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A fighter to the end, Sunday, January 2, 2011
Jan 2 2011, 07:58 PM
Group: Inactive Members
Joined: 22-June 08
Member No.: 32,280
Collen Lee from The Standard
Hong Kong is mourning one of its greatest pro-democracy and human rights fighters, Szeto Wah.
The activist and educator, better known as Uncle Wah, died in the Prince of Wales Hospital at 12.56pm yesterday after a year's battle with lung cancer. He was 79.
A memorial service will be held on January 28 at the Tsim Sha Tsui Baptist Church, where Szeto was baptized on August 4, 1974.
A funeral service will be held at St Andrew's Church in Tsim Sha Tsui the next day.
As patriotic as his long-time allies described him, Szeto requested his body be cremated with some ashes thrown in the sea toward the mainland, where his heart lay.
A Basic Law drafter and former Hong Kong legislator, Szeto was banned from setting foot across the border after he founded the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China in May 1989 to back the pro-democracy movement in the mainland.
Szeto Keung, 78, one of Szeto Wah's nine siblings, said: "I am proud of my brother Wah's lifelong contribution. His last wish was that people continue to seek vindication of the June 4 movement and strive for democracy."
The Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, who was friends with Szeto for 30 years, said: "He said he loved them [alliance members and volunteers]. He hoped they will still fight for the vindication of the June 4 movement."
Chu, Szeto's siblings and relatives were by his bedside singing the hymn Safe in the Arms of Jesus, when he died peacefully.
"He could not speak, but he appeared pleased to listen to our singing," Chu said.
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said Szeto earlier told them to continue their work at the alliance, the Professional Teachers' Union, which he founded in 1973, and the party. "He had a strong sense of mission in his life. He said he had no regrets at all," Ho said.
Szeto's doctor Tony Mok Shu-kam said Szeto stopped receiving chemotherapy in October.
Admitted to hospital on November 16, he remained stable until Saturday night when his condition deteriorated suddenly.
Tributes flooded in, with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen saying he was deeply saddened.
"Passionate about China and Hong Kong, Mr Szeto Wah was devoted in promoting democracy," Tsang said.
"Upright, industrious and unwavering in the pursuit of his ideals, Mr Szeto earned great respect from across the community.
"Hong Kong's democratic development remained close to his heart even when he was battling cancer.
"He supported the 2012 constitutional reform package and strived to convince members of both his political party and the general public of its merits.
"The eventual passage of the package, which marked a big leap forward in Hong Kong's path to full democracy, owed much to his unfailing efforts."
Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying-yen said: "As a man of principles, dedication, and sincerity, he had my great respect."
Executive Council convener Leung Chun-ying praised Szeto for promoting "the development of the community."
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