Widespread denunciation of violenceTop News | Jane Cheung 3 Jul 2019
A wide spectrum of people yesterday condemned the violence of protesters who stormed and vandalized the Legislative Council on July 1.
The four local chambers of commerce issued a joint statement condemning the violence. University Grants Committee chairman Carlson Tong Ka-shing and chairmen of the eight government-funded universities said they were deeply saddened by the actions.
Six religious leaders also called on protesters to immediately stop their illegal activities.
The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Hong Kong Chinese Importers' and Exporters' Association said they backed the government and police to restore order to society and to prosecute those responsible.
Dennis Ng Wang-pun, president of the manufacturers' group, said protesters did not act in an impromptu manner and criticized them for destroying the building.
"Legco is a sacred place. The rioters' actions are obviously challenging law and order in Hong Kong," he said. "They are outlaws who greatly damaged the international image and business environment of the SAR. They must receive severe punishment for deterrent effect."
The Chinese chamber called on people to express their opinions in a peaceful and rational manner and to cut ties with violent protesters.
Chairman Jonathan Choi Koon-shum said: "The protesters perpetrated severe violence and illegal actions by blocking roads and destroying facilities.
"They threw corrosive liquid at officers, injuring them. Such actions have crossed [a red line] for freedom of expression. We express our utmost regret."
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce also condemned the violence.
"People have the right to express their views, but violence should not - under any circumstances - be condoned. We have to respect and uphold the rule of law," chairman Aron Harilela said.
"We fully respect freedom of expression and hope that calm can be restored by resolving differences through rational dialogue and constructive engagement."
The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong said: "In this difficult time, the association hopes people forget their differences and return to their senses in seeking a solution."
The American Chamber of Commerce said it respects peaceful demonstrations but it "does not condone violent acts causing physical harm and destruction of property as legitimate means to achieve objectives for the greater good in a lawful society."
Tong and the eight university council chairmen said in a statement that resorting to violence to express opinions is not conducive to solving problems.
"On the basis of mutual respect, we hope that all parties will stay calm and work cooperatively and rationally to resolve the current impasse," they said.
The heads of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Buddhist Association, Confucian Academy, Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association, Hong Kong Christian Council and Hong Kong Taoist Association called on people to listen to each other's opinion and establish communication.
The Law Society of Hong Kong said: "There is a line separating the lawful exercise of constitutional rights, as evidenced by recent peaceful demonstrations, from unlawful activity, which is and should be subject to sanctions and constraints," it said.