Hong Kong democrat Ray Chan has responded to a homophobic slur against him from pro-Beijing lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, calling him “thug-like” and setting a bad example for the public.

In a Facebook live stream on Monday, Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) lawmaker Kwok spoke about the People Power chairman. Chan had filed a lawsuit and police report against him alleging assault during a physical altercation at the legislature in May.

Raymond Chan at the 2016 Pink Dot press conference. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Kwok was seen pulling Chan by his collar during a scuffle at a House Committee meeting, as lawmakers tried to elect a new chairperson. Chan went to the hospital emergency department and later crowdfunded over HK$1,100,000 to file a private prosecution against Kwok.

Kwok recounted the event to his viewers and addressed the plaintiff as “Mr Chrysanthemum” – a reference to the anus in Cantonese – without naming Chan, the city’s first openly gay lawmaker since coming out in 2012.

“My attitude towards my righteous act remains unchanged,” the HKFTU legislator said. “The court today was filled with Mr Chrysanthemum and his supporters, some of whom are pro-independence.”

Chan told HKFP over the phone he was not humiliated by Kwok’s remarks: “He only resorted to attacking my sexual orientation because he fell short on rational debates.”

“I cannot imagine these kinds of thug-like remarks would come from a lawmaker, social worker and father.”

He added he was most infuriated by the lawmaker calling his supporters the “chrysanthemum group” and accusing Chan of hiring them using crowdfunded money.

Chan said he was disappointed by the HKFTU which failed to offer “enough protection” to the LGBTQ+ community, despite advocating labour rights: “Shouldn’t they be protecting those who face discrimination due to their sexual orientation?” he asked. “This has impacted some workers’ promotion opportunities and even caused some to lose their jobs… They should have said something.”

Kwok Wai-keung. Photo: Facebook screenshot.

He added he thought Hong Kong was in the “stone age” in terms of the development of LGBTQ+ rights, such as diversity and integration, despite being an international city: “This should not be an issue determined by one’s political view – yellow or blue, pro-Beijing or not. It should be a universal value.”

“For instance, within the pro-establishment camp, Regina Ip’s New People’s Party is pro-gay rights… This should transcend opposition to political views.”

Chan noted that various district councils had passed motions to become co-organisers of the annual pride parade, saying he was delighted that many young politicians advocated LGBTQ+ rights: “I hope the upcoming composition of the Legislative Council, in anticipation of a younger generation of lawmakers, will be more LGBTQ+ friendly.”

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Rachel Wong

Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.