New thoughts needed to end violence
Updated: 2019-12-04 07:35
With support from United States and United Kingdom politicians, the anti-China and anti-communist political forces in Hong Kong obtained an unprecedented victory in the sixth District Council elections. Just one week before polling day, riots kept escalating to a new high level, and three days before the election was held, peace suddenly returned to Hong Kong. There were clear indications that the six-month-long "black revolution" was the result of a rebellious plot orchestrated by its masterminds.
The ultimate objective of the "black revolution" is to seize the governing power of the SAR and turn Hong Kong into an independent entity. The objective is subdivided into three interim goals: first, to control the sixth District Council elections; second, to seize the majority of seats in the seventh Legislative Council election, scheduled in September 2020; and third, to dominate the Election Committee for the sixth election for chief executive in 2022, so that a member of the opposition camp will be selected the next chief executive.
One must admit that the first objective of the "black revolution" has been fulfilled. The opposition camp will certainly try to parlay its win into an attempt to achieve its second and third goals.
For two reasons, Hong Kong can enjoy only a temporary moment of peace on the days surrounding the District Council elections. Firstly, radicals who helped the self-proclaimed "non-violent" Democratic Party and Civic Party become the two biggest winners in the District Council would either be given monetary compensation or take another course of action. Some of them have been arrested, while those who are still at large will keep a low profile and lose their incomes. Secondly, once violence subsides, the "five demands" will lose steam in pressuring the government to yield to rioters' demands. Therefore, the most pressing task for Hong Kong at present is to bring violence and chaos to an end and to restore order.
The SAR government and police have failed to quell violence and restore order in nearly half a year. The opposition camp's new strategy of allowing the radicals and non-violent protesters to work together seems to work for them, as suggested by the results of the District Council elections. Under this situation, the SAR government needs innovative thinking and new strategies to quell violence and bring Hong Kong back to order.
It must first realize that the "black revolution" is part of the US' new global strategy, which regards China as one of its main rivals.
As part of its strategy to mobilize the anti-China and anti-communists forces in Hong Kong, Washington invited leaders of the opposition camp to visit the US frequently. In addition to the US president, they were also heartened by other politicians they met on various occasions during their US trips.
In its 2019 annual report released on Nov 14, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission claimed that the relationship between the two countries was becoming increasingly confrontational. It put forward a list of tough measures against China. In Chapter 6 of the report, which touches on Hong Kong, the commission recommends the US Congress enact legislation stating that the special status of Hong Kong will be suspended in the event that Beijing deploys People's Liberation Army or People's Armed Police forces to engage in armed intervention in Hong Kong. Moreover, it recommends that Congress direct the US State Department to develop a series of specific benchmarks for measuring Hong Kong's maintenance of a "high degree of autonomy".
In a fast-track arrangement, the US House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Nov 19 and 20 respectively, just a few days before the District Council elections took place. This maneuver is equivalent to giving a real shot in the arm to the anti-China and anti-communist political forces.
The US' blatant interference in Hong Kong's and China's internal affairs has now come to light. The SAR government must stand firm and unequivocally voice its strong opposition to such intervention.
Furthermore, the SAR government must come to the realization that it must put in place new countermeasures to handle the increasing challenges posed by the opposition after the District Council elections.
With 17 District Councils under their control, members of the opposition camp are likely to politicize every community issue, creating as many flashpoints as possible for their maneuvers on the streets as well as in the Legislative Council. That has not happened when the District Councils were controlled by the pro-establishment camp.
LegCo is not supposed to deliberate on community issues. But with the fall of District Councils into the hands of the opposition camp, populism is going to deteriorate in Hong Kong. Previously, the opposition camp could only politicize issues under LegCo's work scope through its representatives in LegCo. From now on, they are likely to transform District Councils into another stage for populist stunts, exerting more pressure on the government.
From the first to the fifth District Councils, it was often the case that all 18 District Councils released a joint statement in support of the government on handling major political development issues. We can foresee that in the remaining term of the incumbent administration, it will confront lots of opposition from the District Councils, as 17 of them have fallen under the control of the opposition camp.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
(HK Edition 12/04/2019 page8)