My Take

Stop talk of PLA and foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 6:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 4:03pm

Are people on both sides of the political divide getting a tad too paranoid?

Here is a letter from Hong Kong by one William Lam published in The New York Times a day after the July 1 march. It first accused Beijing of having no intention of honouring a free and fair election in 2017. OK, I grant you that's not an unreasonable belief.

But then it descended into what we may fairly call paranoia. "There are signals that the Hong Kong [SAR] government is preparing for a crackdown on the pro-democracy movement," he wrote.

"People in Hong Kong are worried that there will be bloodshed. The international community has good reason to be concerned." This has apparently become a common belief in some pan-democratic circles.

Well, I think there is the bloody crackdown of the Tiananmen Square type and then there is the more moderate, Hong Kong police harassment variety. At most it's the latter. For example, the arrest of five organisers of the mass rally does look excessive. It was apparently linked to the police accusation that the five were responsible for slowing the progress of the march with a slow-moving van at the front. Looking at the day's photos, there is at least room for doubt about the police version.

But bloodshed? I don't think it will ever come to that. Of course, it didn't help that a staunch Beijing loyalist like Lau Nai-keung warned that PLA soldiers might have to come out to help restore order.

"A showdown is getting more and more inevitable by the day, and some degree of violence is imminent," he was quoted as saying. "If worst comes to worst, the PLA will come out of its barracks."

Both sides should try to dial down the rhetoric and calm their paranoia.

We all know how Beijing absolutely loathes any talk about "foreign interference" and how Hong Kong people simply would not accept a PLA presence in our streets.

These are the worst bogeymen we can use to provoke one another.

Stop talking about PLA and foreign interference, please! We can work it out among ourselves without dropping blood. At least I hope we can, though it may look difficult now.