Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Enough Confrontation - Time for Dialogue and Prayer

I read and re-read my previous post, A Tale of Two Governments on a Very Difficult Day, many times. I don’t think I said anything to suggest that I supported the pro-democracy protesters’ move to “occupy Central”. I was saddened, as any Hong Konger should be, to see the riot police’s beastly and almost insane brutality in suppressing the demonstrators, the majority of whom were peaceful and disciplined young people armed with nothing but umbrellas, rain coats, and goggles. I thought the violent forces exerted by the Hong Kong police were excessive and unnecessary; and the tactics used provocative and miscalculated. In my article, I contrasted the Hong Kong government’s shameful and less than rational behavior on Sunday with the caring behavior exhibited by the Japanese government on the very same day in dealing with the Mount Ontake emergency.

The next day, the government of Hong Kong obviously woke up to realize its stupidity and quickly softened its approach. But the damage had been done and the horrifying news spread the world over. The iron-fisted strategy backfired: hundreds of thousands of protesters angered by the government’s shocking brutality came out in full force to occupy every important business or commercial district of Hong Kong one can think of: Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, even Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Condemnation of the Hong Kong government's shameful behavior against its own citizens came one after another from the various democratic countries.

Let's be clear, I am not in favor of “Occupy Central”. No question it’s illegal, as civil disobedience always is. But in the civilized world, a parent is not allowed to act against his/her children in a violent manner just because they are disobedient. Similarly, a government should not use excessive force to curb a peaceful protest of its citizens, especially the young generation who are our future.

My heart is bleeding as the confrontation between the two camps continues to escalate. This morning I heard that the pro-democracy camp gave the government of Hong Kong until Wednesday to respond to its demands. Not a wise move. The protesters should understand that their message had been sent; it was loud and clear. The beast is hurt; but it's dangerous to back it into a corner. Let’s pray that the two camps will soften their confrontational attitudes and a peaceful negotiation will quickly ensue.

11 comments:

  1. Sharing the following which I have received today. I have been watching Live HK TV news for the past few days and I do believe what the Christian police said in his article below.

    A sharing from a Christian Officer: 這是小弟在928當值後的感想。

    經過昨天整日整夜的工作,很想與大家分享我的感受。

    首先,我絕對認同大部份示威者是和平及有理性的,亦很想向那些為我們擋下擲過來的水樽,那些堅持和平信念且力竭聲嘶去叫人保持和平理性,及那些擋在我們面前,勸止示威者的恣意辱罵的市民示威者,表達衷心的謝意。

    我昨日原被指派到添馬路政總的出入口作人群管理,在那裏的人很和平,為他們的理想靜靜的坐下來。其後,約下午三時左右,因添美道/夏慤道有市民激烈的衝擊警方防線(即後來大部份人士聚集的地方),我們一隊約35人被指派到那裏保衛我們的防線。

    路途中,見到金鐘的夏慤道已聚集了至少幾千人,而到那防線時,見到有示威者帶了口,眼罩,亦用保鮮紙遮蓋作雙重保護,我知他們已作出過衝擊。我們馬上作出支援,我站在最前線隔著鐵馬,並拿著長盾牌,以防止示威者越過我們的防線。

    我在最前線,見到他們退到鐵馬1,2米外,我預知他們又再準備衝擊,而我的上司亦有此感,便拉起警告旗,用擴音機不斷警告停止衝擊。可惜,某部份示威者不理警告,多次作出衝擊,我們,包括我亦多次向衝擊者施放胡椒噴劑。不過,因他的裝備,胡椒噴劑起不了效果, ;他們返回後處,抹了抹又再回來。在不斷的警告以及使用胡椒噴劑的情況下,示威者仍作出衝擊,直至有一次,示威者將在我之前的鐵馬舉至腰間與我們角力,防線就要失守了。

    後果會是怎樣?被舉高的鐵馬或會傷害到我們或示威者,又或者在防線失守後,人群會從一個小缺口湧入,他們或會被倒下的鐵馬絆倒產生危險。當我覺得無能為力的時候,便聽到一聲爆響,並見手擲催淚彈擲到我前面的衝擊者處。之後,在我之前的人群四散,換了一刻的& #24179;靜,隨之而來的便是水樽空襲,這些水樽擊中警車使警車損毀,也擊中我們同事的身體。這些水樽可能是出自不和平的示威者,也可能是來自無辜受到催淚煙的示威者。

