A year ago, Hongkongers were shocked by the brutal attacks on passengers by an armed mob at Yuen Long MTR station. On the same day, July 21, at the height of the social unrest, the city witnessed the most blatant affront yet to Beijing’s sovereignty as radicals hurled insults and defaced the national emblem at the central government liaison office. Twelve months have passed and a national security law has been rushed in to ban acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. But the wounds inflicted by the so-called 7.21 Yuen Long attackers remain unhealed. The images of innocent people being beaten at random by thugs wearing white T-shirts still haunt many today. There were accusations that police connived in the violence, but they were rejected by the force. A fact-finding report by the Independent Police Complaints Council also said the claims based on some online messages could not be substantiated, though it stressed it had no power to investigate collusion. More allegations have since emerged and the blame game goes on. By February, only seven of the 37 arrested in the incident had been brought before the courts. In hindsight, that day was arguably a watershed moment for those protesting against the unpopular extradition bill, later withdrawn by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. It is believed the vandalism at the liaison office prompted Beijing to take more decisive action regarding a national security law. Separately, the incident at Yuen Long raised the stakes even higher. As observed by the police watchdog, it sparked accusations of collusion between police and triads, intensified resentment against the force, and added momentum to the protests. The raging Covid-19 epidemic and the passage of the new law have eased tensions recently. But Lam would be wrong to pretend that the underlying sentiment no longer exists. As reflected in protests on Sunday and last night, this dark chapter in the city’s history is far from over. The new law may restore stability in the long run, but the longing for justice and redress remains. This episode, unless fully resolved, may continue to remain one of the many obstacles to true reconciliation and recovery.