When words turn to vengeful hate 當言語變成仇恨仇恨時
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
(Please scroll down for Chinese translation 繁体中文请往下滑).
Developing the skills and confidence to assert myself has been a lifelong process, quite handy when faced with bullying, manipulation and other forms of attack. Like when Hong Kong people oppose the proposed government’s fugitive extradition ordinance, and are seeking democratic reform: they need to assert their will before a Chief Executive, legislative body and legal framework that does not represent them.
Communicating your feelings, and expressing your wishes are essential parts of being assertive. In Hong Kong people chose to vent their emotions and show their support for protests by writing notes and posting artwork on Lennon Walls that appeared across the territory. After several weeks, some people who objected to the aims and strategies of the local protest movement took umbrage to the Lennon Walls and vandalized them in clear shows of intolerance.
These shows of intolerance have not appeared only in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based Cantopop singer and actress, Denise Ho, is well-known as an activist who supports democratic reform. When speaking in Taiwan she had paint poured on her head by masked attackers. Lennon Walls at several universities there were ripped down and pro-Hong Kong students were attacked.
Media reports in Australia and several other countries have covered violence between nationalistic pro-Beijing university students and those on the side of Hong Kong. Time and time again heated debate has escalated into violence.
Back in Hong Kong protesters have had to contend with de-humanising name-calling tactics used by both the Police and an army of bullying mainland netizens hell-bent on bringing social media to heel. While police officers are often given impolite nicknames for doing their job, how about calling the demonstrators ‘cockroaches’? Abuse has taken a range of other forms. Some pro-democracy legislators have received death threats. Some have been physically attacked in the street.
Some individuals have made themselves very unpopular with pro-democracy activists due to their criticism of protestors, and the harmful actions they have initiated or been a party too: C. Y. Leung, a former Chief Executive of Hong Kong who now serves as vice-chairman of China’s top political advisory body – the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – wrote a letter in his official capacity critical of the assistant principal of a school; Junius Ho is a controversial legislative councilor from the northern New Territories who once insisted that Hong Kong independence advocates should be “killed mercilessly”.
It’s true that protestors have escalated their actions, and it can be said that this is in part a defense to very real attacks they have suffered, and also an attempt to bring attention to their highly publicized “5 demands”. Unfortunately, critics have termed what began as peaceful rallies and marches “riots”, and those who participate in them as “terrorists”. Rightly or wrong, in retaliation China has been linked with the expression ‘Nazi’.
The protesters in Hong Kong are faced with other more serious forms of escalation: people are losing their jobs for joining protests or for expressing support for the pro-democracy movement; the police have been given authority to use more lethal forms of force against demonstrators; and attacks on reporters are becoming more prevalent.
In recent weeks we have seen vigilantism by people on both sides lashing out physically at others for their views, dispensing their own justice. There is mounting evidence against the police for their indiscriminate and excessive use of force, sometimes attacking citizens at will, whether they have done anything illegal or not.
This escalation could be stopped so easily. It just requires the right words from Carrie Lam, followed up with the appropriate response to the will of the Hong Kong people.
Click here to see YouTube of what the Police called "yellow object" who are Christian volunteers helping to protect the children of HK who are protesters https://youtu.be/rwjGKt4EYjQ