On the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, the South China Morning Post reported disturbing news regarding the administration’s handling of refugee matters. The article says that ahead of the Security Panel meeting at LegCo on June 3rd, the Security Bureau appears to have fed questions unfavourable to refugees to the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) party.
In the article, Lawmaker “Long Hair” Long kwok-hung is said to have retrieved a document left behind by a DAB politician that revealed how the Security Bureau had submitted to them the follow up questions to be asked during the question and answer session, although a DAB representative explains these questions had been submitted to the government official to prepare them for the Q&A.
Whoever is in the right, questions were indicated to be such as:
“I think the system is highly fair – but only to the claimants. It is highly unfair to taxpayers.”
“A claimant should apply for assistance once they arrive in Hong Kong. But information showed they applied after an average of 14 months … why [did] they not do it as soon as they arrived?”
These are questions that in other occasions have appeared in the public domain and have often been taken as an indication that the asylum system is subject to abuse.
The point here is that Long Hair accused the DAB of colluding with the government to the detriment of refugees. He was reported to have said, “It is very inappropriate for the government to make up opinions.”
This embarrassing incident, we believe, is another vivid example of how the culture of rejection is created, strengthened and perpetuated in Hong Kong. From this news we cannot but think that a subtle agenda that deprives the refugee community of a fair opportunity to seek in Hong Kong realistic protection is being pushed against the promise of security.
Further, this incident raises other questions of grave public concern. It is to note that DAB chairman is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Social Service in Hong Kong (ISS-HK), a non-profit organization that strives to protect refugees, although in a fashion that arguably plays into the hands of politics fomenting anti-refugee sentiment
If we were to take this news as a plausible indication that the DAB is sympathetic towards the government current handling of refugees, and given that Mr. Tam Yiu-chung serves as this party’s chairman, while sitting on the Board of the ISS-HK, what does he contribute to ISS-HK?
At the very least it seems odd that the great majority of the slums Vision First and international news have reported about in the past year were found in the geographical constituency of New Territories West. Mr. Tam Yiu Chung is the LegCo representative for this constituency. Let’s hope this is only an unfortunate coincidence.