydreaming" … But a year later, we have this rally. One more year later, what will there be? I don't know. But if we, and some others who cannot come today, keep this dream, we will definitely realize this dream, and we will definitely succeed.
This moment is dark. Chan Ho-tin said so. I believed many of you have watched Batman. There is such a line in it:
The night is darkest just before the dawn.
(It's really dark, but) the dawn is coming.
Ignite the revolution to reclaim our Hong Kong!
近呢幾個月，我哋曾經發起過示威，就係七一嘅一個示威，喺中聯辦外面，我哋失敗咗。我哋連累到有好幾位義士出到嚟諗住支持我哋，但結果被捕，乜嘢都做唔到。 Plan A 做唔成， Plan B 做唔成， Plan C 都做唔成。證明咗啲乜嘢嘢啊？我哋反抗政府，攞返我哋應有嘅權力嘅時候，我哋要因時制宜。當晚有近千個警察守喺西環。如果我哋盲目相信勇武抗爭係一定會成功，只有勇武抗爭先係一定要行嘅路嘅話，我哋當晚就一齊去送死。我唔想見到有人犧牲，亦都唔想見到有人係被推上前線。只係喺一個必須嘅情況底下，只係喺一個兩難嘅局面 — 一係就留低，一係就企喺度抵抗嘅時候 — 我哋先至孤注一擲，勇武抗爭。我希望大家會明白依一點，唔好再繼續教條主義，唔好再盲目相信自己嘅嗰一條道路係一定會成功，係必須要行嘅道路，而其他嘅所有道路都係唔應該行，係錯嘅。我哋絕對要因時制宜。所以我覺得今日民族黨搞呢個集會呢其實係非常之好嘅一件事。因為我相信⋯⋯嗱呢四隻字（指住身後大字）我唔講得啦而家，因為要打官司，要選舉呈請啦，所以就唔講得啦，好鬼辛苦。（笑）真係好辛苦。
而革命幾時開始？革命其實已經開始。兩年前，點解我哋呢班本土派叫雨傘運動叫做雨傘革命？就係因為我哋知道嗰一刻就係一個開始。嗰一刻更加多香港人知道，我哋唔可以再靠其他人，唔可以再靠呢個政府網開一面，因為如果你依靠佢網開一面先至畀我哋有民主嘅話，依一種只不過係一種人治。點解我哋要當權者網開一面呢？點解我哋要北京政府有一絲善念，知道香港人其實唔係諗住顛覆國家㗎，只不過想要權力咋嘛，只不過想要民主咋嘛，而開啟呢個民主嘅改革呢？我哋就係唔相信呢一樣嘢， 926 、 928 、 1130 ，我哋先至會走出嚟從下而上向政府施壓。我哋唔希望香港係一個人治嘅社會，我哋希望香港係一個法治嘅社會。憲法寫到明我哋應有嘅權利我哋就應該要有。所以兩年前呢一個革命已經開始咗。只不過大家唔知道，只不過大家仍然覺得：唔係呀，好理性，好非暴力，非常之美好嘅一個烏托邦，好似金鐘嘅嗰一條夏愨道噉樣。但係其實革命已經悄悄咁開始咗。因為我哋唔再奢求當權者從上而下改革，我哋係由下而上扭轉呢個社會嘅權力結構。
