SCMP Monday, October 9, 2000

Old hands relive past battles to back cause


It was like a return to the old days for former student activists - now familiar faces in academic and political circles - as they took part in yesterday's protest against the Public Order Ordinance in Central.
Ma Ngok, an assistant professor of the University of Science and Technology, said: "The Tung administration is even worse than the colonial government."
Mr Ma, who was an activist in the student union in his Chinese University days in the mid-1980s, said: "I joined many student protests in the 1980s and never asked for police approval."
Dr Chan Shun-hing, assistant professor at Lingnan University, said she could not resist the invitation to take part in the march.
"It is a dangerous signal that the Government now uses the law to suppress opposition views," said Dr Chan, who was once arrested in 1979 for protesting for the rights of fishermen's wives.
Shiu Yeuk-yuen, 51, a former student activist, called the Government's decision to arrest students over rallies in April and June "stupid and cowardly".
"The Government only dares to bully the students. They started trouble without knowing how to finish it. What can they do now? Arrest all of us 1,000 people together?" Mr Shiu said.
In a full-page newspaper advertisement on Saturday, about 370 former student activists signed a petition urging the Government to review the ordinance.
Among the signatories were Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming, who was a student leader at the University of Hong Kong in 1958; academic Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, an activist at the same university in 1970; and legislator Andrew Wong Wang-fat, a core member of the Federation of Students in 1965.
But the rally was not only supported by the academic elite. Eighty-five-year-old Chan Yuen-mui protested, escorted by two teenagers. She said: "I must come out to support the young people. No good government will suppress our children for doing right things."