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Friday, October 18, 2019, 19:02
US politicians oblivious as Hong Kong burns and disintegrates
By Daniel de Blocq van Scheltinga
Friday, October 18, 2019, 19:02 By Daniel de Blocq van Scheltinga

Sadly, and tragically, it is becoming increasingly rare these days when people in Hong Kong demonstrate in a peaceful manner, after having obtained the necessary permits, without it culminating in hate, destruction and violence. When it does on occasion occur, usually only in the early stage of the protest march, this is immediately broadcast in the global press as evidence that the protests are all peaceful, as the blackshirts’ well-organized and highly efficient propaganda machine attempts to erase all traces of illegal and anti-social behavior, and paint a rosy picture.

When on occasion violent incidents are sparingly reported in the international press, innocent-sounding descriptions and terms are used to describe them, such as “flash mobs” (a term usually associated with dance or music events), or “young students”.

The rather bizarre statements by US Senator Ted Cruz, who quickly flew in and out of Hong Kong, purposely and rather undiplomatically dressed in black, suggested that while the protests were continuing in “full force”, the protesters were peaceful and any violence was caused by undercover Chinese agents! Unbelievable that a senator (both a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate) and former US presidential candidate could believe such nonsense. But he did say it: “There is considerable concern that the protests are being infiltrated by agents of the Chinese government precisely to cause that violence, to turn the protests violent”. Considering that a man from the Chinese mainland who is a JPMorgan banker was attacked for speaking Mandarin and stating that “We are all Chinese”, that mainland-linked shops and branches of Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Bank of China are constantly being trashed and burned, that tourists from the mainland are being harassed and attacked, this theory is clearly so improbable and Machiavellian in the extreme that one wonders what the bearded senator has been smoking. Or maybe he already wrote that statement before he arrived!

We have now been “honored” by no less than two lightning so-called fact-finding visits of US senators to Hong Kong in the past week, with both senators — Cruz and Josh Hawley — eager to lend their support for the protesters before spending any amount of time with a cross-section of Hong Kong people. They are clearly and openly using Hong Kong as a pawn in their geopolitical chess game

We have now been “honored” by no less than two lightning so-called fact-finding visits of US senators to Hong Kong in the past week, with both senators — Cruz and Josh Hawley — eager to lend their support for the protesters before spending any amount of time with a cross-section of Hong Kong people. They are clearly and openly using Hong Kong as a pawn in their geopolitical chess game. The intention is evidently to use Hong Kong to put pressure on the Chinese government, in the same way that Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, is also being used. US President Donald Trump has indicated as much every time that trade negotiations were ongoing. During the recent discussions in Washington, he suddenly declared that the Hong Kong protests were de-escalating very quickly as the preliminary trade agreement reached was “very positive for Hong Kong”. Imagine the uproar in Washington if members of the Chinese National People’s Congress or State Council had visited New York during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, had met with and supported the protesters, and subsequently linked their position to ongoing trade talks!

Nevertheless, it must be more and more difficult these days for the apologists to hide the evidence, as the tally of destruction continues to rise, undoubtedly setting some sort of perverse world record. MTR casualties alone are staggering: At least 1,200 turnstiles, 800 ticketing machines and add-value machines, 900 CCTV cameras, 40 elevators, and 70 roller shutters, have been (sometimes repeatedly) damaged since the protests started four months ago. These are shocking numbers, and would not be tolerated in any other subway in the world.

According to the government, the infrastructure damage is also of major proportions: at least 42 kilometers of roadside railings dismantled, 2,600 square meters of brick-paved pedestrian paths dug up, and more than 20 percent of all Hong Kong traffic lights smashed and destroyed. By the way: the massive bill for all the repair and replacement work will at some point in the near future be presented to the Hong Kong taxpayers! And the statistics do not mention the crude and vile graffiti sprayed all over the city, and the disturbing posters, stickers and other rubbish plastered on public property. Often these are on the so-called “Lennon walls”, a term which is in itself too ironic to be true: John Lennon eschewed violence, and one of his more famous quotes is, “If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.” Perhaps the blackshirts should listen to more of the late former Beatles’ music instead of malicious rumors and outright lies.

Enough is enough. Hong Kong is slowly burning and disintegrating! The violence and terror threats are increasing, and the danger level is rising. Even as we continue to live under a terror threat, with the risk of being beaten up for having a different opinion, or speaking Mandarin, or risk being extorted by blackshirts running roadblocks, knocking on doors in public housing estates and threatening shopkeepers, new and very dangerous levels of terror are being added to the mix.

Last weekend a blackshirt attempted to murder a policeman by stabbing him in the neck with a cutter. To make matters even worse, an IED (improvised explosive device) was used by the blackshirts for the first time. While this time it did not succeed in killing anyone, the risk of this happening cannot be overestimated. This is an extremely grave escalation as IEDs are or were typically used by terrorists or guerrilla fighters in combat zones like Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whatever their political persuasion, I have no doubt that most Hong Kong people must be watching the piecemeal destruction of Hong Kong with despair and puzzlement by blackshirts claiming to be building a better replacement. Until June, Hong Kong was widely regarded as one of the safest cities in the world. Now its hotels are mostly empty despite substantial discounts to attract visitors, while our much-envied MTR struggles to keep its trains moving because a substantial part of its facilities have been repeatedly trashed by the blackshirts. Wringing our hands over such mindless destruction and violence won’t help. It’s time for those who really love Hong Kong to use their legs and stand up to be counted. Enough is enough!

The author is a specialist in international public law, and an adviser on China-related matters to both the private and public sectors. He has lived in Hong Kong for over 18 years.


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