Violent protesters are sending wrong message to our younger generation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 12:00am


The debacle of the government consultation forum held at Hong Kong Science Museum on September 1 shocked the public. Many people were angry with the protesters and their disruptive behaviour and expressed their views on the internet, radio, television and through these columns.

Parents are deeply concerned about the impact such acts will have on their children.

In fact, the violence in recent demonstrations has escalated. There are fears that these radical protesters could soon become the dominant force in campaigns by activists.

For example, more young people are wearing masks popularised by the film V for Vendetta to hide their identities. They can then feel more comfortable about their extremist actions.

They will claim that their aim is to raise public awareness of particular social issues. But when they act in this way they are ignoring the safety of other citizens.

They argue that they have no choice but to resort to radicalism and I find this worrying.

There is nothing wrong with organising protests in support of a cause which you consider to be important, but it must be done in the proper manner without harming other people.

A balance must always be struck between individuals exercising their rights of expression and respect for law and order. This latter point has been ignored by these protesters.

British citizens were incensed by last month's riots in London, and the violence that was perpetrated by those individuals who took to the streets.

The country's education minister, Michael Gove, took the view that schools must be given additional powers to enforce discipline and that teachers should restore their authority in order to strengthen the sense of responsibility of the next generation.

One must not forget that 'rights' and 'responsibilities' always accompany each other in a stable society. Britain's prime minister David Cameron echoed this view.

We need to be vigilant and ensure that the message conveyed by recent protests does not encourage youngsters to pursue a culture of violence.

Such a trend can only lead to a broken society.

Holden Chow, chairman, Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong