Thursday, 4 September 2014

Quote of the Day: The Battle of Language

Rita Fan chides Chris Patten for being behind the times with Hong Kong
A war of words has erupted between the pro-Beijing camp consisting of Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and former governor Chris Patten.

The man affectionately known as "Fat Pang" says the UK has a "moral and political obligation to ensure that China respects its commitment" set out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration to "guarantee Hong Kong's way of life for 50 years after 1997".

But today Fan and Leung hit out at Patten, saying the Sino-British Joint Declaration made no provisions for universal suffrage at all, and that he should not be meddling in China's internal affairs, and adding that he was still stuck in his memories of the handover.

Excuse me -- did you say there were no provisions for universal suffrage at all? So now you're saying we have "universal suffrage" but China's version of it?

Someone who was there during negotiations of the Joint Declaration ought to tell us if this is really true or not.

Nevertheless, as said earlier, this is a war of words.

Which brings us to the quote of the day.

James R. Holmes has an article in The Diplomat out today, called "China's War on Maritime Law". The first paragraph, giving words of advice to Washington, could very well be suited to us in Hong Kong:

Never surrender to China in the battle of language, Washington. Ceding control of the words we use can be fatal to diplomacy. If you let someone define the words used in an argument how he pleases, or if you let him use terms so imprecisely that they lose all meaning, you let him establish the assumptions from which the argument proceeds. And once he sets the assumptions, he can prove whatever he wants. You will lose every time. Call it rhetorical battlespace preparation, or call it "three warfares". Whatever the name, it's a never-ending campaign for Beijing. Blunting it demands similar persistence.

Hong Kong people must define their home by their own terms. We cannot let Beijing determine it for us.

And by vetoing the electoral plan it has in store for us is the first step, because it is better than its version of "universal suffrage" which mocks the intent of voting for who we believe is the best chief executive to represent Hong Kong.


  1. my question is how much will the HK people willing to sacriface in order for universal sufferage? their jobs? their economy? their lives?

    1. HI nulle -- yes that is the question now... your thoughts?

  2. The Red Queen Gambit - a word means what I choose it to mean nothing mite, nothing less. (Lewis Carroll)

  3. another thing I realized within this decade is all the show and tell about equality and 'freedoms' in the PRC Chinese constitution is "just for show to the foreigners" according to Communist Officials.

    In theory, PRC gov't is a control freak and what it does is a self fulfilling prophery that what PRC does will drive more and more people to confront and maybe under violent conditions, start a revolution against the PRC CCP, which is what PRC CCP claim Occupy Central is violent and HK people can't be trusted with true 'democracy'.

    1. Hi nulle -- interesting theory -- or are they egging us on to have a "revolution" to further justify the Party's grip on power?

      Either way they don't trust us with democracy or they're jealous of us and want to hold us back.