by Wayne Yeung

語言:
English
Photo Credit: Youngspiration

“The surest way of discrediting and damaging a new political (and not only political) idea is to reduce it to absurdity on the plea of defending it.”

—Vladimir Lenin, “‘Left-Wing’ Communism: an Infantile Disorder”

KEEN OBSERVERS of Hong Kong localism would probably remember the Legislative Council election of September 2016 as a watershed marking the political movement’s much coveted entry into the parliamentary institution. Certain prognoses ventured before were borne out: The ideological differences between Herderian “city-state” Localism, represented by Wan Chin (running under his real name Horace Chin Wan-kan) who forms part of the quintet “Civic Passion–Proletariat Political Institute–Hong Kong Resurgence Order” (CPR, or 熱普城) spearheaded by Raymond Wong Yuk-man (黃毓民) and the Andersonian “self-determining” Hong Kong Nationalism fronted by Edward Leung and his “shadow” candidate Sixtus “Baggio” Leung of Youngspiration, have finally festered into public fallout in the face of the harsh electoral reality of having to compete within the same voter constituency. [1] But certain developments have defied our expectations. Rather than activist politics bleeding into the legislature in its conquest for the state apparatus, the rise of post-Umbrella organizations such as Demosistō and several other independent candidates such as long-time rural politics activist Eddie Chu Hoi-dik and lecturer Lau Siu-lai, who also favor what they call “democratic self-determination”, shows that activism and party politics actually interpenetrate to an even greater extent. [2]

photocreditapVote counting during 2016 LegCo elections. Photo credit: AP

This could be an ambiguous development. While previously it is activism and street politics which are running out of steam in post-Occupy Hong Kong, it is unclear whether the parliamentary system will grant the struggle a new lease on life by providing these fresh parties and “amateurish” political actors with more financial resources and media exposure, or whether it will actually lead to even more frustration on the side of the protesters when they realize that veto and filibuster are—no surprise there—all one can do in the Legislative Council. [3] It remains to be seen how these parliamentary actions can be linked up with extra-parliamentary mass actions in such a way that could alter the course of political decision-making. (Previously, this has been possible only insofar as the bill in question does not concern the distribution of political power or HK-China relations.) [4]

But the new candidates certainly offer hopes for bringing unheard of agendas onto the table. Pan-democrats, historically winning more votes in general elections, have been watered down in their influence due to various institutional constraints designed to quell oppositional elements; sadly they have become content with the role of a watchdog which can certainly block some bills but is not going to demonstrate to the public any substantial leadership qualities. This lack of political will, which makes it virtually impossible for the public to imagine a Hong Kong ruled by the pan-democrats, has long been the reason they are so widely spurned by pro-establishment voters, who simply do not consider them as a viable alternative to the status quo (“Just think of what might happen if they are in power! They are incapable of ruling.”). It looks fateful that the kick-off of localism would exploit this supposed political irrelevance in its own service, the most salient example being Wan Chin who indulges in flaunting through his social media account his “diplomatic” connections, real or imaginary, with agents provocateurs of allegiances as wide-ranging as the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party, in a fanciful showcase of his Realpolitik. Whether claims of sovereignty or, as these new political actors prefer to call it, “self-determination”, will ultimately change this impression remains an open question, but it is certain that their willingness to engage with agendas on autonomous community-building and self-governance goes some way towards counterbalancing the reactionary tendency of the pan-democrats to hold stubbornly onto their “critical” veto power.

photocreditwikicommonsWan Chin. Photo credit: WikiCommons

This has led to what some lament as the “fragmentation” of the pan-democratic party coalition. Post-Umbrella politics is coming to terms with the fact that the bipolar structure which had dominated Hong Kong political scene since the retrocession was rapidly being triangulated by the “Third Force”, which is sometimes lumped together as “localists” or the “self-determining faction” (自決派) in news reports but is in fact a hybrid of former Occupy student activists, emergent street activists, sovereigntists with localist sympathies, and city-state localists, each having at least a seat in the Legislative Council. [5] It certainly complicates the dynamic within what now comes to be known as the non-pro-establishment (非建制派, a term to reflect the widened political spectrum), as certain members shun the established channels of communication within the pan-democratic camp while some others anticipate possible, if only piecemeal, cooperation with the Beijing loyalists. [6] But we may note that fragmentation has similarly affected the pro-establishment camp as well under the table.

