In order to advance their political agenda, the opposition camp repeatedly used objections to the extradition law as a pretext for instigating violent protests. On July 1, rioters blatantly stormed into the stately Legislative Council Complex, where they waved the colonial flag of British Hong Kong to promote their separatist ideas. Recently violent demonstrations have been proliferating in many districts, causing injuries to numerous police officers. The lawlessness and aggression of mobs are causing chaos in society; they should be condemned in the strongest possible manner. The law enforcement agencies must bring the culprits to justice as quickly as possible.
The Basic Law grants citizens freedom of assembly and demonstration, but this does not imply that violence will be condoned ... The community should voice their support for the police in enforcing the law; they should also condemn any statement or act of aggression that undermines the integrity of the police force.
Hong Kong prides itself on its well-established and independent judicial system, which constitutes the rule of law. In order to serve justice, it would be a sensible move for the police to arrest and investigate those who have unleashed this violence, and hand them to the Department of Justice for prosecution. It would be a violation of the rule of law if, as requested by certain groups, the arrested individuals are to be released and given an amnesty. Article 63 of the Basic Law stipulates that the Department of Justice shall “control criminal prosecutions, free from any interference”. This provision ensures prosecutors will act independently and not be subject to political, illegitimate or unwarranted pressure. As everyone is equal before the law, the rioters should never be given any preferential treatment, or else our judicial system will be left in tatters, resulting in the obliteration of the city’s rule of law.
The Basic Law grants citizens freedom of assembly and demonstration, but this does not imply that violence will be condoned. The police have handled recent mob attacks with professionalism, restraint and dedication; they only use appropriate force to prevent the violence from becoming extreme. Since June, the Hong Kong Police Force has fully demonstrated its excellence and professionalism in the face of incessant protests, violent assaults and verbal abuse. Even when their personal data and their families were infringed, they remained restrained and committed to their duties of preserving law and order. The community should voice their support for the police in enforcing the law; they should also condemn any statement or act of aggression that undermines the integrity of the police force. While the rule of law is the core value of Hong Kong, peace and harmony ensures the well-being of its residents. Therefore, all sectors of society should stand united in combating violence, along with making concerted efforts in developing Hong Kong’s economy and maintaining social stability and prosperity.
The author is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. This is a translation of his Chinese article published earlier on Wen Wei Po.
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