Uncle Wah (華叔)

Szeto Wah (28 February 1931 – 2 January 2011) was a politician of the pan-democracy camp of Hong Kong. He was formerly the chairman of The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and a member of the Legislative Council from 1985 to 1997 and 1998 to 2004.

His death on January 2nd of the doyen of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy politicians, Szeto Wah, has deprived his political camp of a persuasive voice of moderation. Aside from his political career, Szeto was also well known for his Chinese calligraphy skills. He was referred to as "Uncle Wah" (華叔) by Hong Kong people.

According to commentator Stephen Vines, the Chinese central government appointed Szeto to the Basic Law Drafting Committee because they appreciated his political significance, even though they disliked his ideas.

Mr Szeto was a grassroots campaigner for social justice who never acquired the polished English and suave manners of Hong Kong’s elite. He was steeped in Chinese culture and he spoke fluent Mandarin. Few in the territory saw him as anything but a dedicated patriot.

Until his death at the age of 79, even during his final months of illness with cancer, he remained chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. Every year since the Tiananmen Square the Alliance has organized marches and vigils to mark the anniversary of the crushing of the unrest.

The website of a fellow Democratic Party veteran, Martin Lee, has fuller details of Mr Szeto’s career.

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