Putting the “Self” Back Into “Self-Determination”

DESPITE THE internal hybridity, a certain physiognomy can be discerned within the so-called self-determining faction. All of them eye the supposed “deadline” of the Basic Law which provides that the “capitalist institution and lifestyle” of Hong Kong should “remain unchanged for 50 years”, interpreted by some as requiring ultimate abolishment of the Basic Law as a whole as a constitutional document. The validity of this claim is questionable, [7] but as a premise of advocacy, this has been effective in focalizing public attention on the political future of Hong Kong. Insofar as international covenants are of insignificance for them, these people draw on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as the legal basis for Hong Kong’s right to self-determination (this is less true for the CPR coalition). [8] Demosistō, the two independent candidates, and Youngspiration favor convening popular referendum to decide upon a new constitution (which includes independence as one of the options), while CPR pushes for what they call a “de-facto referendum” for constitutional revision to “perpetuate the Basic Law” (which, despite all their eccentric claims to the contrary, in fact rules out independence), which would be a by-election triggered by the resignation of elected legislators from the five constituencies similar to the strategy used by the pan-democrats in 2010 for pressing for a more progressive political reform. All of them claim that wider civil participation should form the basis of the future of Hong Kong as an ongoing polity beyond the uncertainty created by the Basic Law.

It has been observed before that one of the intellectual features of localism is its impatience towards the given legal framework of citizenship which localists attempt to supplant with “cultural” or “civic” identification, whose nationalist underpinning always generates more questions about what defines a “real Hongkonger”. This crisis of Hong Kong identity is complicated by the divergent interpretations of Article 1 of the ICCPR – “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Almost always, Youngspiration (as represented by Baggio Leung) takes it to mean that the nation (民族) is guaranteed the right of self-determination, and therefore the Hong Kong Nation should be established first. (He cites its film industry in the 80s and 90s as evidence). [9] We are familiar with this position since this harks back to Benedict Anderson’s theory of nationalism which teaches the nation as an “imagined community” which is socio-culturally constructed rather than born as such by blood. This terminological sleight-of-hand is crucial because it introduces “nationality” to what is otherwise a more value-free term of the “people” to appeal to Hong Kong as a nation has the practical effect of raising attention to its cultural exceptionalism, while the “people” referred to in the covenant is historically invoked in the context of colonially occupied population without representation in the state administration, a point which members of Youngspiration seem less interested in establishing. It is also disquieting that national discourses are being used to discriminate the “depths” of Hong Kong identity in the fashion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. [10]

14264243_1113087032090553_684095762556877808_nEddie Chu. Photo credit: Eddie Chu

Post-Umbrella activists including Demosistō and the elected independent activists, Eddie Chu and Lau Siu-lai, prefer, quite rightly in the opinion of the writer, to leave nationality out of the question of democratic self-determination. [11] Eddie Chu, a veteran conservationist activist, has even made this distinction explicitly, and his surprising electoral success has been the result of not only the post-Umbrella urgency for renewal within the oppositional camp, but also his long-time engagement in rural politics which enters public sight very rarely and is too often tied to local gangs vetted by powerful property moguls and Heung Yee Kuk. While there will certainly be people dissatisfied with how they seem to be disaffected towards identitarian issues, their success may have set a precedent on how activist practices will amalgamate with the democratic movement in a way which not only challenges the pan-democrats’ business-as-usual practices but also sets them apart from nationalist localism, calling into question their ongoing relationship with other members of the “self-determining” faction which is already fragile to begin with.

