The opposition used to take the moral high ground. But ever since it has been infiltrated by anti-China secessionists, various splinter groups including some university student unions have appealed to the lowest common denominator.
We had a glimpse of the ugliness when the eldest son of Undersecretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin committed suicide in September. Messages congratulating Choi were posted at the Education University. When university administrators expressed dismay and removed the messages, its student union defended such messages on the ground of free speech. Student unions from other universities joined in.
Since controversial lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu yesterday announced the passing of his mother, aged 89, some online forums catering to localist and opposition groups have been ablaze with incendiary messages for Ho.
One such group is called fkoff5mo. Its Chinese name roughly means, “Kick those wumao [pro-China trolls] to death”. The post about Ho’s mother gathered more than 200 comments in less than eight hours, almost all of them vicious, and many unprintable for this newspaper:
“Congratulations, Ho. Hope you have a day like this, every year.”
“Your mother is going to Hell for your sins.”
Most continue in this vein. One particularly nasty one alleged incest and various other sex acts.
A thread on the popular chat forum LIHKG is titled “Ho’s mother is dead. Let’s all congratulate him.” In just eight hours, the congratulatory comments extended to 12 webpages and collected more than 2,100 “likes”.
Now, it would be an understatement to say that Ho is not the most popular Beijing-friendly politician in the legislature. Even some prominent members of his own camp and government officials have serious reservations about his recent actions. These include his high-profile campaign to pressure the University of Hong Kong to sack Benny Tai Yiu-ting, a law lecturer and co-founder of the Occupy protest movement. At one such rally, Ho told reporters that those who advocated Hong Kong independence should be “killed without mercy”, a statement that was roundly condemned. Taken in context, though, he probably meant “treated without mercy”, as in “to be persecuted and/or prosecuted” rather than literally “murdered”.
But whatever you may think about Ho, it’s fair to say his mother’s passing is his own business, not a matter of public interest at all.
Pan-democrats of old at least had a sense of decency and decorum. Their young localist spawns sadly have none.