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Land Justice League
A blogger has made an apt observation about Hong Kong’s post-80 activists: that they can roughly be divided into two groups - one rooted in movements dating from the protection of the Star Ferry Pier, which have extended up to the present day’s Choi Yuen Chuen rally; the other group consists of followers of the political party 社民連 who are often considered as the radical ones. He points out that the former group of activists generally base their action on what is called a “local identity movement” and they are a group of well educated youngsters with theory-based ideals. They also tend to plan their actions strategically. Their only shortcoming is that they are thin on resources. They are also fastidious about not being associated with any political party.
It is this group of activists who have formed the Land Justice League.
In a recent open letter, the newly formed Land Justice League has outlined their main objectives.
Here’s my abbreviated translation of their open letter
“Many people are beginning to realize that the absolute commoditization of land in Hong Kong has led to the formation of a real estate tyranny wherein a handful of people are able to exact absurd profits from society. At the same time though, their profiteering has resulted in the destruction of businesses and industries and in creating a much deprived and disadvantaged majority. The SAR government, instead of listening to public demand and reflecting on the value of land, has persisted in obsolete practices in land development models, while greedy developers wrack their brains on how to squeeze the last drop of revenue from land. Urbanization, spurred on by profiteering, has spread like malignant tumor cells and has inevitably encroached upon village and country land.
Hong Kong people’s welfare is hinged on land, which is Hong Kong’s only hope. We have decided to break our silence and stand up. We also call upon all Hong Kong people to stand with us, for their own sake and the sake of others. We must stand united as one and protect our land and our home. We must begin a land movement that will change the history of Hong Kong. Through mobilization on a grand scale of all members of society, we have to stand in solidarity and declare war on the symbiotic coterie of government officials, business titans, academics and overlords who have caused much harm to our land and our society.
To this end, we have formed the Land Justice League and call on Hong Kong people to unite with us in fighting for the justice of land, eradicating real estate tyranny and rebuilding a respectable life for ourselves.
Our objectives are:-
(1) To let city and village life run in parallel with each other – We are opposed to all kinds of gentrification of old urban neighborhoods which breaks up community ties, and unsustainable development of village and country land, which should be returned to farming mode.
(2) To preserve the natural environment – Profiteering must not be the excuse to destroy ecological life.
(3) To claim the right of a decent shelter for everyone – The right of accommodation is a basic human right.
(4) To eradicate real estate tyranny – We must no longer allow the few developer conglomerates exert control over our basic needs. Government must stop the commoditization of and speculation in land.
(5) To put an end to collusion between government, indigenous villagers and developers – A fair and open procedure and system must replace the present venal relationship between those parties in relation to the small house policy and land resumption for development.
(6) To institute a democratic land planning system – This applies to urban redevelopment as well as development of the countryside.
Land Justice League
July 1, 2011”