Pro-Beijing firebrand Junius Ho was booted from a Legislative Council meeting this afternoon after suggesting pro-democracy convenor Claudia Mo, whose husband is British, “eats foreign sausage.”
Ho — no stranger to controversy — was attending a session in the legislature to elect the 2019-2020 chairman and deputy chairman for the House Committee, which oversees LegCo business. According to an HK01 liveblog of the session, the outburst took place during a discussion of procedures for electing the chair and deputy chair. The meeting was being overseen by Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok.
During the discussion, Ho demanded Kwok make clear the voting methods for electing the committee’s chairs and at one point was challenged by Mo.
Ho, paragon of maturity and equanimity that he is, responded by suggesting that Mo was “used to eating foreign sausage” — which, in addition to being patently gross on its face, is a common Cantonese insult for women who have intimate relations with foreign males. Mo’s husband is Briton Philip Bowring, a prominent Hong Kong-based journalist who has written extensively about Asia, and with whom Mo has two sons.
The RTHK video below shows what happened immediately after Ho made his comments.
Ho’s comments prompted outraged responses from pro-democracy lawmakers across the committee room, including People Power lawmaker Ray Chan, who yelled that the comments were “harmful to women,” and Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam, who urged female lawmakers from the pro-Beijing side to ask themselves if Ho’s comments were offensive.
After being asked by Kwok repeatedly if he would apologize for his comments and retract them, Ho refused, saying he was exercising “freedom of expression.”
He also said that “during the meeting, Cheng Chung-tai has just told me eat shit, and Lam Cheuk-ting called me scum.” (By the way, not a great time to play the victim, Jun.)
Kwok then asked the LegCo security guards to escort Ho out of the room as pro-democracy lawmakers banged their desks and yelled for Ho to get out.
Kwok then turned to Lam and Cheng to ask if they would retract their comments, to which Cheng replied: “I’m not asking him to eat his own shit; I will retract my comments.” Lam, however, declined to take back his comment, adding, “I don’t want to make your work difficult, so I won’t come back to the meeting room,” before getting up and leaving.
Shortly afterwards, the meeting was adjourned for a lunch break.
Mo later made a statement for the record in English in which she described Ho’s remarks as “blatantly sexist, racist, and it amounts to sexual harassment.”
“I just couldn’t believe that in this legislature that we could have somebody who could go that low, and I want to put it on the record that this person is just unfit to stay on as a legislator, and he’s a shame to the legal profession in Hong Kong,” she said of Ho, a lawyer by trade.
RTHK reports that Mo will also be following up on the matter with the Law Society and the Equal Opportunities Commission.
— Claudia Mo 毛孟靜 (@ClaudiaMCMo) October 15, 2019
Ho has been on the receiving end of a lot of vitriol during the ongoing anti-government protests, much of it brought on himself.
He was accused by protesters of having a hand in the July 21 attacks Yuen Long MTR — in which a white-shirted mob viciously beat pro-democracy protesters and commuters — after he was filmed glad-handing men believed to have taken part in the onslaught.
He later tried to explain away his association with the men — while also saying their values were “heroic.” The incident triggered an outpouring of condemnation, with Ho’s hardheaded reaction feeding into a spiral of outrage that ended with his offices being trashed and the graves of his parents being desecrated by vandals.
Ho’s hostility to foreigners, meanwhile, doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that in July, he accused foreigners at protests of being “American spies” bent on turning Hong Kong into “the next Syria.” Weeks later, he reprised the anti-Western rhetoric — which is in lock-step with Beijing’s own thoughts on the matter — urging police to investigate foreigners at protests, again accusing them of being spies sent to stoke turmoil.