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Leung Kwok-hung

Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄, born 27 March, 1956), also known by his nickname Long Hair (長毛), is a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (representing the Geographical constituency of New Territories East), founding member of the League of Social Democrats and a democratic political activist in Hong Kong.

He is known for his radical and frequent public protests, multiple convictions due to those protests and his iconic long hair.

Biography

Leung is a self-proclaimed Trotskyist and a member of April Fifth Action, a radical socialist group. Leung contested but lost in both the 2000 LegCo elections and 2003 District Council elections. He considered the latter battle in 2003 a victory from the number of votes he got in a district which traditionally supports pro-Beijing candidates.

Leung ran again in the LegCo Election 2004 and succeeded in winning a seat in LegCo with 60,925 votes, an over 200% increase in votes compared to the 18,235 votes he received in the 2000 LegCo election.

Leung's key campaigns include universal suffrage, and working- and under-classes welfare. His political agenda include introduction of a liveable minimum wage and a comprehensive social security system, restoration of workers' right to collective bargaining, and setting a tax on business speculation.

He has been briefly jailed several times for offenses such as shouting from the LegCo's public viewing gallery and burning the Chinese national flag.

Although he expresses his fondness of Che Guevara and the ideals of revolutionary Marxism, Leung has yet to indicate a 'proletariat' revolution agenda on his election platforms, and many of his ideas and proposals would be readily accepted by most mainstream left (social) liberal and social democratic parties. He is usually seen wearing a T-shirt printed with a snapshot of Ernesto Che Guevara on it.

Personal image and sartorial preference

Leung took a vow that he will not to cut his hair until the government of People's Republic of China apologizes for the Tiananmen Square Massacre , since then his long hair has become one of his visual icons and political statements. This long hair has only been cut once against his will when he was briefly imprisoned following a political action. He almost alway appear in public wearing T-shirt with the printed image of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

Career as a Legislator

For the swearing-in ceremony of the Hong Kong Legislative Council on October 6, 2004, Leung's fellow members arrived in business attire. Long Hair, in contrast, wore a T-shirt with Tiananmen Square on the front and Che Guevara on the back. When he was called to come forward and take the oath, he raised his left fist, encircled with a black wristband, a memorial to those who died in the 1989 protests.

Leung had planned to alter his oath of office, but a Hong Kong judge said such a step would make it impossible for him to serve. Instead, Leung, highly revered as the hero of democracy, added his own messages to the standard oath. He demanded vindication for those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. He called for the release of political prisoners and an end to one-party rule on the Mainland.

Leung shouted at the ceremony: "Long live democracy! Long live the people!" He was then sworn in as a council member. Observers watched closely the reaction from the Mainland government, as Leung's statements touched upon a politically sensitive issue that is often considered taboo in official public settings.

In the aftermath of the Article 23 political storm and debate over freedom of expression, many were concerned about possible Mainland reaction to the incident. However, the Mainland government did not respond in any dramatic fashion.

Leung's populist and unorthodox confrontational style contrasts with the usually restrained atmosphere of LegCo. Rita Fan, the LegCo chairperson, seemed more concerned by Leung's attire for LegCo meetings than any of his political opinions. One legislator commented that "Legco has to get used to Leung, and he has to get used to Legco."

On September 29, 2007, Leung Kwok Hung aka "Long Hair", member of the April Fifth Action vowed to support Jose Maria Sison. Leung was in Europe at the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. He sits in the Hong Kong legislature as member of the Finance and House Committees, and of the Legislative Panels on Constitutional Affairs, Housing, Manpower, Transport, and on Welfare Services.

WTO protest

Leung took part in the anti-WTO protests in Wan Chai and was injured during the violent demonstrations. After the worst clashes of demonstrators with police on 2005-12-17, in what media would later call the "Siege of Wan Chai", Leung was arrested along with 900 other demonstrators. As with almost all other persons rounded up on December 17, Leung was released shortly after and was not prosecuted.

Denied Travel Permit to Visit Sichuan

On July 4, 2008 Leung was scheduled to visit areas in Sichuan damaged by the Sichuan earthquake as part of a 20-member delegation. Leung's travel permit applications was rejected at the last minute on suspicions he would protest in China during the 3-day trip. Sichuan officials claimed to have seen Internet reports saying Leung planned to do something not relevant to the purpose of the trip. Rita Fan further explained that was the reason he was not approved. Leung responded saying: "It's so ironic. People said the Olympic Games will make China more open up. I think it's going backward." Other member of the trip included Rita Fan, Miriam Lau, Tam Yiu Chung, James Tien, Lee Cheuk-yan, Lui Ming-wah, Selina Chow, James To, Bernard Chan, Chan Kam-lam, Philip Wong, Yeung Sum, Audrey Eu, Wong Kwok-hing, Lee Wing-tat, Joseph Lee, Kwok Ka-ki, Fernando Cheung and Wong Ting-kwong. They were allowed to visit Sichuan.

Documentaries about Long Hair

Over the years, there have been a few documentaries made about Long Hair. Three of the recent documentaries are listed here. "Not Only Long Hair, Not Only Ernesto Che Guevara" (2004) by 賴恩慈 Lai Yan-chi (毛 MO), "Long Hair Revolution" (2005) by Kempton Lam, and "Long Hair: The Little Soldier" (2006) by 陳清華 Chan Ching Wah (translation).

References

External links

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