When toeing the DAB party line goes too far
SCMP May 28 2007
A measure of apparent hypocrisy is found in all of us and is particularly
inevitable in politicians. They must respond to changing realities
as well as to the need for parties in which an individual's principles
must sometimes be overridden by the compromises needed to attain power
or maintain party discipline.
But there are limits to hypocrisy that must be recognised. DAB chairman
Ma Lik went so far in his defence of the Communist Party - known locally
as the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong
Kong - to result in him being scorned. His brain had been so thoroughly
washed by years of believing everything the party told him, or wanted
him to believe, that it could no long retain memory of the black events
of June 4.
But Mr Ma is not the only DAB member capable of following a line dictated
by the party regardless either of reality or the principles it is supposed
to follow. Anything and everything can be daubed with the whitewash
of 'patriotism', a word also much used by the likes of Stalin, Pol
Pot and Mao Zedong to justify crimes against their own citizens.
It is, indeed, one of the merits of capitalism that its practitioners
almost never deny the benefits of making money - even if they do not
believe in the competition that supposedly makes capitalism work. Contrast
that with the record of the DAB, supposedly the guardian of local grass-roots
interests with a widening income gap.
Apparently, these representatives of the interests of the masses see
nothing wrong with party members becoming billionaires, not through
innovation, hard work and capitalist enterprise, but through privatisation
of public assets. I refer not just to the deals that may come under
scrutiny, but those where the state and party machinery is used to
create wealthy individuals.
These party 'thieves' seem to believe that, now the mainland has entered
a quasi-capitalist era, they are entitled to be ranked alongside the
likes of tycoons including Li Ka-shing.
I wonder how Tsang Yok-sing, whose 'patriotism' led him to support
the mania of the Cultural Revolution, feels about having to keep silent
about such actions.
The DAB has made some efforts to push for a minimum wage. But do not
expect it to expose the hypocrisy of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen
on this issue. Most of the funds contributed to Mr Tsang for his recent
bogus election campaign came from the gang of big developers. In many
cases, it is the estate management subsidiaries of these groups that
have ignored the wage guidelines set for security guards and cleaners.
They make a farce of the government's voluntary wage protection movement
without a squeak from a chief executive beholden to them and only muffled
grumbles from a DAB, which at the end of the day remains a creature
of the Beijing party machine rather than a representative of the grass
roots in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, some developers give the impression of acting in concert
to keep prices down at land auctions to enrich their companies at public
expense. The deliberate decision of the government to limit the number
of auction participants by not breaking up land sales into smaller
lots obviously limits competition. What does the DAB have to say about
Even Choy So-yuk, who has better claim than most to be in touch with
the grass roots, abstained from voting on the Queen's Pier issue, despite
her stated opposition to the government's plans. If the DAB pawns are
not prepared to break ranks with the government on that, it is no wonder
that party leader Mr Ma is so deluded.
The problem with the DAB is not so much its lukewarm attitude towards
democracy, but the degree of its hypocrisy on the issues of Hong Kong
livelihoods and Communist Party ethics. Its members are incapable of
thinking for themselves.
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