Respect and hypocrisy go both ways

City talk | Susan Liang 8 Nov 2019

Ever since the violent protests started, life in Hong Kong has become less free, society has become more divided, and hypocrisy has been flushed out in the open.

Everyone I interviewed says the same thing: the government is inept, the protesters and police are violent and they feel caught between a rock and a hard place.

They are also afraid to speak out against the violent protesters as they watch on TV what happens to those who express a different view.

I see hypocrisy on the part of some lawmakers and some journalists.

The pro-Beijing party is now speaking out against vested interests, which they failed to do before, and the democrats fail to condemn the violence in the strongest terms as both parties have their eye on the coming district council elections.

As for the journalists, they keep condemning the police for calling the protesters "cockroaches" but fail to condemn the protesters calling the police "dogs."

They also seem to think that they should enjoy preferential treatment by the police just because they represent freedom of speech.

Yet not all of them condemn the criminal damage to the TVB vehicles, the recent damage to Xinhua News Agency's offices and attacks on shops, banks and MTR stations.

The police press conference on Monday had to be canceled due to six journalists wearing helmets with the words "Investigate police's brutality, stop telling lies."

I think respect has to flow two ways, there should only be one standard of behavior and the same rules should apply to all.

If they have a complaint about police misconduct, that individual, whether he be a journalist or an ordinary citizen, has to file a grouse with the Complaints Against Police Office and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Being a journalist does not give you special rights or special treatment - even more so in this case, when the Hong Kong Journalists Association refused to agree to have its practitioners identified by a proper system of accreditation.

I also watched with horror on TV when a person was assaulted by protesters and a big group of journalists crowded around the victim taking photos instead of stopping the assault, thereby preventing the police from coming to the rescue earlier.

In my opinion, owners of malls that do not want police to enter should ensure the safety of shops that pay them rent and come under their management.

Prominent lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun has criticized MTR Corp for not running the trains as before, which I find quite unreal when weekend after weekend there is criminal damage and arson committed by the protesters to some stations.

I find that on the whole, lawmakers have failed Hong Kong, and their words have served to pour oil on fire.

On the other hand, there are brave people like Kwok Ka-ki, a legislator representing the medical-sector functional constituency, who tried to save a mainlander from continuous assault at the airport, a brave Westerner who took away a metal rod from a protester who was inflicting damage to the MTR gate, and another brave Westerner who tried to remove the barricades set up by protesters on the road.

These are people to be applauded. But on the whole, the lawmakers are the ones that have failed Hong Kong, and so far none of them have come up with any useful suggestions, and that includes our chief executive.

Let us hope Tung Wah Group of Hospitals director Christopher Chuang Tze-cheung gets answers from the winner of his HK$10 million prize on how to resolve this Hong Kong crisis.

Susan Liang is a lawyer who likes to speak her mind on issues that concern the man on the street

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