    我不能想像會有什的後果。可幸的是有示威者向擲出水樽的方向舉起雙手,示意叫擲水樽的停止,也有市民跳起及用手為我們擋開水樽。很感激他們和平理性的行為,再次致謝。

    其後黎智英,陳淑莊,李華明等到了我們的防線前,用擴音機呼籲市民冷靜(當然也對我們遣責一番),其後我們的防線得以保衛, 我們亦留守在那裏,而防線沒有再被衝擊。

    之後,我們知道有多處地方也被衝擊,並擲出手擲催淚彈,情況或者與我先前一樣。

    我不知道高層的想法,我估計他們因多處曾受衝擊,且人群聚集在夏慤道所有行車線,交通被癱瘓。所以他們決定了用防暴隊去清場(但用的只有手擲催淚彈及防暴槍發射的催淚煙),我見防暴隊由夏慤道(金鐘向上環方向推進)行去,不斷發射催淚彈,將人群驅散。當然& #65292;效果並不理想,人群並沒有散去,亦引起一陣抗議及指責。

    清場不成功,人群依然聚集,但大致也是和平理性的。我依然留守在原處,累,餓,被奚落恥笑和侮辱。我只能罵不還口,緊守自己的崗位。期間,我聽到有團體及一個自稱是黃洋達的人分別用擴音機指稱警方使用了橡膠子彈去傷害示威者(其實實情並沒有),作出了譴責& #65292;又牽動了本來平靜的示威者的情緒,我們又捱罵。

    稍有休息時間,見到whatsapp好多謠言,如有解放軍坦克入港,懲教消防加入清場,甚至有人說零晨十二點不離開的視為暴徒,會以武力清場。

    在崗位期間,曾多次聽到有同事的警車被市民圍困,要其他的同事去營救。到零晨兩點左右,我便親眼目睹某部份示威者的行為。

    當時,我又從通訊機得知有同事的警車在夏慤道的警察總部外被圍果,且見到有人在天橋(夏慤道警察總部外的天橋)上向下擲下水樽。其後,見到有同事營救,並擲出手擲催淚彈驅散示威者,解救了同事。但換來的是群眾一浪接一浪的口號,指警察濫用暴力,以及可恥。< /font>

    那時,我按著我身旁同事的肩膞,與他們一同承擔市民的指責。我對長時間工作,沒有預期
    的下班時間,肚餓以及接受指責辱罵。我沒有怨恨,真的。我只是抬頭看著天空,我在想,上帝是否在看著我們人民與人民互相的仇恨,祂會怎樣想呢?

    說了這麼多,我希望道出我的所見所聞,還希望提出幾個問題讓大家思考。

    1)有人說我們設立的警察防線扼殺了市民的集會自由,他其實可以從其他地方進入防線後設立的示威區。若果是你,你會否衝擊?

    2)對著一些不理會警告,定意要衝擊警方的人,你會怎樣做?你要考慮的東西是,不能即時拘捕他,因主要目的是防守,以及人手不足,又不能走出防線去捕捉他,也要制止他的衝擊,但又不想令他受傷,而你手中有胡椒噴劑(但沒效果),警棍以及手擲催淚彈,手槍。我 不是給你限制,實際上,我們只有這些東西,你會如何選擇?還是有其他的方法?

    3)接上題,如何平衡那些和平與不和平示威者聚集在一起的處理方法?你認為,和平示威者是否需要承不和平示威者帶來的後果?

    4)最爭議的問題?若有混亂或有某些示威者施以暴力,有否需要清場?

    可能各人有各人心目中的答案。這些問題亦令我深思的問題,奈何我不是決策者,我只能將我的忐忑,不安與難過交給主耶穌。

    最後,給某些示威者的話:

    我專重你們遊行示威的權利,我明白你的角色。但你們有否專重我們?有否明白我們的角色?

    我著起制服,便是一個專業的警務人員。就像醫生一樣,醫生不會不救人或選擇救人,甚至對十惡不赦的人不作出施救。這便是專業。你們叫我們罷工,辭職或取病假或過來你的地方,這是侮辱我們的專業,亦都侮辱了你自己,因為你為著你個人的目的,已容不下別的聲音& #21450;理念。

    我明白你們的角色,我明白你的理念,但抱歉我不會站在你的角色。但請不要在遊行示威時向我質疑及挑釁,因為你說什麼罵什麼,我亦只能有口難言,罵不還口。

    請你明白警察的角色,我們不是你的敵人,或不要將你的理念強加在我身上,我不接受就當我是敵人。

    請不要要求我在迫不得已向你噴發胡椒噴劑時,故意噴在你的胸口處。因為我若不制止你,對我,我同事及其他市民會有危險。

    請不要對我說,你們的角色有思想,我們的角色沒有思想。

    請不要對我說,你們是滿腔熱誠有理想,我們是冷血無情沒理想。

    請不要對我說,你們有良心,我們埋沒良心。

    請不要說你的角色是人,我的角色是狗。

    請不要盡信謠言,用耳朵去判斷事件。

    最後,請你不要因為我們的角色不同而辱罵我,甚至侮辱我的家人。

    對於我而言,你們的說話不能傷害我,因為我的難過與不安已轉交了主耶穌。但我為我的同事感到憂心,他們內心有很多負面情緒,甚至怨恨。因為有很多我們受到的冤屈,永遠也不會被報導,而且他們面對上述的說話,只能啞口無言,有苦自己知。救主憐憫,叫平安喜樂& #33853;在各人的心上。

    以上是我個人的經驗與感想,謝謝各位耐心的細看。也很感謝各弟兄姐妹支持和鼓勵,叫我感到主愛滿神家,謝謝各位。

    Unquote

    Mike


    ReplyDelete
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    1. Dear Mike,

      Thank you for your comment. I published the story you sent - a witness account allegedly written by a Christian police officer. Regrettably, you didn’t indicate the source of this story. I cannot say the story is necessarily a fake one, but I cannot say it’s necessarily genuine either. Unfortunately in this time of confusion when both camps are working to sway public opinion, we must use our discretion as to whom and what we can believe. I’m hearing stories that the more aggressive protesters who attacked the police were actually the government’s hired guns; gangsters and criminals also disguised themselves as protesters to do things for their own selfish purposes. As a result, I had to reject another comment you sent me in which you copied a long list of events and activities happening in the background that led to the formation of the leadership of the pro-democracy protests. It simply looked too fishy and one-sided to me.

      Delete
  2. Politics is not a easy skill for ordinaries. Both camps are lack of flexibility which will lead to a ALL LOSS consequence.

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  3. The article I earlier published is verified by one of CMCC parishioners. He is now in HK due to business (He used to travel between China/HK/Vietnam/Toronto).

    He wrote to me "The sharing from a Christian police officer is from old classmate of my friend from 8:00 am choir".

    Judging from my watching HK TV news for so many hours since the demonstration started last week, I would say that what the police officer said did match with what I have seen.

    Media seemed mostly criticize HK Government and stand on the side of protesters. This is what the Occupy Central and the Opposite Party would like to see. People in HK need to be calm, otherwise everybody is a loser. What I can do now is to pray for the people of HK and the Government. I have joined the 9-day Novena which started yesterday.

    Mike

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  4. I haven't been watching too much coverage other than the TVB and ATV clips. From what little I saw, I don't consider the force exhibited by the police excessive. The violent scenes I saw were, in most cases, provoked by some protesters. If the police need to restore order by clearing the occupied streets and areas, and the peaceful protesters refuse to comply, then force will be used and is justified.
    I'd like to revisit the issue of "peaceful" protest. If and when the protest is unlawful, the protesters would need to bear the consequences, and whether these consequences are excessive in force is a subjective judgement. While you might think that they are, I think otherwise. As parents, we won't put our kids in jail for criminal offences, but the government will, and should.
    The students have been warned repeatedly, and if they were do it regardless, then bear the consequences.
    If a kid were to peacefully walk over a cliff, and I repeatedly warn the kid that (s)he would either get killed or hurt as a result, and the kid insists that (s)he'll do it, then ......bear the consequences.
    The government is NOT going to budge. The instigators are about to turn it up a notch. It's only a matter of time before the front line, i.e. students, suffer consequences they're not ready for. Is anyone of them ready for martyrdom?

