Why Hong Kong people join public rallies: they are afraid for their future
Marking the opening of “Prosecution Week” last month, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said that a “recent rise in cases involving violence in public processions and the like, some of which turned into riots” demonstrated a need to better educate the Hong Kong public about the city’s criminal laws, though she did not specify which incidents she had in mind.
To some extent, I agree that a rise in violence highlights a need for education – not just because people should learn about the consequences of breaking the law, but because they need to know where to draw the line.
When you breach a rule, especially the almighty law, consequence always follows. This is common sense and everybody knows it. However, our officials are missing the reason behind all the unrest.
To be more precise, people need a route to peaceful expression. The only reason the people come out of their comfort zones to join rallies is that they fear that there won’t be a future for the future generations. They are afraid that the city will be a totally different place to live in for the next generation.
This isn’t something that can be dealt with purely by education. Without understanding from those sitting in high office, this problem isn’t going to go away.
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No matter whether a public procession is peaceful or not, officials tend to have the same reaction – they strongly condemn those who encouraged massive rallies. It’s not like people support these protests for no reason at all.
If Hong Kong government officials aren’t aware of people’s fears and do not put any effort into trying to understand the reason behind people’s actions, there will never be space for negotiation and it would be much harder to put an end to social disorder.
Cassandra Chan, Lam Tin