立場新聞 Stand News

An Open Letter to Fellow Protestors

2019/6/22 — 15:20

6.21 民間行動期間,灣仔警察總部遭大批示威者包圍。

6.21 民間行動期間,灣仔警察總部遭大批示威者包圍。

When we marched on 9 June 2019 we had a clear message to the HK Government - withdraw the Extradition Bill. When we protested on 12 June 2019, the predominant message to the HK Government was also clear - we were there to stop the legislative process for the bill. These messages on both occasions could be answered by a simple action by the government – by stopping the passage of the bill. In the end the government did so respond, and after an even bigger turnout in the march of 19 June 2019 the government made it very clear that there is no way the bill could be brought back to the legislature in its current form for quite some time, without proper consultation, and that there would be no deadline for its return. It was clear from the assurances that the government is fully aware of the public’s opposition to the bill and the repercussions if they were to try to legislate it hastily. That the bill was not completely withdrawn was probably the government’s attempt to save face for its ultimate proponent, and that some pro-establishment legislators were able to then make non-sensical remarks about re-introducing it after just a short break was either the usual sycophantic gibberish or irresponsible and deliberate provocation in an already edgy situation – neither of which deserve more attention than the words just used.

Which then brings me to the question about sustaining the protests at this juncture. Anecdotally lot of people who did not support the Umbrella Movement 5 years ago, took a clear stance against the government rushing the Extradition Bill this time. That number seemed to have increased as events that unfolded over the past weeks highlighted the many more ways the HK Government is chipping away at our civil liberties, aside from the barbaric attempt to ram through the legislature a bill that exposes all of us to the vagaries and arbitrariness of the legal system across the border that is untrusted by even (and especially) its own people. This includes: (i) maintaining a police force that harbours unhealthy hostility against the rights of citizens whom it should protect and serve, (ii) having a security chief who perjures himself at the legislature about unidentified law enforcement agents the use of whom suggests the disproportionate use of force was premeditated, (iii) the government’s attempt to undermine patient-doctor confidence by forcing the latter to provide potentially incriminating evidence obtained whilst carrying his/her more important, live-saving duty, (iv) having a security chief and secretary of justice who will deceive and mislead and stop at nothing to push through an extradition bill that could never serve the purpose our Chief Executive disingenuously cited as justification but that could have many other overwhelming and well-broadcasted and understood adverse consequences, (v) not having an institution operating a process that can be trusted to review wrongful actions of police and punish misconduct, (vi) the domination of the legislature by pro-establishment puppets who are utterly useless at conveying even the simplest of message from the people to the leaders in China (a  timely reminder of the problem with prevalent non-meritocratic rise of cronies of China to positions of prominence and influence in many facets of society), (vii) the continuation of complete absence of accountability at every level of the government, and (vii) that it is still dangerous business to be an activist for any cause that goes against the will of the government and that fair treatment at the hands of the law enforcement and even the judiciary is by no means assured. And the list can go on.

Fighting back on all these fronts are equally important and potentially directly more relevant to everyone’s daily life in Hong Kong. And once the immediate threat of the extradition bill has subsided, these are the things that still trouble a lot of people. But these battles cannot be won by march and protests. To the contrary, these causes will be lost if the support of the wider public is lost. 

廣告

I do not support those people who sit on the sideline and criticise the ones who choose to be in the streets protesting. A fair(er) society takes hard work to build, and people who sit on the sideline are possibly not doing their bit to fight for the fairness that would actually ultimately benefit everyone (except those in power now economically and/or politically, who stand to lose). But what is different this time is that more people are awaken to the other threats to our civil liberties. There should be better way to continue those battle-fronts than protests and marches – they take too much out of people but leave the government to respond in a way that would (in all likelihood) be unsatisfactory, and eventually the protests and marches will run out of steam and more people will increasingly tire of the disruption. 

It is time for the properly elected leaders in the legislature to step up.

廣告

 

Yours sincerely,
A. K. Y. Wong
21 June 2019

(A short bio: I grew up in HK and UK, I marched in 2003 against article 23, and took part in every march organised by representative(s) of the legal profession in the legislature in the past few years.)

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