By wrapping his ideas with sacred words such as “democracy”, “freedom of speech“ or “academic liberty”, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at University of Hong Kong, has successfully cheated many young people into believing that the causes he has been advocating are noble ones and therefore worthy of devotion. He managed to motivate thousands of idealistic young people to participate in the illegal “Occupy Central” campaign in fall 2014. A tragic result of such maneuvers is there for anyone to see: An army of youngsters have been radicalized, with dozens of them now suffering serious legal consequences including imprisonment for breaking the law.
Tai is trying to play the same trick again this time as condemnations come from various sectors of Hong Kong society after he was caught red-handed peddling secessionism in Taipei. He is using the cover of “freedom of speech” again, assuming other people can be fooled for a second time. But who does he think he can trick into believing that pitting 7 million Hong Kong residents against 1.3 billion people of the Chinese mainland is warranted by freedom of speech? And who would believe that peddling poisonous ideas that could only lead Hong Kong society to chaos and a dead end should be part of “academic discussion”?
Tai branded those condemnations as a move “to pave the way for the legislation of Article 23”. He is pretending that people are not aware of Hong Kong’s inevitable obligation, under Article 23 of the Basic Law, to enact a local legislation banning any act of treason, secession, sedition, or subversion against the central government. With Article 23 remaining valid, there is no need at all “to pave the way”.
By openly advocating “Hong Kong independence” as an option for the SAR’s future in a forum organized by a Taiwan separatist group in Taipei last month, Tai can no longer hide his secessionist true colors, no matter how crafty he is in packaging his separatist ideas and how glib a tongue he has.
After participating in the grand gathering of separatists in Taipei last month and unequivocally peddling his secessionist ideas that include “Hong Kong independence”, the whole truth has come out that Tai is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Calls for the management of University of Hong Kong to take action against Tai are perfectly warranted. There is no reason for supporting someone who, with the help of public money, poisons the city’s young minds.
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