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China Daily

HongKong> Opinion> Content
Monday, October 28, 2019, 02:04
Protester vandals set out to destroy their own home
By Mark Pinkstone
Monday, October 28, 2019, 02:04 By Mark Pinkstone

Hours and hours of videos broadcast on social media daily for the past four months show a swathe of mass destruction throughout the streets of Hong Kong perpetrated by thugs, hell-bent on destroying their own existence.

Hong Kong has served them well. They receive a good education, health and medical services, recreation facilities, low tax rates if they are working, and low-cost housing is available to those who qualify, many of whom are young people. Yes, there are livelihood issues to be addressed — as in any country. Yet, they bite the hand that feeds them.

Since the handover in 1997, China has also opened its doors to the young people by offering university exchange programs and employment opportunities in hospitality fields, technology and other industries. At present, there are about 82,530 Hong Kong people working on the Chinese mainland. The Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong provides for a unique “one country, two systems” format for the governance of Hong Kong. The communist/socialist system practiced on the mainland does not apply to Hong Kong. Instead, Hong Kong still enjoys its capitalist way of life with the internationally recognized common law system and rule of law in place. Hong Kong is the last bastion of free enterprise in the world and is free from any interference from Beijing on our way of life and commercial activities. It is and will always be as it was before 1997 — maybe even better.

The call from the wild is “freedom”, freedom from what? Beijing has not forced communism on Hong Kong, lifestyles remain the same and nothing has been taken away. For basic freedoms of speech, assembly, etc, these are all guaranteed in the Basic Law. Their call for “freedom” is not valid and misleading.

The call from the wild is “freedom”, freedom from what? Beijing has not forced communism on Hong Kong, lifestyles remain the same and nothing has been taken away. For basic freedoms of speech, assembly, etc, these are all guaranteed in the Basic Law. Their call for “freedom” is not valid and misleading. Yet, they still storm the streets wreaking havoc along the way. Statistics on the damage are mind-boggling

Yet, they still storm the streets wreaking havoc along the way. Statistics on the damage are mind-boggling. Columnist Nury Vittachi has compiled a list of the carnage from various sources: Some 90 percent of Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway, which carried some 5 million passengers trips a day, have been vandalized with 2,400 ticket machines and turnstiles smashed and 900 security cameras broken. Some 42 light rail stations have been wrecked. About 42 kilometers of safety railing have been ripped out and used as barricades; 28,000 square feet of pavements have been torn up and bricks used as missiles against the police, and 80 sets of traffic lights were wrecked in one weekend alone.

This has been wanton vandalism which in any other country would have provoked a justified massive crackdown from the local police. Shop windows have been smashed, and stores looted for absolutely no reason. Their arsenal employed against the police officers includes sharpened sticks, bricks, slingshots, gasoline bombs, corrosive liquids, and radio-controlled explosives. One police officer had his neck slashed with a cardboard cutter and was admitted to hospital in critical condition. The cut was just inches from his jugular vein. Shopkeepers have been blackmailed and threatened with extortion by rebels to fund their cause. How anyone can condone these acts of violence and vandalism is beyond comprehension. These vandals and bullies are encouraged by support from US politicians and a good number of Hong Kong citizens.

Randall Schriver, the US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, excuses these violent acts of terrorism. He said during a recent trip to Hong Kong that the US was concerned about the “heavier hand that Beijing has taken and the Hong Kong authorities have taken with what we regard as legitimate activities on the part of the people of Hong Kong”. This is an outrageous statement based on falsehood from a Pentagon official as other US politicians weighed in with support for the rioters. 

Most disturbing of all is the number of young people engaged in this assault on Hong Kong. Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said one-third of 2,379 people arrested for violence were under the age of 18, and 104 were under 16 years of age. Even a 10-year-old has been arrested for taking part in the riots.

The Hong Kong Police Force, the front line to defend the city, has been placed in a no-win situation: Damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Day and night, these professional men and women confront thousands of rioters armed with all manners of improvised weaponry. They have been accused of and abused for “using unnecessary force”. When large gangs clad in black and wearing masks hurl bricks and gasoline bombs at police, it is only natural that there will be counterattacks in self-defense. The police maintain they are responding using the minimum international norms with water cannons, batons, tear gas and rubber bullets — all non-lethal weapons to minimize fatalities. Their job is to restore law and order and protect innocent citizens.

The author is a former chief information officer of the Hong Kong government, a media and PR consultant, and veteran journalist.


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