The hard core of soft terrorism in HK
Demonstrators in Hong Kong assaulted two men from the Chinese mainland at the Hong Kong International Airport late on Tuesday night. The victims had to be taken to the hospital to receive emergency medical treatment.
For hours, the defiant protesters detained and beat up a young man who they claimed was an undercover security officer from the mainland. Initially, they prevented paramedics from taking him away to the hospital even after he lost consciousness.
The demonstrators, as videos online show, tied the other victim, a Global Times reporter, to a luggage trolley and thrashed him after finding a T-shirt in his backpack with the slogan, "I love HK police".
The violent incidents occurred two days after the anti-government protesters illegally occupied the arrival and departure halls of the airport, leading to cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Judging by Oxford Dictionary's description of terrorism－unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims－Tuesday's violence at the airport can be termed terrorism. So can be the indiscriminate attacks on unsuspecting Hong Kong residents.
On Aug 5, demonstrators wearing black T-shirts and "helmets" with their faces covered put up barricades on major streets of Hong Kong, halting traffic in the global financial and shipping hub. And they prompted people to either join the protests or stay at home. Besides, they dismantled more than 200 traffic lights, which caused dozens of accidents.
Videos available online show many people who were stopped on their way to work accusing the demonstrators of violating other people's rights and freedom in order to achieve their goals.
The demonstrators first took to the streets in June, apparently in protest against the proposed amendment to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's extradition law. But their demonstration didn't end even after the SAR government withdrew the bill.
Last month, hundreds of demonstrators attacked the Legislative Council building and vandalized the LegCo complex. They even tried to barge into the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR, and defaced China's national emblem.
They threw petrol bombs at police and set fire to a police house.
Yet not all those involved in such criminal acts have been booked to face the law. Instead, many of them are roaming free in the SAR or have been released on bail by a court.
It is obvious that well-organized and well-coordinated parties are working behind the scenes to instigate the violent demonstrators. For instance, some media outlets in Hong Kong have been violating journalistic ethics, and playing politics rather than upholding facts. One such media outlet is Apple Daily, which deliberately ignores facts and, without any basis, demonizes the police force and eulogizes the demonstrators.
Some SAR judiciary members, too, have put ideology above ethics and justice, and spoken in defense of the protesters and the violence they have unleashed. Rather than demanding accountability and justice, they have joined the protesters in several demonstrations and accused the SAR government of "politically prosecuting" the demonstrators. They have simply turned a blind eye to the fact that the government is fighting crime according to law.
Besides, Tai Yiu-ting, an associated professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, instead of safeguarding the rule of law, has said the illegal acts of the protesters are forgivable.
And Leong Kah-kit, a barrister, recently claimed that "violence can solve problems sometimes", which is not too covert an encouragement to the protesters to continue the mayhem.
It is such inducements that have fueled the violence in the city. Claiming they are pursuing freedom and justice for Hong Kong people, the protesters have run riot in the city.
Stability is a prerequisite for economic progress. An economy, even a society, cannot progress if a group of people hold it to ransom by unleashing violence. And the fact that the protesters have affected the normal functioning of the SAR shows they are hell-bent on damaging its economy.
It's time the protesters realized that what they are doing, contrary to their belief, is not good for Hong Kong society or economy. It's also time the silent majority stood up and made its voice heard: that it condemns and opposes the mindless violence the protesters have unleashed.
The author is a Hong Kong-based commentator. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.