Pan-dems stoke fear of the PLA bogeyman

  • Opposition lawmakers have resorted to the usual insults and scaremongering by questioning why soldiers from the Hong Kong garrison were allowed to help in the Typhoon Mangkhut clean-up
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 10:08pm

Lawmakers who represent Hong Kong people should thank the army garrison for sending hundreds of soldiers to help clean up debris and felled trees in country parks after Typhoon Mangkhut battered the city in September.

It wasn’t their job, only a charitable act. Cynics may call it a public relations exercise. Whatever it is, the 400 or so People’s Liberation Army soldiers had performed a useful service for the city.

But at a formal meeting in the legislature, opposition lawmakers Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Claudia Mo Man-ching resorted to the usual insults and scaremongering by questioning why the soldiers were allowed outside their barracks, and to wear uniforms.

Chan asked whether the government would urge soldiers not to wear uniforms while performing volunteer or charitable work, the implication being that such appearances would scare the living daylights out of ordinary people.

Mo wanted to know whether the clean-up operation meant PLA soldiers could now go anywhere they wanted in Hong Kong.

She asked: “Has the government thrown its door wide open to allow PLA soldiers to walk around the city?”

PLA free to send soldiers off-base for volunteer work: security minister

Under the Basic Law and other long-standing laws of Hong Kong, the army is not allowed to interfere in Hong Kong affairs.

But PLA soldiers in the past have donated blood, cleaned elderly homes and visited kindergartens as well as performed as military bands at various official and social functions.

They have cleaned beaches and planted trees. Such activities have not previously caused controversy. Are Chan and Mo saying soldiers can plant trees but not clean them up after a big storm?

Mo also demanded a definition of “a charitable event” that would allow the PLA to send soldiers outside the barracks. How about clearing felled trees?

In reality, such pan-democrat politicians are not worried that the PLA may try to interfere in local affairs and start rolling tanks onto our busy streets. What they want is to have no interaction between locals and the army so as to keep up the latter’s bogeyman image for the public.

God forbid if Hong Kong people find that PLA soldiers sent to Hong Kong turn out to be well-trained and highly disciplined, and that they perform useful community services from time to time to enhance their public image among the locals.