Despite only winning one seat, the CP-PPI-HKO coalition—which reportedly will come to a hiatus following the election with Wan Chin vowing to withdraw from his online presence (a promise he is yet to realize as at the time of writing)—will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, if only for their noisy coterie and a few prominent opinion leaders in the blogosphere who are diehard followers. However, their flip-flops over the issue of Hong Kong independence (which the AllinHK coalition formed by Youngspiration and Hong Kong Indigenous is more forthright about), and the divisive squabble of the Proletariat Political Institute’s Raymond Wong with Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration and Edward Leung a few days before the election, seem to have done them a disservice by alienating them from the larger electoral base. It has been argued before that Wan Chin has never whole-heartedly supported Hong Kong independence, dodging the issue by using suggestive terms like “Hong Kong state-building” instead; in this election, their main slogan, “Perpetuating the Basic Law” (永續基本法), reveals their true stance on Hong Kong sovereigntism, for the Basic Law provides that Hong Kong is an integral part of China’s territory (although in Wan Chin’s logic, since the present Basic Law recognizes the de facto sovereignty of Hong Kong, perpetuating it is already identical to independence, [12] and, really, can’t you see this is all a masterly plan designed “initially to have china [sic] off our backs”?) [13] They all signed the new declaration clause introduced by the Electoral Affairs Commission in the nomination form which undertakes to preserve the integrity of Chinese territory and uphold the Basic Law, and were accordingly allowed to run (as opposed to Edward Leung, who also signed but was barred from running). During the election, they propagated the idea that their advocacy of perpetuating the Basic Law differentiated them from other localist candidates (even calling Hong Kong independence “impractical”), [14] while also using the expiry of land lease terms for most land parcels in Hong Kong (which is also 2047, although the Basic Law provides that the HKSAR government has the right to legislate on the issue) in an attempt to mobilize the fear of middle-class property owners that their real estates will lose value. Following their defeat, Wan Chin lashed out upon the “base people” (賤民) of Hong Kong for rejecting his “exodus” proposal of forming an “independent state of Hong Kong” (獨立國體). [15] All these far-sighted prophecies are indeed quite difficult to follow for the mortals.

Learning to “Think Politically”: On Charisma in Localism

SINCE MAX WEBER, the importance of the role of charisma has been observed in politics—charismatic authority stands in contrast with rule-based “bureaucracy” in that it is sui generis, creating a political field that gravitates around nothing but itself, and therefore beyond the fetters of morality and rationality. In the context of populism, personal charisma as a factor is sometimes suggested in passing but rarely systematically accounted for—it is frankly quite difficult to come to terms with the idea that someone as vulgar as Donald Trump or as gaudy as Marine Le Pen possesses something profoundly attractive (but then again, this is perhaps the whole point of charisma). Localism deserves to be discussed in the same terms because the different factions within its ideological terrain do seem to depend heavily on several prominent leaders, to such a point that competing claims of leadership seem to be more decisive on the development of the localist movement than intellectual contents. We should examine, then, if a systematic description of the source of charisma of the localist leaders is possible and, in consequence, whether it illuminates certain aspects of the nature of localism.

14322418_1719627964965129_7114864563667697206_nPhoto credit: Civic Passion

It appears that the attraction of localism owes much to a popular desire to think politically, a desire which localist leaders seem to respond to as they claim to rise above the bipolar framework of Hong Kong politics which some complain as “depoliticized”. As argued above, the so-called “unpoliticalness” is a reproach of the lack of political will, which is in fact a dissatisfaction with many things – lack of spontaneity (where the opposition is absorbed by the daily grinding of the working political machine as a mere negative force of the establishment), unwillingness to rule (the lack of a viable political vision which theoretically a party capable of ruling is able to offer), and even reluctance to dominate (in the sense of exercising raw power and clever maneuvering in a political realm characterized by intrigue and self-interest). As all these seem to be absent in the political arena of Hong Kong and in particular in the oppositional force, localist leaders are able to fill in the vacuum in popular imaginations as they display “concrete ideas” and “substantial practices” as opposed to the loony leftists who “have their feet off the ground” (離地左膠).

How they achieve this is interesting. Unsatisfactory as this explanation may seem, the differences of the way Hong Kong localism gains popularity as distinguished from European-American populisms may be accountable only on cultural grounds – if only a highly mediatized culture with images of conspicuous displays of wealth endlessly flowing can give birth to a Trump, and if only the intellectual cradle of the European republic and fascism at the same time can give birth to a Le Pen, the localist leaders owe their prestige to the fact that post-Umbrella Hong Kong is forced to learn in a relatively short period of time what politics really is all about, with the common motif shared by people of different political sympathies being “Things change so quickly I barely recognize this is Hong Kong”; this explains why localist leaders often lay claims to political pedagogy. [16] This could be seen as the belated but inevitable rebellion against what Ambrose King once called the “administrative adsorption of politics” of colonial Hong Kong after the 1967 riots. [17]

“Depoliticization” has been a fashionable term in leftist vocabulary as an idiom to complain any political conduct which does not appear to account for class politics; it seems ironic, then, that the localists are now using this term in a context that spites these leftists. Politicization in the localist universe means to peel off the moralist illusions in interpreting political affairs and embrace the iron-clad calculations of political realism – which does not mean they have a dint of respect of facts and reality but that they are attracted to the appearance of a clairvoyant strategist who sees the entire “bigger picture” and of a scheming master who will always outwit their opponents and the Chinese Communist Party. This willful acceptance of sheer “political rationality”, taken as the symbol of “real statesman” as opposed to the run-of-the-mill “crooked politician”, [18] can be repeatedly observed as the reason for supporters to remain undeterred despite the flippant stance of their “grandmasters”. [19] When Billy Fung (馮敬恩), the former student union chairman of HKU who is also a vocal supporter of Edward Leung’s campaign in the by-election earlier this year, claims that Youngspiration (the appointed stand-in of Leung) inherited Leung’s pursuit for a self-mastering “character of state” (國格), he seems to be upholding as virtuous the sensibility of detecting political necessity and the ability to act accordingly, in short, the germ of the raison d’etat. [20]

14241458_193750064371171_5714367365546605812_oEdward Leung campaigning during elections. Photo credit: Edward Leung

What differentiates Edward Leung’s charismatic leadership from that of Wan Chin or Raymond Wong is that his speeches refer to, and his engagement with street politics confirms, a heroic attitude towards “sacrifice” [21] which is ultimately derived from the close-knitted, almost fraternal community which was popular during the Umbrella Movement (but in Leung’s world perhaps derived more from HKU’s frat culture). [22] Leung has the advantage over the said two leaders in that he owes his rise from anonymity to prominence to actual practice which proves him as the “man of the people”, as opposed to the maestros who decree verdicts from their lofts of a social media account or vlog channel. Almost a Leninist without perhaps knowing it, Leung insists on becoming a “popular representative” (which curiously may have led him to appoint a stand-in candidate when he was barred from running, instead of calling out for a boycott which is the more common response by the opposition in face of a restricted election) and believes that he and his party Hong Kong Indigenous are an instrument that is replaceable insofar as the ultimate aim—the ideal of independence—remains unchanged. [23] The “political” in Edward Leung may thus be considered as a self-instrumentalizing attitude towards the movement.

It is perhaps the fatal weakness of charismatic authority of any kind that it hardly tolerates competing claims of leadership, particularly from another similarly charismatic person. But what makes the eventual departure of these two localist clans seem destined is the incompatible view towards leadership—in the video where Raymond Wong heaps insults on Youngspiration and Edward Leung, who allegedly was less than forthcoming about endorsing Wong’s own apostle Alvin Cheng Kam-moon, Wong calls the act a “betrayal” and a “rebellion from the bottom”, giving credits to himself as the “mentor” of the “young radicals” of the localist camp. [24] While conciliatory gestures were made to little avail by Youngspiration and Leung, it is not clear whether Leung’s supporters—who vigorously shun the so-called “patron culture” of the pan-democratic camp—would accept the hierarchical relation envisaged by Wong as implied by his condescending attitude.

