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Thursday, June 13, 2019, 00:36
Stay vigilant to rise of mob rule, separatism
By Judith Yu
Thursday, June 13, 2019, 00:36 By Judith Yu

The anti-extradition law demonstration organized by the Civil Human Rights Front on Sunday eventually morphed into a riot at midnight. A mob attempted to storm into the Legislative Council Complex by charging police cordon lines and hurling umbrellas and water bottles at police. Eight police officers were injured in this incident.

This is apparently an organized and premeditated raid, the entire process of which resembles the illegal “Occupy Central” campaign and the Mong Kok riot. Police also seized a large number of offensive weapons such as chainsaws, hammers, spears, scissors and blades. The intention of these aggressive and violent radicals is palpable — to stir up a riot to destabilize Hong Kong. It is worth noting that some individuals were once again advocating “achieving justice by violating the law” as well as Hong Kong independence — a blatant disregard for the law.

Hong Kong is a city governed by the rule of law and respecting the law is the cornerstone of its prosperity and stability. Our social consensus is that views should be expressed via legitimate means, while any unlawful attempt should be condemned. Although residents are endowed with the freedom of expression, they must avail themselves of peaceful and non-violent actions that will not undermine the rule of law and social fabric of our city

The illegal “Occupy Central” movement in 2014 has not only opened a Pandora’s box of lawlessness and violence, but has also released a wave of separatism that challenges the sovereignty of the nation. “Occupy Central” was essentially a separatist movement masked under the slogan of “self-determination”. It was a Hong Kong version of the color revolution that attempted to challenge the “one country” principle.

The 79-day illegal occupation witnessed numerous attacks launched by radical groups — with some involving use of offensive weapons.

During the Mong Kok riot, the mobs prepared a large number of weapons such as self-made shields, wooden sticks, steel rods and helmets to assault police, journalists and ordinary citizens, during which the call for a “Hong Kong nation” was frequently heard.

It is increasingly evident that Sunday’s raid outside the LegCo Complex and in Wan Chai were organized and premeditated by radical groups. The secessionist Studentlocalism and Hong Kong Independence Union were directing demonstrators to stand against police in Harcourt Road. At midnight, scuffles broke out between hundreds of masked protesters who attempted to storm the LegCo building and clashed with police. The attack left many people injured. 

“Occupy Central”, the Mong Kok riot and the anti-extradition law movements are themes that will recur even though they are dissimilar to each other. All three are in the same vein as threatening Hong Kong’s rule of law and advocating separatism. The difference is that “Occupy Central”, in pursuit of Hong Kong independence, used the pretext of “genuine universal suffrage” to usurp the administrative power vested in the HKSAR; the Mong Kok riot was led by radicals who, under the guise of localism, resorted to progressive violence or even terrorism to threaten the rule of law and challenge the sovereignty of the nation; the anti-extradition law demonstration and the subsequent violence are invariably linked to separatism and Hong Kong independence. 

It has been reported that the secessionist groups will collaborate with opposition lawmakers to launch a raid on the legislature similar to Taiwan’s Sunflower movement, which was also a Taiwan independence initiative masqueraded under the pretext of protesting against the Cross-Straits Service Trade Agreement with the Chinese mainland. Likewise, the opposition camp and the separatist forces are leveraging the extradition law to launch an independence movement. 

From “Occupy Central” and the Mong Kok riot to the revolt against the fugitive law, the radical opposition and secessionist forces are not simply launching a movement of populism, but rather a combination of mobocracy and separatism. This may turn Hong Kong into a violent hub — a city of turmoil and fragmentation. 

Hong Kong is a city governed by the rule of law and respecting the law is the cornerstone of its prosperity and stability. Our social consensus is that views should be expressed via legitimate means, while any unlawful attempt should be condemned. Although residents are endowed with the freedom of expression, they must avail themselves of peaceful and non-violent actions that will not undermine the rule of law and social fabric of our city. Wary of the resurgence of mobocracy and separatism, the SAR government should work with the community to safeguard national security and preserve the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

The author is a Hong Kong member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. This is an excerpt translation of her Chinese article published earlier in Ta Kung Pao.

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