Opinion: Condemning violent protests doesn’t mean I don’t love Hong Kong

Cyril Ip

Opposing the ongoing anti-government unrest does not make a person a 'betrayer' of the city

Cyril Ip |

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Dialog cannot go on while the city is paralysed by violent protests.

Over the past two months, I have been forced to the brink of moral suffering, by lifelong friends, by acquaintances, by the media, and by politics. I have, after threats and intimidation, had to deactivate my Instagram account. I have had to search desperately for ethical news sources, after propaganda, disinformation, and selective reporting widely endorsed and celebrated by major news outlets – local and international – that I once trusted. I have had to temporarily take in a mother and her two children, after the police housing they lived in was attacked by protesters. I have had to make a decision on how I can live in peace, now that Hong Kong has become a place of rioting and terrorism.

I have made that decision, and it is clear – I will not be silenced.

I will not be silenced by extremists, who have threatened to beat me to death for expressing my non-violent political views on social media. Hong Kong is governed by the rule of law, and I shall have no fear to speak my thoughts out loud, even if they expose me as a patriot – the greatest sin of all, according to my opposition.

I will not be accused of “betraying” Hong Kong, simply because I have a different stance than most people my age – I condemn terrorism, amid protesters aggressively chanting the principle of “condoning-anything-and-everything-that-protesters-do” on the streets. I will never condone terrorism – such as the appalling alleged chemical bomb plot and the weaponry warehouses containing smoke grenades and petrol bombs allegedly related to founders and members of pro-democracy groups (including the Hong Kong National Front, the Hong Kong Independence Union and the Hong Kong National Party) – despite how great its supposed objective appears to be.

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I will not continue any relationship with people who support or defend educated professionals who wish death on the children of officers. Alvin Tai Kin-fai, the assistant principal of the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union Logos Academy, for example wished that police’s children “die before seven years old, or die an unnatural death before 20 years old should they now already be seven or older” on a Facebook post.

Setting boundaries is important. Civil conversations can’t happen when there are no boundaries, and the “all-condoning” attitude is an example of no boundaries. Until this outrageousness stops, there is absolutely no space for discussion – Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has made that clear.

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Being defiant is equally important. People have reached out to me in private, agreeing with my viewpoints, but they are too afraid to say anything in public – they do not want to be doxxed like my family members were. I encourage them to believe in righteousness, believe in the rule of law, and believe that evil never wins.

I have set boundaries and I have been vocal. I have removed people from my life because I do not tolerate ignorance and the maliciousness that grows from it. I am always eager and willing to have conversations with people from the other side, but I do not need buzzwords and slogans and I do not need people just shouting “freedom and democracy” as if three words are a thought-out argument – I need conversations that mean something.

I have decided what I will and will not be. That makes things easier.

Edited by Ginny Wong