Hong Kong Students Say No to Chinese United Front
Open letter says no trust, no friendship until Tiananmen massacre is redressed.
Student protests in Hong Kong in September this year rejected an education program devised in communist China for Hong Kong students. The students have again rebuffed an attempted friendship, or united front, overture, from China’s communist cadres. (Song Xianglong/The Epoch Times)
Student leaders in Hong Kong rebuffed a late September invitation to visit a naval base on a nearby island, Apple Daily reported, in what was a large-scale demonstration of disapproval of the Chinese Communist Party and a possibly embarrassing episode for mainland China’s cadres.
The Youth Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong asked student leaders at eight colleges to attend a “friendship visit” to help students and military personnel understand each other. It was a high profile event. The chief of the Hong Kong-based military, leaders of the Liaison Office, the Chief Secretary for Administration, heads of 12 colleges, and 700 students attended.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students responded with an open letter on Oct. 11, which said in part: “We don’t accept the united front of the Chinese communist regime. We will not attend this event, and we want to explain the reason publicly.”
The term united front refers to efforts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to bring independent groups or people under its sphere of influence.
According to the letter, students cannot be friends with the Chinese military until the student victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 are redressed. “An exchange is to promote friendship, but friendship should be built on mutual trust. The question is, can we believe in the People’s Liberation Army? We once made a promise never to forget the pain of the summer of 1989,” the open letter said.
The students also wrote that the people of Hong Kong are angry that the mainland is not honoring its one country, two systems promise made when it regained Hong Kong. The Chinese regime has suppressed scholars and interfered with Hong Kong elections. Though the students are eager to learn about China, they are not willing to praise the Chinese Communist Party as a precondition for learning about China, the letter said.
A pro-Beijing politician told Apple Daily that the large-scale friendship visit was meant to win over Hong Kong students, and that it showed that Party leaders are concerned with student’s anti-communist sentiments.
“Particularly Hong Kong’s anti-national education protest, and the students’ strike at the University Mall of Chinese University of Hong Kong, attended by eight thousand students and teachers shouting ‘anti-colonization’ slogans, got on the nerves of the central leadership,” Apple Daily reported.
He said party leaders are worried about a potential students’ movement and therefore they want Hong Kong-based officials to try harder to change student’s ideas.
The Central People’s Government Liaison Office is the parent agency of the Xinhua News Agency, Hong Kong Branch. Established in May 1947, the Liaison Office represents the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong, according to its official website.