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Saturday, January 09, 2021, 09:18
Ex­-magistrate: Arrests won’t hurt democracy
By Li Bingcun and Kathy Zhang in Hong Kong
Saturday, January 09, 2021, 09:18 By Li Bingcun and Kathy Zhang in Hong Kong


A former Hong Kong magistrate rejected accusations that the arrest of 53 suspects linked to an unofficial ballot held by the oppo­sition camp will hurt the city’s “democracy”, saying the word was abused by local activists as a pre­text for their radical political goals. 

In a Zoom interview with China Daily on Thursday, Symon Wong Yu­-wing, a barrister and former Eastern Court magistrate, said that in recent years, the activists frequently used “democracy” as a disguise to hide their intention to carry out anti-­government activities, such as the so-­called mutual destruction plan, which aims to drag all of society into the abyss of destruction. 

Symon Wong Yu-wing said that local activists sugar­ coated their malicious mutual destruction plan of “let’s burn ourselves together” with the pursuit of “democracy”, and it had fooled many youngsters, who actively participated in often­-violent pro­tests in 2019

“They are trying to fool a lot of people, especially youngsters, into believing that what they’re doing (is) for the benefit of the democrat­ic society,” Wong said. 

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Wong said these activists sugar­ coated their malicious mutual destruction plan of “let’s burn ourselves together” with the pursuit of “democracy”, and it had fooled many youngsters, who actively participated in often­-violent pro­tests in 2019. 

But Wong questioned: “Why should we allow ourselves to be burned together? There’s no need for that.” 

Wong said it was sad to see that many young people had “flushed the future down the toilet”. 

Wong also expressed support for the police’s decision not to charge people who voted in the unofficial ballot. 

On Wednesday, 53 people were arrested over alleged acts of subversion under the National Securi­ty Law. They organized or participated in a self-­initiated primary poll, held in July, to select candidates of the opposition camp, in a bid to take the majority of the legislature and paralyze the government’s operation. The organizers said about 610,000 local residents voted in the poll. 

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Wong noted that it’s hard to examine whether the voters cast ballots simply to support the can­didates, or to express their recog­nition of the opposition camp’s ultimate goal to shut down the government. 

Yet the arrestees had the details of the destructive plan in mind, and they knew precisely what they wanted to achieve — to bring down the government, especially the chief executive, Wong said. That is totally unlawful, he said. 

Wong also denounced some Western politicians’ double stan­dards for the disparity in how they responded to the violence at the United States Capitol, and the vio­lent storming of Hong Kong’s leg­islature in July 2019. 

Five people died when hundreds of supporters of outgoing US Presi­dent Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building in a bid to pre­vent Congress from ratifying Presi­dent-­elect Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. 

On July 1, 2019, a group of masked Hong Kong protesters stormed the Legislative Council building to derail a now-­withdrawn government bill to enable the spe­cial administrative region to extra­dite fugitives with areas that didn’t sign long­term rendition agree­ments with the SAR. 

The veteran legal practitioner said he hopes the public, especially the younger generation, can see through the hypocrisy of some Western politicians and local activists. 

Contact the writers at bingcun@chinadailyhk.com 


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