革命已經開始，噉到底幾時會成功？ 1894 年孫中山係做緊啲乜嘢嘢呢？佢仲喺度向李鴻章上一本書叫做《萬言書》，仲講緊一個滿清政府應該點樣改革。相信大家都知道佢喺 1895 年冇人理佢之後，成立咗興中會，開始正式嘅革命。幾時先至成功？ 1911 年。由佢開始走上革命呢條路，用咗十六年，先至推翻到一個滿清政府。我唔想掃大家興，唔想潑大家冷水，但係革命係一條長嘅路，冇可能一時三刻就成功，但係又有可能突然之間一時三刻就會成功，係一樣好弔詭，好好笑嘅一件事革命。但係我哋要保持呢一個革命嘅精神。我哋要影響更加多嘅人，因為當成功嘅嗰一刻，我哋回望返過去，我哋就知道一切都係值得。如果革命成功之後，我哋攞唔到人民嘅心 — 民心 — 我哋冇辦法得呢個天下。「得民心者得天下」所以我哋最先要做嘅嘢係影響更加多嘅人。今時今日有 17% ，百多萬嘅香港人相信呢四隻大字，我哋要繼續將呢一個數字繼續上升。我唔知道幾時我哋先至會成為社會上嘅大多數，但我知道終有一日，我哋係社會上嘅主流。呢樣係必然會發生嘅事，因為即使今時今日我冇得參選，即使今時今日我冇得再從政 — 我相信呢個「門常開」一日喺呢度，我都冇機會走入隔離嘅呢一幢大樓（立法會大樓） — 但係唔緊要，因為仍然有第二個人取代我，後繼絕對一定會有人。你哋絕對唔應該將所有嘅希望擺喺一個人嘅身上。一個人佢代表嘅，當然係代表佢自己，但同時間佢代表嘅只不過係一個理念。你哋追隨嘅應該係一個理念而唔係一個人。即使我冇辦法參選，冇辦法再 － 我唔知仲可以做啲乜嘢嘢到今時今刻 － 但係我知道我仍然可以繼續影響更加多嘅人，我仍然可以繼續宣揚我嘅理念，我哋要繼續影響呢個民心，我哋終有一日會成為主流，終有一日會成功。
到最後：夢想。乜嘢係夢想呢？夢想係⋯⋯夢想就係夢想囉（笑）。噉夢想其實係好虛幻嘅一件事。夢想喺實現之前呢，永遠都係好似癡人說夢話噉樣。我喺十八歲嘅時候⋯⋯十七歲嘅時候，就係 2008 年，噉有好多記者喺度啦，噉我唔講啲乜嘢政黨，或者議員嘅名。但係當時零八年大家都知道有邊一個新嘅政團走入去立法會。大家都應該知道當時有邊一個領頭人物係一個政黨嘅代表。佢哋喺個議會做嘅所有嘢，影響到我。我中六嘅時候就同我嘅一個同學講：「我將來想成為一個代議士，你覺得點睇？」佢就話：「幾好啊，你都幾啱做呀，你一定會成功架。我將來會投票畀你。」但係呢一樣嘢，今時今日好似失敗咗，但係曾經我距離呢一個夢想只有一步之遙。而喺我追求呢個夢想嘅呢半年，發生咗啲乜嘢事呢？呢一年，其實一年前我只不過係一個廢青，一年前我只不過係一個畢業唔到嘅大學生，好想畢業，畢業唔到；一年前我只不過係一個社會上完全冇人知我係乜嘢人，我亦都唔知道我喺社會上應該擔當乜嘢角色嘅一個廢青。有邊一個人會諗到：一年之後，呢一個廢青會成為一個被政府剝削政治權利嘅香港人。有邊一個人會諗到：一年之後，呢一個廢青係曾經距離呢一個夢想只有一步之遙。冇人會諗到。我自己都唔係真係好相信。但係即使我自己對我嘅夢想能唔能夠實現，只不過係半信半疑。但係我知道如果我真係繼續半信半疑而唔去做嘅話，我一定會失敗。如果我係秉持住呢一個夢想，即使知道好難成功，即使知道好大機會會失敗，即使知道我走出嚟會畀人恥笑，會畀人唾棄，會畀人謾罵，會畀人打壓，但我都依然繼續去做。「人冇夢想，同鹹魚有咩分別」係咪？噉所以我繼續去做，噉所以一年之後，你見到今時今日你見到我梁天琦企咗喺呢一度。但係其實喺一年之前，我只不過係一個廢青，搵唔到工，乜嘢都做唔到，乜嘢都唔識。
所以今時今日大家有呢個理想，有呢個夢想，大家要繼續保持一個夢想，終有一日我哋會成功。因為今時今刻好多人會恥笑我哋，覺得我哋係痴線，但係一年前又有邊一個人會諗到呢四隻大字會影響到咁多香港人，會走嚟呢個地方集會？一年之前，你講呢四隻大字會被人以為 — 會被人話 — 痴線嘅。「打機可能得喇」「唔好發夢啦」但係一年之後有呢個集會出現。噉再一年之後會有啲乜嘢事出現啊？我唔知。但如果我哋呢一班人，以及社會上有好多未嚟嘅人，繼續保持呢一個夢想嘅話，我哋一定會實現呢個夢想，一定會成功。
Another translation is also available:
Translation by Hong Kong Indigenous: