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Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 00:09
HKSAR needs to stand united against violence and foreign interference
By Lo Man-tuen
Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 00:09 By Lo Man-tuen

An illegal and violent assembly was staged early on Monday morning. After a rally led by the opposition, a mob wearing black masks clashed with police near the Admiralty Centre and the Legislative Council Complex. They charged police cordon lines in an attempt to storm into the LegCo building, which had resulted in some police officers receiving multiple injuries. Such violence shocked the entire Hong Kong community. It was an organized and premeditated attack with no respect for anybody’s personal safety. Their lawlessness severely undermined Hong Kong’s image in the world. It should also be noted that the scale and depth of foreign intervention in this incident are unprecedented. The opposition camp has been colluding with external forces to undermine the well-being of our society — turning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region into a pawn in their bid to contain the Chinese mainland.

It is noteworthy that in foreign countries, certain state institutions are heavily protected against physical attacks. According to Article 11 of the Assembly and Demonstration Act of South Korea, no person may hold any outdoor assembly or stage any demonstration anywhere within a 100-meter radius from the boundary of the National Assembly Building, the presidential office, all levels of courts, diplomatic offices or residences of heads of diplomatic missions in South Korea, the official residence of the prime minister, the Constitutional Court, etc. In the United States, banners carrying anti-America messages are forbidden in front of the White House — or the offenders are liable to immediate detention. As for Hong Kong, LegCo is the legislature of the HKSAR and lawmakers are protected under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance. Besieging the LegCo building and intimidating lawmakers with force are actions which clearly cross the line of law and order. Although Hong Kong is endowed with freedom of assembly and speech, any violent behavior cannot be tolerated. 

In the face of hostility and aggression on Sunday night, police officers took decisive action to swiftly subdue the rioters and bring the situation under control — once again demonstrating their professionalism in restoring law and order. Being a cornerstone of our city’s prosperity, the police force has successfully maintained a low crime rate over the years; they have contributed much to Hong Kong’s reputation as one of the safest cities in the world. If you recall how the police handled recent protests, it is not hard to discern the professionalism, restraint and tolerance demonstrated by each and every frontline officer. They endeavored to maintain social order and ensure public safety while respecting the public’s right to freedom of expression. Our police truly deserve the appreciation and support of every one of us.

External forces led by Washington are intended not only to thwart the amendments, but also to include Hong Kong in the Indo-Pacific Strategy as part of their effort to contain China. By colluding with the US to oppose the fugitive law, the opposition camp is, in essence, helping Washington restrain China...

In the past, external forces tended to pull strings behind the local political scene without coming to the forefront. In the storm over the extradition law amendment, however, the scale and depth of foreign intervention have reached a level not seen before.

Not long ago, high-ranking officials from the US National Security Council (NSC) invited people such as Anson Chan Fang On-sang from the opposition camp to visit the US for meetings with officials from the NSC and the US Vice-President Mike Pence to discuss the extradition law. The founding chairman of the Democratic Party Martin Lee Chu-ming subsequently visited Washington, where he met with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to discuss the fugitive law. Having voiced concerns over the proposed amendments to the extradition law one after another, the US, the UK and the European Union issued statements and even “diplomatic notes” to the SAR government on this subject. This led to very negative repercussions within Hong Kong society. 

External forces led by Washington are intended not only to thwart the amendments, but also to include Hong Kong in the Indo-Pacific Strategy as part of their effort to contain China. By colluding with the US to oppose the fugitive law, the opposition camp is, in essence, helping Washington restrain China and relegating itself into a pawn for the US in playing the “Hong Kong card”, which attempts to pit the HKSAR against its motherland. This has not only crossed China’s red line in national security, but also undermined the well-being of Hong Kong residents. Such a plot must be exposed and challenged. 

As foreign enterprises have an enormous stake in business in Hong Kong as an international financial center, it would be understandable to see constructive feedback on the proposed amendments from foreign diplomats and business representatives. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her government are taking the initiatives to brief foreign consuls general and chambers of commerce on this matter. It should be stressed that any issues in the HKSAR — including the extradition law — are China’s internal affairs. Such a blatant attempt by external forces to interfere in Hong Kong’s local affairs must be rebuked.

The author is the vice-chairman of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese and the president of the Hong Kong Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China.This is an excerpt translation of the his Chinese article published earlier on Wen Wei Po.

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