Benedict Rogers on this week’s tumultuous Mother’s Day in Hong Kong:
It was a day when the Hong Kong Police Force fired pepper balls at shoppers, threatened a woman with a baby in her arms, pinned a ten-year-old child to the ground, chased a 17-year-old first aider and arrested a 12 year-old boy called Luk who was courageously and enterprisingly pursuing his dream as a cub reporter.
It was a day when journalists were assaulted en masse, when passersby were insulted and threatened, a woman was sexually harassed and detainees forced by the police to kneel and crawl on the ground.
It was a day when an elected legislator, Roy Kwong Chun-yu, was attacked by the police after he intervened to mediate between them and protesters. . . . It was a day when dozens of male police officers barged into the ladies’ toilets and hauled away a group of terrified, screaming women.
Breathtaking, really. And to think that just a few years ago Hong Kong’s police were revered as “Asia’s Finest.”
If the international community does not move rapidly — and robustly — Hong Kong itself will be killed. Hong Kong is an international financial hub that matters to the world, but its success depends on its way of life — the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a free press, transparency, accountability, freedom of expression, autonomy. One by one these characteristics that have made Hong Kong are being dismantled with alarming speed.
The rest of the world is, understandably, focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. Presumably that is why the Chinese Communist Party is moving fast, in the hope that its actions will go unnoticed. We must not let this happen. This cruel regime inflicted the pandemic on the rest of us as a result of its repression and mendacity. We cannot allow them to take advantage of the moment to destroy Hong Kong.
There are three steps that are urgently needed.
Smart, concrete suggestions. Not a bad start.