Ex­trem­ists lead HK nowhere

Ex­tra­di­tion bill ex­cuse for se­ces­sion move­ment

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Chen Qingqing and Yang Sheng in Hong Kong

Protests in Hong Kong hi­jacked by anti-main­land ac­tivists have es­ca­lated into ri­ots and dis­rupted op­er­a­tions of a world fi­nan­cial and trade hub.

Chi­nese ex­perts said the se­ces­sion­ists trash­ing the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple are lead­ing the city nowhere.

Chaos, anger and clashes summed up an­other week­end in Hong Kong, as a mass rally hit Mong Kok Satur­day af­ter­noon, block­ing some of the city’s busiest shop­ping dis­tricts and caus­ing se­ri­ous traf­fic jams.

Black-clad ac­tivists pre­pared sup­plies such as hel­mets, um­brel­las and steel bars for clashes with the po­lice as the night de­scended.

The ex­perts said that un­der the guise of the anti-ex­tra­di­tion bill, demonstrat­ions have evolved to not only dam­age the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment and po­lice but also to se­ri­ously chal­lenge na­tional sovereignt­y, an ac­tion firmly con­demned by Hong Kong peo­ple.

After de­vi­at­ing from the po­lice per­mit­ted route Satur­day, groups of rad­i­cal pro­test­ers headed to the Star Ferry pier and tossed the Chi­nese na­tional flag into the har­bor.

Such be­hav­ior is play­ing with fire, the ex­perts said, as it vi­o­lates the Na­tional Flag and Na­tional Em­blem Or­di­nance which states that “a per­son who des­e­crates the na­tional flag or na­tional em­blem by pub­licly and will­fully burning, mu­ti­lat­ing, scrawl­ing on, de­fil­ing or tram­pling on it com­mits an of­fense” and is li­able to a fine and up to three years’ im­pris­on­ment.

After throw­ing the Chi­nese na­tional flag into the sea at Tsim Sha Tsui on Satur­day, sep­a­ratists held flags with “Hong Kong-in­de­pen­dence” at the venue and made speeches pro­mot­ing sep­a­ratism. They have shouted “Re­cover Hong Kong!” and “Re­cover red lands!”

in the last few weeks.

The Global Times re­porters have seen el­e­ments in LIHKG and Tele­gram so­cial net­work plat­forms ad­vo­cat­ing se­ces­sion and op­po­si­tion forces have turned protests into a se­ces­sion­ist cam­paign.

Some young pro­test­ers have not read the whole ex­tra­di­tion bill but only cared about how to pro­voke the po­lice and es­ca­late the vi­o­lence.

Their ul­ti­mate goal was to cap­ture footage of po­lice en­forc­ing or­der and then ac­cuse them of us­ing ex­ces­sive force.

Separatist na­ture

Il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties such as tar­nish­ing the na­tional flag and de­fac­ing the em­blem prove that these protests us­ing the ex­tra­di­tion bill are ac­tu­ally a se­ries of well-planned separatist move­ments re­in­forced by for­eign forces chal­leng­ing China’s sovereignt­y over Hong Kong.

The end­less vi­o­lence that has harmed the po­lice and or­di­nary peo­ple laid bare for­eign in­ter­fer­ence, the ob­servers said.

The essence of Hong Kong un­rest is a West-led color rev­o­lu­tion, sev­eral ob­servers told the Global Times in in­ter­views.

Song Luzheng, a re­search fel­low at the China In­sti­tute of Fu­dan Univer­sity in Shang­hai said that there is no deny­ing that smear­ing and in­sult­ing the na­tional flag and em­blem in Hong Kong has two clear mean­ings: chal­leng­ing “one coun­try, two sys­tems” and pro­mot­ing sep­a­ratism.

Those rad­i­cal and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists who chal­lenge China’s sovereignt­y in Hong Kong and spread “Hong Kong-se­ces­sion” in the city are not just pro­test­ers, they are sep­a­ratists whom need to be cracked down upon with no mercy, Song said.

Both the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment and the li­ai­son of­fice of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Hong Kong strongly con­demned the fling­ing of the Chi­nese na­tional flag.

Chal­leng­ing sovereignt­y and “one coun­try, two sys­tems” was ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able, the gov­ern­ment said.

For­mer Hong Kong chief ex­ec­u­tives con­demned the chal­leng­ing of China’s sovereignt­y in Hong Kong.

There could be no com­pro­mise with those who chal­lenge China’s sovereignt­y and dam­age the city’s sta­bil­ity, said for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Tung Chee­hwa.

Le­ung Chun-ying, an­other for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive and Car­rie Lam’s pre­de­ces­sor, posted on his Face­book page Satur­day that he would pay HK$1 mil­lion ($176,000) to any res­i­dent who can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest of rad­i­cal pro­test­ers who threw the Chi­nese na­tional flag into the sea.

Se­ces­sion­ism un­ac­cept­able

Dur­ing the demonstrat­ions, some pro­test­ers waved the na­tional flags of the UK and the US, and even the colo­nial flag, which was erected on the podium when they stormed the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil com­plex on July 1.

Victor Chan Chi-ho, 33, vice chair­man of the Hong Kong As­so­ci­a­tion of Young Com­men­ta­tors, told the Global Times that “the pro­test­ers have changed their or­di­nary pur­poses al­ready.

Anti-ex­tra­di­tion bill is no longer their goal after the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment an­nounced the death of the bill which ac­tu­ally re­sponded to the pub­lic al­ready.”

“Now the sit­u­a­tion shows that their real goal is to chal­lenge Bei­jing, which will def­i­nitely harm the na­tional se­cu­rity and sovereignt­y and it will be­come a huge dis­as­ter for Hong Kong’s de­vel­op­ment.”

Some law­mak­ers from op­po­si­tion groups have been in­cit­ing vi­o­lence by prais­ing the so-called “war­rior spirit” of rad­i­cal pro­test­ers.

“Years ago, when we saw young peo­ple gear­ing up and com­ing out, many were furious,” Clau­dia Mo, a pro-democ­racy leg­is­la­tor, was quoted as say­ing in me­dia re­ports on Satur­day.

“But now ev­ery­thing is changed. Hong Kong peo­ple should stand with these young peo­ple.”

Vi­o­lence is vi­o­lence, and Mo, and other pro-democ­racy law­mak­ers, are urged to say no to the vi­o­lence and se­ces­sion­ists, as trash­ing “one coun­try, two sys­tems” will lead Hong Kong to nowhere.

Che­ung Yuen Sum, con­vener of Hong Kong-based think tank IDEA4HK, told the Global Times on Sun­day that through ob­serv­ing these il­le­gal and vi­o­lent ac­tiv­i­ties, it is not hard to find out that the protests are not peace­ful and law­ful any­more.

“Fewer and fewer Hong Kong res­i­dents still sup­port or show sym­pa­thy for these pro­test­ers,” Che­ung said.

Che­ung noted the peace­ful and rea­son­able peo­ple are now rarely seen at protests, whereas those rad­i­cal vi­o­lent peo­ple who re­main protest­ing and keep act­ing il­le­gally are “mostly Hong Kong sep­a­ratists and anti-main­land ex­trem­ists.“

Tang Fei, a mem­ber of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong & Ma­cao Studies, said if demon­stra­tors fol­lowed the ap­proved route to voice their opin­ions and did in­volve them­selves in se­ces­sion­ist ac­tiv­i­ties, they would “draw a fine line with se­ces­sion­ist forces.”

“If the op­po­si­tion forces con­tinue to col­lude with se­ces­sion­ists, they should be ripped of elec­tion rights,” Tang said. “If they take part in se­ces­sion­ist ac­tiv­i­ties and at the same time par­tic­i­pate in elec­tions, this vi­o­lates the ba­sic prin­ci­ple of a demo­cratic so­ci­ety ruled by law.”

Hong Kong and Tai­wan se­ces­sion­ists use “de-sini­ciza­tion to curry fa­vor,” Tang noted.

Pro­test­ers use a home­made sling shot to shoot bricks to the Tse­ung Kwan O po­lice sta­tion in Hong Kong on Sun­day.

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