Sunday, 29 December 2019

‘Let’s face reality, the protests have got to stop’

This is the photo accompanying the letter online. It’s a bit odd.
The caption says “protesters in action at an eatery, December 26”.
Though I can’t see any action. Just a guy sitting on a table
My letter was published in the South China Morning Post, today here
The headline above is what was in the print edition. The online headline version’s is ‘Why violent protests don’t stand to reason; look in the Basic law’.
The reference is to what the Basic Law says about democracy.
(Letter as submitted here).
ADDED: comments online, below the fold
I agree with most things said here. Rioters unrational demands (they are not above the law) and in a sense, they are actually ticking all the boxes of being a terrorist now. I've been saying that for months. However, I do think HK police do have a sense of humour, you need to watch the right videos or the pro police gatherings. What I see here in Hong Kong is how similiar all this rioting against the so called 'police brutality' etc is like those in New York City protests against police brutality. I really do suspect some overseas meddling for sure.
29 December
Rational arguments. You must be an economist. 

As mentioned in my other comments to @LoveHKNotCCP, I think this letter doesn't quite get it: there is indeed no "promise" or, at least, not one with a timetable by which it could be said that Beijing has violated such a promise, and hence to characterize its actions as violation of such is, indeed, an error of facts, and deals damage to credibility and thus the ability to gain needed allies and support. *But*, that doesn't mean it is not mentioned at all - it *does* say in Article 45 that it is an "ultimate aim". The timetable for it is not decided - it is fully open. Clearly, others now think that now is that time.
That said, the points made about violence are, again, fully on-point. What I would really advise to the protest movement is that they begin to adopt some harder principles. Yes, I get what they're saying about they "understand" the violence even if they don't directly partake in it - *but* I've also heard some say the attitude prevailing is to not only understand, but "tolerate". This is the first principle - that tolerance must stop. There must be a line you can't cross, and those who cross it should be ratted out and excommunicated. And a good line I think at the very least is, indeed, violence against civilians. (cont’d)
(cont'd) And if they want to say well it's a revolution, it's war, then I'd say to think about modern standards of the laws of war, and consider at least the spirit of the Geneva Conventions (iirc) and similar that have spoken on this subject. If the target of the "war" is the Government, then only attacks directly at Government forces should be "tolerated".
The second principle that I think needs to be adopted is a commitment to the truth. Again and again I've seen how there have been lines adopted that are, at the very least, things that seem like either speculative rumor (e.g. that increases in suicides during the time are actually murder carried out by a shadowy form of government operations), or worse, based on unquestioning acceptance of stories told by Western media sources like those regarding goings-on in Mainland China such as in Xinjiang, and by textbooks, like with Tiananmen which, in my own investigations and which others have now started to point out too, are based at the very least on unfair and distorted reporting. Yes, there may be things to rightfully take the Chinese authorities to task on but it’s not the black and white “ChiNazi” picture, either. There needs to be a commitment to be as critical of these external and internal sources as of Hong Kong government and Communist Party sources. (cont’d)
@mike4ty4 (cont'd) And the reason for this is, for the protest movement to truly be successful, and if it wants to paint itself as the “people against the government”, it has to make allies amongst “the people”, not to be pitting some of "the people" *against* other "people”. All the more when it comes to even some wanting to even chase a broader aim of some kind of political change across all of China. It has to engage with and take seriously how many, many non-Hong Kong Chinese people see the situation and their own government.
29 December
Now the people want universal; suffrage. The Basic Law in such a situation is quite irrelevant. Things change. If the government, which is supposed to reflect the will of the people, does not, then it too should be replaced. Ever hear of the Boston Tea Party, The French Revolution, The Chinese Communist Revolution, the transition to democracy in South Korea after protests and likewise in Taiwan? Now it is the Hong Kong Revolution of our times. Get used to it.
@LoveHKNotCCP Perhaps. But the Basic Law still is relevant *insofar as protesters cite it* as justification for various moves or demands. But yes, this point is valid too, but if the aim is to make a change in the law, then that should be made clear in the the rhetoric. That said, insofar as coming to the characterization of the law, the writer does get it right in saying that there is no "promise" that has been "broken" by Beijing, hence again, if such is used in rhetoric, it may be a lie (and thus damaging the effectiveness of the message). But, on the other hand, it *does* give the *option*, and suggests it would be desirable to have at some unspecified time in the future.