Going Forward

ALTHOUGH THE rise of the so-called “self-determining” faction is taken as the sign that traditional pan-democratic parties are waning in importance, the election reveals that votes for the post-Umbrella organizations were mainly redirected from social-democratic or “radical” pan-democratic parties such as Labour Party, League of Social Democrats and People Power, rather than the moderate, mainstream democratic parties such as the Democratic Party or the Civic Party whose electoral results remain sound and solid. [25] Total vote counts also suggest that the proportion of supporters in the pro- and anti-establishment camps remains largely unchanged. These seem to indicate that the Umbrella Movement still has a long way to go in terms of fundamentally shaking up the basic political layout of Hong Kong. Failing to expand electoral constituency implies that future candidates of the “self-determining” faction will compete even more vigorously for votes with the pan-democrats and especially among each other. This, coupled with the fact that the localists groups are prone to internal strife and division for the reasons discussed above, may mean that more fallouts and fragmentation are to be expected. [26]

14115532_1075022835922684_8683420245416353182_oPhoto credit: Youngspiration

The lack of mutual trust between the different lines may also cast a long shadow upon the prospect for the entire oppositional force to act in concert. Certain fault lines running through these forces can be traced back to the course of the Umbrella Movement. During the election, the new independent candidates were met with intense derision from the localist camps and become targets of attack due to their background in social activism which smacks of the “left plastics”, although the death threats Eddie Chu is currently subject to seem to mitigate some of the hostility and have won him some unlikely respect. While the entire oppositional force may be aligned in the face of what is seen as attempts by the executive branch or Communist China to encroach the integrity of Hong Kong institutions or identity, they are more likely to be divided on other issues such as social welfare, immigrant issues and policy on parallel traders. It is also not entirely certain how these newly candidates would react to officials and agents from mainland China, as some may categorically shun them by principle while the others are drawn to the “coordination” if they are goaded by “political expediency” and able to deflect accusations of capitulation.

But the crucial question we should pay attention to is how activist politics and the parliamentary council interpenetrate each other. While examples abound of erstwhile activists running for the office in a bid for greater political influence and in order to have one’s own agenda admitted as a normal part of politics, the case in Hong Kong is exceptional in that this happens amidst the general malfunctioning of the Legislative Council which often ends in standstill and indecision; in other words, rather than converging different voices to enhance legitimation, the institution fails to reconcile political conflicts which then break out as extra-procedural actions to express themselves, often without reconciliation. The real effect of introducing activist politics is thus not to “normalize” certain agendas or political actors—even though this is avowed as the objective of some—but to bring to full light the contestary power of the opposition in a showdown with the power monopoly of the administrative branch. This is unfortunately overshadowed by the reality that oppositional legislators are already at the end of their means to voice dissidence in the largely crippled and unbalanced Legislative Council, and that the political power of the city-state has been sapped by the nation-state that looms above. The new legislators, who have better connections with street activists and greater capability of mobilizing civil society, may be able to combine filibuster and mass protest to stop certain bills from passing. But to think that the vox populi will finally be heard in the dysfunctional institution will certainly be regarded as wishful thinking.

13427923_1737606103159961_6709302795692970421_nPhoto credit: Hong Kong Indigenous

As for the question of Hong Kong independence, its future is still uncertain given that it is now still less a serious opinion than a focal point of anti-government sentiments and the public’s means to hold the power-starved state in check—although after the assembly of supporting barred candidates, it is undeniable that an independence movement has taken off. It is widely observed that the passion of the movement is largely stoked by the government or, more specifically, the incumbent Chief Executive’s attempts to put his political opponents in a difficult position, a plot that some believed may have backfired upon himself. Much of the upcoming development of Hong Kong independence will depend on governance in the next term under the head of the state of Hong Kong.

[1] Edward Leung was banned by the Electoral Affairs Commission from running for his “support for independence”. See Brian Hioe’s report on the matter: http://newbloommag.net/2016/09/06/hong-kong-election-2016/. Accessed 14-9-2016.

[2] On this point, please see my previous article on New Bloom, “From Populism to Localism”. https://newbloommag.net/2016/04/15/from-populism-to-localism/.

