We need united struggle for democratic rights, more money to healthcare and education, and a real future for youth!
Yu Wai Pan, Youth Against Racism
Today’s advertisement in Apple Daily, attacking mainlanders, represents a new low point for racist statements and political activism in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s politics is becoming more openly racist. We’ve heard mainland migrants and visitors attacked as “locusts”, as in the Apple Daily advert, and we’ve heard a racist Chinese professor hit back that Hong Kong people are “dogs”. Demonstrations have been organised and petitions launched by seemingly spontaneous ‘concern groups’, targetting migrant workers or mainlanders as a ‘burden’ on public resources. In reality, the government and its support parties have largely masterminded these protests. False stories about an “invasion” of migrants seeking permanent residency were used to hide the real problems and bolster the pro-government side in the recent district council elections.
The growth of racist political trends is a sign of deep crisis in Hong Kong and China as the wealth gap widens and more and more people are struggling to feed their families and find somewhere to live. Racism and nationalistic ideas are used by governments and ruling elites everywhere to defend their own rule and to split and confuse opposition movements. This is the case around the world, with increasingly racist government policies against Muslims, refugees and other groups. They are used to justify more authoritarian methods of government. The most extreme expression of this is fascism – which as in the 1930s wants to crush all democratic rights and the ability of workers to organise and struggle. In China today the most authoritarian sections of the ruling party, who oppose even minimal ‘political reform’, also use extreme nationalism.
Capitalist governments know that massive anger is building up in society among the “99%” against the greed and privileges of the “1%” of billionaires and capitalists. When demands are raised for more equality, or against the privileges of the rich, racists try to derail this by ‘scapegoating’ minorities and foreigners.
Many Hong Kong people were outraged by the blatant discrimination shown by luxury store D&G in Tsim Shah Tsui against local people taking photographs. But again, some racist elements tried to portray mainland tourists as the problem, rather than the contemptuous attitude shown by such elitist companies towards anybody without their kind of money!
The Apple Daily advert is typical of racist arguments heard many times before. It uses bogus ‘facts’ and the unstated conclusion is that more authoritarianism (less democracy) is the solution – tougher border controls and policing, less freedom of movement, rejection of ‘refugees’ (who have rights recognised under international law) and so on. In effect this is a demand to implement ‘hukou’ in Hong Kong, just as regional governments in China are moving to abolish this unjust and widely resented internal passport system. The advert calls for changes to the Basic Law, which, if pursued, would amount to more central government control and less Hong Kong autonomy. The advert says “it is time to say no” and with this we agree… “to say no to racist lies!”
Don’t be fooled by racists – don’t be fooled by fake elections!
In the ongoing small-circle election to replace Donald Tsang as Chief Executive (CE), all the candidates have used racism and particularly blown up the issue of mainland mothers giving birth in Hong Kong. Anti-mainlander rhetoric has been used not only by the pro-dictatorship ‘wolf’ and ‘pig’ but even the Democratic Party’s ‘joke’ candidate.
The ruling elite wants to fool us into believing Hong Kong is democratic, when not even “1%” (only 0.017%) can vote for the next government and CE. Racism against mainlanders or against Filipino migrant workers is more and more a tool used by the political establishment to hide their own crimes. ‘Pig’ Tang and his rival ‘wolf’ Leung weep crocodile tears for Hong Kong mothers who suffer long queues and overloaded services at public hospitals, but it is the government, including both Tang and Leung that created the healthcare crisis. The government favours the “1%” of tycoons, showering them with contracts and land deals, while blocking spending on the “99%” who need better services. Youth Against Racism says the health service must be brought under full democratic public control as the only way to guarantee the big investments, massive new recruitment and training needed. We oppose private medicine which parasites off the public sector – stealing professionals and resources.
FACTS THAT ANSWER RACIST LIES
- Public healthcare is overloaded due to lack of resources. The government has consciously promoted private medicine at the expense of public hospitals. The private sector now consumes half of all healthcare spending in Hong Kong, but serves only 10% of the patients. Recent government quotas on mainland mothers have made the crisis even worse!
- The government drastically cut the numbers of doctors trained in Hong Kong in 2002, creating the current serious shortage and chronic overwork for public hospital doctors.
- Tang and Leung pretend to be on the side of ordinary Hong Kong families whose services are suffering – but they support a system in which ordinary families cannot even vote to choose the government. Tang and other establishment politicians now call on Beijing to intervene and change the Basic Law to deter mainland mothers. This will set a new benchmark for more and more control over Hong Kong affairs by the Chinese dictatorship.
- Government policies favour the super-wealthy and Hong Kong’s system of ‘property hegemony’, with the world’s lowest corporate taxes (lower than Wall Street) and ‘instant’ Hong Kong residency for rich people who buy property. The only way poorer families – in Hong Kong and China – will get a fair deal is by abolishing the profit system and placing house building, healthcare, schools and the wider economy under democratic public control.
- The same pro-government politicians told us the new minimum wage law would destroy 100,000 jobs. But the minimum wage has since May 2011 led to 45,000 new jobs being created! We can never believe their lies!
Youth Against Racism – Fight discrimination!
The newly launched Youth Against Racism (YAR) group aims to build a fighting youth organisation to expose and answer racist lies. Racism is a threat to all working people regardless of nationality – the existence of racist groups and parties spewing out hateful ideas makes it difficult, or even impossible, to build united struggle for change. The racists want to steer people’s attention away from the real issues and the crimes of the government. Our alternative is for ordinary youth, students and workers from all ethnic groups to unite and fight to change the system in Hong Kong, China and internationally.
Starting in schools and campuses, but also workplaces, we want to build united campaigns for more resources to the public sector – schools, hospitals and social services. We oppose all forms of discrimination: on lines of nationality, gender, sexual orientation or religion. YAR fights against the one-party dictatorship and its political puppets, not with bogus arguments about ‘Hong Kong values’ but with the need for united struggle on both sides of the border to break the grip of the Chinese dictatorship and the corporate interests it upholds.
Youth Against Racism stands for:
- Say ‘No’ to Apple Daily’s racist advert – we’ve had enough of racism!
- United struggle – an injury to one is an injury to all!
- Fight all discrimination – equal rights for women, migrants, LGBT people and ethnic/religious minorities.
- Against property hegemony and capitalism!
- End one-party dictatorship – full democratic rights NOW!
Join Youth Against Racism: [email protected]