My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 3:15am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 2:40pm

Most Legco protesters care little about plight of New Territories villagers

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

A small number of hooligan-lawmakers and their young mindless supporters have hijacked a campaign by villagers against a government plan to build two new towns in the northeast New Territories.

Claiming to fight for the villagers and the people of Hong Kong, they in fact exploited the controversial plan for their own agenda and stormed the legislature on Friday night. Using metal fences and bamboo sticks to trash entrances to the Legco building, they provoked and fought with officers and then claimed police brutality.

Several young men who claimed they were beaten up actually jumped off a police van and walked merrily to the group of reporters to complain and show off their "wounds". From photos I saw taken by our photographers, I could see nothing more than scratches, if anything.

Stakeholders may reasonably argue over details of the locations and extent of two new towns, which have been revised several times since 2008. If it were just a fight between the villagers and the government, there is no reason to doubt the villagers would be reasonably compensated or offered public flats in the same districts.

But while lawmakers like Albert Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen of People Power worked inside Legco to sabotage a meeting on funding, their supporters outside clashed with police, leading to the meeting's suspension.

These are the young people who responded to Twitter and Facebook messages from the League of Social Democrats, student unions and numerous other protest-anything groups. Most of these protesters would not have met the real villagers affected by the government plan or cared much about what they really wanted. Many are the same people who take part in all sorts of anti-government protests, regardless of their merits. Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said the protesters knew what they were opposing and the government should stop insulting them and start listening to the people. Really?

They oppose the government all right; they just don't care over what and whether they trample on the rights and interests of other people.

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