[3] This is the motivation for Edward Leung’s campaign for being elected into an institution which, with or without the intervention of the Electoral Affairs Commission, has no space to entertain such a claim. See his interview on Stand News. “【港獨登場.下】港獨的道德 民粹的導正專訪梁天琦” https://thestandnews.com/politics/%E6%B8%AF%E7%8D%A8%E7%99%BB%E5%A0%B4-%E4%B8%8B-%E6%B8%AF%E7%8D%A8%E7%9A%84%E9%81%93%E5%BE%B7-%E6%B0%91%E7%B2%B9%E7%9A%84%E5%B0%8E%E6%AD%A3-%E5%B0%88%E8%A8%AA%E6%A2%81%E5%A4%A9%E7%90%A6/. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[4] Some cases in point include the copyright bill and the medical council reform, both of which failed to convince the public that the government had no ulterior motives in the proposals and yet did not seem to be vetted with the Beijing factor.

[5] The present political distribution is actually more complicated than mere “triangulation”. See陳景祥, “立法會三分天下大勢已成”. Mingpao. 7-9-2016. http://news.mingpao.com/pns/dailynews/web_tc/article/20160907/s00012/1473185328161. Accessed on 14-9-2016. This categorization has been questioned (for example: Ho, Jasper. “自決派絕不是本土派”. http://polymerhk.com/articles/2016/09/08/34628/. Accessed on 18-9-2016). However, certain intellectual developments suggest that the “localist” label currently associated with Civil Passion or Hong Kong Indigenous may have been appropriated from the heritage conservation movement in which many now familiar activists, often smeared as loony leftists, were first engaged. See Veg, Sebastian. “The rise of“localism” and civic identity in post-­handover Hong Kong: Questioning the (Chinese) nation-­state”. China Quarterly. forthcoming.

[6] Baggio Leung, for one, indicates such a possibility. “【立會選戰】 不加入泛民會議 梁頌恆:個別議題可與建制合作”. 6-9-2016. http://www.hk01.com/%E7%AB%8B%E6%B3%95%E6%9C%83%E9%81%B8%E8%88%89/41639/-%E7%AB%8B%E6%9C%83%E9%81%B8%E6%88%B0-%E4%B8%8D%E5%8A%A0%E5%85%A5%E6%B3%9B%E6%B0%91%E6%9C%83%E8%AD%B0-%E6%A2%81%E9%A0%8C%E6%81%86-%E5%80%8B%E5%88%A5%E8%AD%B0%E9%A1%8C%E5%8F%AF%E8%88%87%E5%BB%BA%E5%88%B6%E5%90%88%E4%BD%9C. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[7] The Basic Law as a whole does not provide any validity period, nor is there any pretext upon which a China which has long left its past of a state communist economy would want to abolish the capitalist system in Hong Kong.

[8] This may be another informative aspect of localism as well, indicating how far they honor international treaties or rather they consider international relations as merely a site of power politics.

[9] See his conversation with “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung on Apple Daily. http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/nextplus/%E6%99%82%E4%BA%8B%E8%A6%81%E8%81%9E/article/20160824/2_420952_0/%E9%81%B8%E8%88%89-%E9%A7%81-%E6%93%8A-%E4%B8%8D%E4%B8%80%E6%A8%A3%E7%9A%84%E6%8A%97%E7%88%AD-%E6%A2%81%E5%9C%8B%E9%9B%84-%E6%9C%89%E5%8E%9F%E5%89%87-%E6%A2%81%E9%A0%8C%E6%81%86-%E5%86%87%E5%BA%95%E7%B7%9A-. Accessed on 14-9-2016. It also seems that the national discourse focusing on “unifying the [Hong Kong] nation” allows Leung to avoid any conversation on the constitutional and institutional arrangements. For this point as an ongoing feature of localism, see “From Populism to Localism”. Ibid.

[10] See the article on Youngspiration’s own website on local identity and what qualifies as a Hongkonger. “本土與香港人http://youngspiration.hk/%E6%9C%AC%E5%9C%9F%E8%88%87%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E4%BA%BA/. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[11] The clearest example is Eddie Chu Hoi-dik. See his interview “立會票王朱凱廸:他們要民族自決,我要民主自決”. https://theinitium.com/article/20160907-hongkong-eddiechu/. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[12] This seems to confirm my previous speculation that Wan Chin uses the ambiguity of the character in such matter. See his Facebook note on the matter: https://www.facebook.com/notes/wan-chin/%E9%99%B3%E9%9B%B2%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E6%97%A9%E6%9C%89%E5%9C%8B%E9%AB%94%E6%AF%8B%E9%A0%88%E6%B0%91%E6%97%8F%E7%8D%A8%E7%AB%8B/876818215675462/. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[13] Kael’thas Kamiya, “The bad and the ugly of the 2016 LegCo Election”. Passion Times. http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-06-2016/32472. Accessed on 14-9-2016. Note also how the writer incessantly complains the “goons”, the “slanders” and the “unethical” from all sides of Hong Kong politics while making the CPR quintet a messianic exception.

[14] See Wan Chin’s post on Facebook timed 00:18 17-7-2016. https://www.facebook.com/wan.chin.75/posts/10154287416747225. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[15] Wan Chin’s Facebook post timed 17:13 5-9-2016. https://www.facebook.com/wan.chin.75/posts/10154432478882225. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[16] Fruit Chan’s latest film The Midnight After in early 2014 might be the best representation of such opinions so far.

[17] King, Ambrose Yeo-chi. “Administrative Absorption of Politics in Hong Kong: Emphasis on the Grass Roots Level”. Asian Survey, Vol. 15, No. 5 (May, 1975), pp. 422-439. This has been a continuous theme in colonial Hong Kong politics which some pointed out extends to the present. See黃熙麗, “通識導賞﹕香港「去政治」管治由雙十暴動引出”. Pentoy. http://wp.me/p2VwFC-i6t. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[18] Upon Wan Chin’s declaration of withdrawal from the cybersphere, a commentator exclaims that “only through him and Raymond Wong Yuk-man (well who else) can I see the ambition of a statesman.” See http://hktext.blogspot.hk/2016/09/huang-yumin-i.html. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[19] The laurels heaped upon Raymond Wong give us a measure of how idolized he is among his supporters. See this dedication poem “The Grandmaster of a generation: Wong Yuk Man”. http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-09-2016/32500.

[20] See Billy Fung’s words given in a street interview. http://hk.thenewslens.com/article/48055. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[21] See his Stand News interview cited in note 3

[22] Edward Leung was a member of the Ricci Hall of University of Hong Kong. See his interview with Initium Media. https://theinitium.com/article/20160301-hongkong-leungtinkei/. Accessed on 14-9-2016. Some have since called this sort of hall culture “Spartan”. See https://thestandnews.com/politics/%E6%A2%81%E5%A4%A9%E7%90%A6%E8%88%87ricci-hall/

[23] “How is the discipline of the proletariat’s revolutionary party maintained? How is it tested? How is it reinforced? First, by the class-consciousness of the proletarian vanguard and by its devotion to the revolution, by its tenacity, self-sacrifice and heroism. Second, by its ability to link up, maintain the closest contact, andif you wish—merge, in certain measure, with the broadest masses […] Third, by the correctness of the political leadership exercised by this vanguard, by the correctness of its political strategy and tactics, provided the broad masses have seen, from their own experience, that they are correct.” Vladimir Lenin, “Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder.

[24] See a summary of his address broadcast on his youtube channel. http://linepost.hk/?uid=9699.0.0.0. Accessed 14-9-2016.

[25] This has led some to worry that labor and social welfare issues will be sidelined, which is justified given that localist parties in general do not support the welfare state. See Law Wing-san’s op-ed on the matter. 安徒, “世代與本土自決的聚光燈外,被忽視的分配正義”. Initium Media. 12-9-2016. https://theinitium.com/article/20160912-opinion-andersen-localism/. Accessed on 14-9-2016.

[26] Many potential fault lines can be expected to generate some quake. A member of Youngspiration left the party only months after being elected to the District Council without any explanation offered to the public, indicating secrecy in the organization. Edward Leung’s “appointment”, if revoked due to the worsening relationship between Youngspiration and Hong Kong Indigenous, might bring about questions surrounding Baggio Leung’s office as far as their supporters are concerned. Cheng Chung-tai, the only person elected in the CPR quintet, might face problems in unifying Civic Passion after Wong Yeung-tat stepped down, whose differences quickly came to public notice due to their responses to the death threats faced by Eddie Chu after the election. And of course, Raymond Wong is too divisive a figure in the political arena.