The riots and chaos in Hong Kong, which have lasted for nearly four months, are arousing high concern of peoples with justice and conscience all over the world. Those extreme illegal violent activities are not only threatening the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, but overstepping the bottom line of the rule of law, destroying the image of Hong Kong and severely challenging the bottom line of national sovereignty, Hong Kong’s Basic Law and “One Country, Two Systems”.
The opposition and radical forces in Hong Kong, guided, instigated and financed by some anti-China forces and political figures, putting on masks in disguise, upholding the national flags of the US and UK, have kept plotting all kinds of violent activities to wantonly vandalize public property, set fire, blatantly attack and throw petrol bombs at police, besiege and beat people who oppose their wrong actions, block traffic trunk road, paralyze international airport, subways and other public transportation, flagrantly attack government office buildings, and even burn national flag and defame national emblem of China.
In February last year, Chen Tongjia, a Hong Kong resident, fled back to Hong Kong after killing his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan. Because there was no mutual legal assistance arrangement between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Hong Kong court sentenced Chen Tongjia, a malicious murderer, to only 29 months in prison, causing strong dissatisfaction from the victim’s family and Hong Kong society.
To avoid impunity and respond to the call of the people, the Hong Kong SAR government proposed to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. However, the good intention was translated into hidden agendas by those anti-China forces of the US, some other Western countries and the Taiwan authorities.
It is under their finance and instigation that the turmoil has completely changed in nature and now it is becoming a “Hong Kong version of colored revolution”. This is why the riots and chaos in HK last for such a long time, although the Hong Kong SAR government has officially withdrawn from amending the ordinances.
US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, the House Speaker, the Secretary of State and other political dignitaries have all met with the key figures who want to disrupt Hong Kong. Such prestigious US universities as Harvard go so far as to offer scholarships to key rioters in Hong Kong.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Relations Committee have blatantly backed up the Hong Kong violent radicals by passing the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” under the cloak of human rights and democracy, which has become an act to support the Hong Kong violent radicals.
It is not difficult to see the essence of the chaos in Hong Kong is that the US and some other Western countries do not want to see the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the success of China. They regard Hong Kong as a pawn and base to make farce and disrupt the city with an evil attempt to contain China’s development and rise. If such lawless criminal activities are called “freedom and democracy”, or “beautiful scenery”, let the US and its following countries savor them. For the developing countries such as China, the common pursuit of the government and people is achieving stability and development.
Self-proclaimed as defenders of democracy and rule of law, the US and some other Western countries have been pursuing double standards in practice.
In the US for instance, the police have every right to shoot whenever they deem a potential life-threat. However, in terms of Hong Kong, they incline to turn a blind eye to those rioters’ attacking the police with lethal weapons, ignore the basic human rights of the HK police and the majority of the people, and distort the law enforcement as “violent suppression”. It is so sad and regrettable to see such developed and so called civilized countries have lost their due conscience and justice.
In each and every country, the sacred mission of the police is to maintain social stability and order, and ensure the safety of people’s lives and property. Legitimate defense is universally law-enshrined right for them to carry out their duty. What is happening in HK is that one policeman was besieged, beaten and attacked by a lot of rioters and his colleagues’ life security was seriously threatened, he was forced to fire a shot for self-defense, hurting one masked rioter who was attacking him with fatal weapons and tools.
In any civilized society or country under the rule of law, all demonstrations must be filed in accordance with legal procedures and carried out peacefully in a designated place. In no way should it impair the freedom and personal safety of the general public, disrupt social and public order, let alone using violence or attacking the police by force. No country in the West including the US can tolerate such violent acts.
However, some politicians in the US and UK, in disregard of the facts, call black white, level unwarranted accusations against the law enforcement of the HK police and even call it “humanitarian incident”, and link it with the China-US trade talks. This is undoubtedly a naked applying of double standards and gross interference in China’s internal affairs.
Rampant violence and turning a blind eye to the rule of law is the biggest danger facing Hong Kong now. Under such circumstances, the HK SAR government shall heed the call of the HK people to ban the demonstrators from using masks which cause difficulties for the police to find out their identities and leave the space for impunity. To stop the violence in a more effective way in accordance with the Emergency Regulations Ordinance and Anti-mask Law, which is totally legitimate, legal and very necessary, serving the fundamental interest of all the people in HK, as many countries and regions in the world have enacted the anti-mask laws.
We are living in a global village. What is happening in Hong Kong may have spill-over effects if those criminal activities are continuously connived and supported. Maintaining rule of law is the incumbent responsibilities of any responsible state, government or media. It is also the common norm and principle that anti-humane, law-breaking activities as such should have no room in any society.
Stopping violence and restoring order is what the overwhelming majority of the people in Hong Kong demand as well as the broadest consensus and strongest call of the international community. As a aviation and financial hub connecting Asia and the world, a unstable, lawless Hong Kong serves no one’s interest, including the South African people.It is our sincere hope that people of conscience and justice in the world could voice out their strong condemnation to the irresponsible words and acts of some western politicians and give firm support to the Hong Kong SAR government to restore social order according to law at an early date.
* Lin Songtian is China’s ambassador to South Africa.