09 August 2016

[5 Aug 2016 Rally] Edward Tang: There is the time to defy, and there is the time to rally.

Edward Tang's Speech on Hong Kong National Party - “Defend for Democracy, Hong Kong Independence” Rally
Transcribed by Nick, Translated by Timothy and Judy, spoken by Edward Tang
[ The English translation is released under Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ]
(Source: Undergrad, HKUSU Instant News)

Because I’m more of a writer than a speaker, so I am going to refer to my script.

Firstly, I would like to thank Hong Kong National Party for inviting me to speak today.

Today is a historical day, not because it’s another “darkest day for democracy in Hong Kong”, but because we have reached new heights. Just look at the words behind me: “Hong Kong Independence”. Today, localism and independentism have finally become political platforms, and even reasons for the election commission to bar candidates.

As mentioned earlier on Facebook, Ma Man-fai, the true father of Hong Kong independence, foresaw the future of Hong Kong almost 70 years ago. He saw a trend of independentism and self-determinism around the globe, so he became active in the political sphere, using all he had to promote Hong Kong independence. But everybody back then thought he was crazy. Gaining independence under British Rule? You wish. So, people later involved in the democratic movements over the years have long forgotten this person of significance.

But nowadays, we all know that Hong Kong independence is no longer a pipe dream, because 19 years since the handover, after tens of years of democratic movements, there has never been a bigger defeat than today! There has never been a worse state for the geographical constituency since the first election in 1991. Pan-democrats, whom we once trusted, couldn’t do anything about it (the disqualification of localist candidates), and would instead tell you “I’ll start righting this wrong after I win.” Some may even ridicule localists/independentists and tell you to “move over”. (referring to the incident where Pan-democrats held an emergency demonstration to protest against the disqualification of HK National Party’s Chan Ho-Tin. During the demonstration, one of the participants, Erica Yuen, told Chan to move over because he was blocking their path) How can we stand this any longer? Pan-democrats tell you they are here to fight for democracy, yet after three whole decades, we are going backwards. Are you telling me that the political screening we have today is their biggest contribution to the fight for democracy?

This time, the Electoral Affairs Commission became the SAR or even Chinese Communist Party’s minion, censoring localist candidates by their platforms, actions, words or even their thoughts, using accusations of “ulterior” motives to deprive them of their political rights for life. As the old saying goes: “Whatever the superior loves, his subordinates will be found to love exceedingly.” When the Communist Party wants to deprive its citizens of their rights, they would put on a show and pretend to put their political prisoners “to trial” - one was just sentenced to seven years in jail. Hong Kong however has taken this a step forward: They are able to sentence you to political death, barring you from running in elections ever again just because they believe you are politically “guilty”.

When it has come to this, what is left to be said? We Hongkongers should have dropped all fantasies about universal suffrage when the Communist Party announced its decision on 31/8. However, people continue to deceive themselves, hoping that the Communist Party would someday change their minds and at least give Hong Kong “Birdcage Democracy” (Democracy within Beijing’s boundaries), so that Hongkongers can eat, sleep, and live another day in peace. Therefore, even with events such as the 79-day Umbrella Revolution occupation, soon afterwards, people acted as if nothing has happened.

But localists never forgot. Never.

Lam Wing-kee, the Causeway Bay bookseller (who was kidnapped and kidnapped out of Hong Kong via smuggler boats by Communist Party officials), told Singaporean press: “Hong Kong Independence is realistic and feasible.” Although his political views may not align with those of localists or independentists, how did he reach this conclusion? Simple: The human race longs for freedom, and people who have been held captive, who have once lost their freedom, would recognize just how precious freedom is. Living in Hong Kong today, we face the potential loss of our freedom to assemble, our freedom to associate and even our freedom of speech. Basic Law has become nothing but scrap paper, and we never know when we would be captured and smuggled out of Hong Kong against our will. Our personal security is at risk. How is this any different from being in jail?

The Communist Party is using all tricks up its sleeve to bash localists, not just because they fear political separatism, but more importantly, Hong Kong independence is feasible. And because it is realistic, our actions are monitored even more rigorously than before. The government has been using the police and the law to intimidate us, trying to discourage and lead us astray from the path to freedom, but we are not afraid. Our beliefs are firm. We are ready to sacrifice for our beliefs and for Hong Kong, working towards what we have today.

Still, we currently do not have enough strength to start a revolution. Polls have reported a 15% to 17% support for Hong Kong independence, which is not a small number, but it must be understood that these people may not support radical means for the fight all at once. If we look at Taiwan’s Independence movement, they are 30 years ahead of us, whereas our stage has only been set today. We need some patience to do the following:

Firstly, education. By explaining and promoting independence concepts, we need to let the general public understand the importance of independence, and encourage them to care more for Hong Kong’s future. Secondly, set an example. When people question the benefits and feasibility of Hong Kong Independence, we must at least know how to respond. Most importantly, we must build strength in areas other than social activism. Public opinion cannot be moved in a flash.

The Occupy Central rally, held here two years ago, used more than a year to get enough people on board with the idea of street occupation. To push for the mammoth undertaking of independence, we need more time, manpower and resources. These we must accumulate bit by bit. Whether we run for elections, form associations, recruit talent, or even appear on media and battle the war of public opinion, we must fight for publicity; we must prepare ourselves for when the tides do turn.

This rally today might be advertised as “PRVP” (Peaceful, Rational, Violence-free, Profanity-free)1, no different from the ones held by left-wing activists. But here I’ll make it very clear: Their flavour of “activism” has never had a goal, a direction, or a plan. They make it look like it’s activism for the masses, activism that targets the regime, but in reality, they have always been elitists, refusing to trust the masses. Therefore, nothing happens after their demonstrations, and another day is gone.

We’re not like them; we have clear goals and complete plans. We are not doing this for applause, for the cameras or simply for venting. We are doing this to survive under Communist Party oppression, and to win this long battle. In the end, we will seize our sovereignty from the hands of the Chinese Communist Party!

At last, keep this in mind: There is the time to defy, and there is the time to rally. Thank you.

1. Hong Kong Columns (Translated) translate 和理非非 as PRNN - peaceful, rational, non-violent, non-swearing.











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