Monday, 22 June 2015

Losers on Both Sides

The pro-establishment parties are still facing the heat after bungling the vote
The fallout from last Thursday's vote in the Legislative Council on the political reform package that saw it voted down 28-8 continues with the pro-Beijing side bickering amongst themselves today.

The new excuse is that there was not one leader to ensure everyone was in line, when really what happened was that the pro-establishment legislators had a herd mentality and followed their colleagues as they filed out minutes before the crucial vote.

It also shows how diverse the pro-Beijing types are and that they cannot be united under one leader... it would only emphasize how monolithic that side is.

Meanwhile on the pan-democrat side, Ronny Tong Ka-wah resigned today as legislator hours after he told the Civic Party he was leaving the party after he co-founded it nine years ago.

He was tearful at a press conference announcing his departure. "I would like to take this opportunity to say sorry to the people who have supported me. I have barely achieved anything though I have made my greatest efforts in the legislature in the past 11 years," he said.

Ronny Tong got emotional at his press conference today
Tong is considered a moderate pan-democrat. In the past year, especially during the Occupy protests, the political climate became markedly divisive -- you were either pro-Beijing (blue ribbon) or pro-democracy (yellow ribbon).

He didn't agree with what the protesters did for 79 days, saying occupying the streets would not amount to anything. He also felt the pan-democrats were not trying to help the situation by only refusing whatever proposal Beijing put in front of them.

What Tong suggested was that the pan-democrats should make a counter proposal to Beijing, to reach out and initiate some dialogue with China. But some pan-democrats dismissed him as being pro-establishment which made him feel slighted by not only them but also his own party.

He believes that only through engaging Beijing with dialogue can there be some break in the impasse, or at least create some kind of understanding between the two sides. And he still believes it.

"I hope there is a political party in Hong Kong which represents the views of the middle-of-the-road people. Taking the middle ground approach doesn't mean you give up the fight for democracy or are being subservient to the central government," Tong said.

While his resignation comes into effect October 1, Tong will focus his energies on his own think tank -- how many more do we need in this city? -- that he founded two weeks ago.

Called Path of Democracy, the think tank is made up of academics in politics and economics as well as professionals, and the goal is to improve strained relations with the mainland, and possibly train young people into politics.

Hong Kong needs more people like Tong in the Legislative Council to offer a moderate voice, but he is being drowned out and feels he cannot do much politically. This is a sad state of affairs in the city, as the atmosphere has become so divisive that nothing can be achieved because both sides are so far apart and not willing to compromise or at least find some kind of middle ground that Tong was aiming for.

Now with him resigning from Legco, who will speak up for those moderates?

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