HK government and Beijing must stamp out political violence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 4:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 4:53pm

The storming of the University of Hong Kong's council meeting on July 28, by students, is only the tip of an iceberg of political upheaval in Hong Kong.

While the students claimed they won the battle to uphold "academic freedom", they were completely defeated in the public arena. The public response from all sectors of the community - university vice-chancellors, community leaders, professionals and opinion leaders - was unanimous in condemning the outrageous intrusion.

The HKU saga is one of the fallouts from the Occupy Central movement last year. It would be unfair to only take these young people to task.

Public protests about livelihood issues, such as cross-border trading and lead-contaminated water, could perhaps be accepted as rightful grievances from ordinary citizens. However, political parties have focused on what they see as unfair court rulings on protesters, in order to attack the rule of law. Rowdy demonstrators who caused disturbances to passers-by in Mong Kok, and chanted songs full of foul language to condemn the police, are rebels without a cause.

The causes of increasing political violence are complex. First, youngsters lack proper guidance from busy working parents and adequate attention from overworked teachers. There has been a gradual decline in social and moral values. Instead, most Hong Kong people today focus their attention on their personal well-being.

They blame everybody else but themselves for any failures in life and see themselves as victims of an unjust society. The government and tycoons become the targets of frustrated, angry Hongkongers.

Second, negative influences from political activists elsewhere and in Hong Kong brainwash people. They induce them to seek freedom without discipline, and bargain for human rights without rational justification. Radical actions by some local legislators are examples of this kind of behaviour.

Third, interventions by foreign countries in local politics infiltrate every sector of the community. Financial resources are used to support social unrest. When things go wrong, those behind the scenes are untouched, leaving the man in the street to take the blame.

It is up to the central and SAR governments to tackle the problem of political violence and map out strategies to stamp it out. The community and the media must also help build a social atmosphere conducive to destroying enemies of our stable city. If we don't work hard to polish the image of the Pearl of the Orient, we will be displaced as a leading city in Asia.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels