• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:30pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Violence and disruption have no place in Hong Kong's political discourse

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 3:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 3:27am

Yet another government town hall session has been marred by disorderly protests. In their usual disruptive tactics, the radical activists hurled objects at Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying when he was about to address the crowd in North Point on Saturday. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who accompanied Leung on the stage, was hit on the head by an egg. The theatrics go beyond peaceful expression of opinion within the law and deserve public condemnation.

Like some politicians in the West, the finance chief laughed it off with a good sense of humour. He said his doctor had advised him not to eat too many eggs and that luckily he wasn't wearing a nice suit. Leung's response was more stern. He condemned the activists and vowed to pursue legal liability.

The tight security at another session the following day is to be expected. To avoid similar incidents, the police searched all attendants' belongings beforehand and took away suspicious objects. The buffer zone at the event, in Tai Kok Tsui, was also enlarged and more officers were deployed. While the measures saved officials from further attack, they could also be seen as a nuisance and barriers to closer contact with the people.

The meet-the-public session is the opportunity for officials to feel the public pulse. It is also a good occasion for people to air their views directly to the government. Regrettably, the sessions are often overshadowed by political stunts which serve no other purpose than to attract attention. Not only did it disrupt the forum, it also prompted heavier security, which is arguably not conducive to contact and dialogue.

It is good that the chief executive intends to continue reaching out to the public. The government should not be deterred from staging such meetings in the future.

This is not the first time radical protesters have expressed their discontent with rowdy behaviour. It is unacceptable that one lawmaker even warned that officials might face petrol bombs instead of eggs next time. There is a danger of the community getting used to such means of protest, so much so that they may gradually become acceptable. That will undermine our fine tradition of expressing one's opinions in a peaceful and rational manner. Violence and disruption have no place in a law-abiding society like Hong Kong. They will only disrupt fruitful exchanges and provoke public outrage. Freedom of expression must be exercised within the law.

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johnh
People shouldn't fear their government, government should fear their people
sudo rm -f cy
The anti-23 protests worked because there were never such large numbers of protesters before and the government was startled. They're not startled any more. The anti-national education protests worked because it was the first large-scale "illegal" gathering in post-97 Hong Kong. Our second one just a few months ago regarding HKTV? Much less effective. The Hong Kong government is becoming hardened, and the people of Hong Kong can only strike harder in response.
caractacus
This rowdy behaviour is a symptom of the underlying problems of poor governance, insidious collusion / corruption between Government, business interests and other quasi gangster lobby groups such as H Y K and of the widespread perception that the HK Government isn't governing, but that instead the central government is. The violence probably would not happen if people were satisfied that the administration was responsive and concerned with the good of the whole community. Of course, it isn't, otherwise we would have seen some really effective solutions to the abusive extortion of the landlords and property developers such as rent control and security of tenure, stopping the practice of appointing sycophants to the District Councils and Legco, and replacing the unaccountable Political Appointments System of Exco which has seen some of the most incompetent and ethically questionable people put into positions of power.
Unfortunately, most people believe these public showcases are simply a charade or publicity stunt designed to give the impression of listening while CCP apparatchiks call all the shots.
If people are not permitted real avenues to express their views (and one of these is to give them REAL elections) they will find other means of doing so.
It seems the so called radical activists are only a few in number. Why don't the police do as European police forces do with known hooligans and simply not admit them to the meeting?

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