Violence? What violence? It’s all peace and love on the Hong Kong protest front
- Yonden Lhatoo says speaking out against the violence and lawlessness marring the city’s protest movement has become risky business these days, with only one side apparently entitled to free speech and opinion
“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.”
Only those who are purportedly fighting for democracy are entitled to freedom of speech and expression, apparently, and anything counter to the protest narrative, even raising an eyebrow at the unlawful means being employed to achieve a political goal, earns you the wrath of “the people”.
“I am disheartened by the violence that occurred in the Legislative Council building and would like to condemn such destructive acts,” he wrote, sparking a backlash among students who complained that he had maligned a peaceful protest movement, never mind that universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech and opinion.
After being bullied into walking back his remarks to “clarify” that he was condemning violence “on all sides” – a forced acceptance of the protesters’ claims that police should be blamed instead for using tear gas and truncheons to provoke the peacemakers – Zhang is still unable to pacify his detractors.
Like I said, the twilight zone. Watch the video footage of the clashes between protesters and police over the past weeks. See all those policemen using batons, pepper spray and tear gas? They all need to be investigated by a formal commission of inquiry and prosecuted for brutality. And what about the youths in masks and helmets charging police lines with bricks and metal rods? And the ones who were flinging drain cleaner and God knows what at frontline officers? They deserve a blanket amnesty because they were “provoked” while exercising their “diminishing freedom” to block roads, disrupt the lives of other citizens and upend the rule of law.
Notice a pattern in that every mass rally ends in anarchy and clashes these days? After the bulk of protesters go home in the evening, to universal applause for keeping it peaceful, there’s always a bunch of louts and delinquents who remain on the streets throughout the night, openly looking for trouble. Dare to single them out for criticism and you’re accused of disparaging a noble cause.
Violence? What violence? Nothing to see here, folks. It’s all gloriously peaceful and Nobel Prize-winning stuff. Blame the government for everything and use the V-word at your own peril.
Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post