Friends of Hong Kong from all over the world must have been taken aback by recent events in our city.
We have a reputation for being an extremely safe and peaceful city – and indeed we still are. Before 28 September this year, the last time the police had used teargas against local people was back in the 1960s when the Cultural Revolution in China briefly spilled over the border. (In the interim there had been incidents to subdue Vietnamese boat people who rioted when they found out the USA had compassion fatigue and wouldn’t take them as refugees, and again when visiting Korean farmers tried to halt WTO proceedings).
We are also extremely law-abiding, yet now we have a spectacle where tens of thousands of ordinary citizens have consciously decided to break the law by engaging in civil disobedience – deliberately blocking major traffic arteries – to express their displeasure over proposals for political reform.
The causes of this unhappiness are many and varied and to some extent only a symptom of discord in other areas. The situation is incapable of simplistic explanation, although some of our politicos are trying. I also have made several attempts in the various columns I have written, and you can enjoy them in the Op Ed section of this website.