    Tony Chow

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    1. Before answering Tony, I must point out once again: like I said in this post, although I’m against the brutality of the HK government as exhibited on Sunday, Sept 28, I don’t support “Occupy Central”. I think it’s a “lose-lose” scenario for all parties concerned. I need to emphasize this again because people automatically see the protest sympathizers as supporters of “Occupy Central”. As National Post pointed out this morning, many HK residents came out to demonstrate on Monday not because they wanted to join “Occupy Central” but because they were angered by the government’s brutal and repressive tactics.

      On whether the violence was excessive – Judgement is indeed subjective and relative. Compared to Tiananmen or the brutality employed by many repressive regimes, this definitely was Mickey Mouse stuff. But by the standard of what the people of HK have experienced in the last few decades, what they’ve come to expect from its government or from any government in a civilized and democratic world, it was. This is why many HK residents were so shocked and angry on Monday and they didn’t hesitate to let the government know.

      “If the police need to restore order by clearing the occupied streets and areas, and the peaceful protesters refuse to comply, then force will be used and is justified… If and when the protest is unlawful, the protesters would need to bear the consequences…,” Tony said. The fact that an act is “illegal” or "unlawful" does not necessarily mean it’s morally wrong and the use of force to restore order is justified. History is full of precedents in which civil disobedience was necessary and righteous, though illegal: Gandhi, the Polish Solidarity Movement under Walesa and supported by St. JPII, the People Power Revolution of 1986 led by Corazon Aquino and the Archbishop of Manila, just to name a few.

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  5. Hi Edmond,
    I consider the desire (of HK people) to fight for the institution of 100% democracy a noble intention, but absolutely not a moral imperative. Had it been a moral imperative, then it would have justified their movement. For instance, if the movement were to make abortion in HK illegal, then it's justified. Lives, esp of those who can't defend themselves, are definitely a higher good than any monetary measure.
    Democracy in and by itself is not a moral good, it's just a tool to achieve potential good. From a religious perspective, the "success" of the Polish Solidarity Movement brought forth the moral decline of the Polish people, something lamented by JPII himself time and again.
    If you look at what's happening in the West, Europe is fast becoming caliphates. And that is going to happen without any resistance by way of democracy. Most babies born today in UK are named Mohammed, their numbers are outgrowing the whites and others by leaps and bounds. It's only a matter of time before democracy in Europe makes the entire Europe caliphate states.
    Democracy also brought forth evils such as same sex "marriages", legalization of drugs, prostitution, euthanasia, etc.
    Right here in Ontario, democracy became a joke earlier when the Liberals were re-elected, as a majority. Now their SAME budget passed right in the opposition's face.
    Am I against democracy? No! It's just not worth that much effort to achieve NOTHING. HK is made an example, supposedly a success of the dual policy system, for Taiwan to see. The government, the Central government, will not budge. HK is not independent, not from PRC, plain and simple.
    As I mentioned in a previous article, in Jesus' time the Romans were much more repressive over the Jews than PRC over HK, but did Jesus do anything political-wise? He didn't seem to care at all, as a matter of fact, he didn't do anything at all in terms of politics.
    On another tangent, it is not uncommon for democracy fighters to get hurt, jailed, and/or killed. Have the instigators made this known to the front line? Is the front line ready for the ultimate sacrifice? Does it matter which side is right, or wrong, when someone loses his/her life?

    Tony Chow

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    1. I agree that democracy is far from being perfect. In fact, the flaws of democracy are well documented in Catholic teaching. No Catholic theologians are blunter than BXVI in this regard: “The truth cannot be decided by majority vote. Either something is true, or it is not.” Even when there’s unanimity, “it is not consensus that offers a basis for the truth, but the truth that offers one for consensus” (J. Cardinal Ratzinger, Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith, p.257).

      There’s no question democracy is not the end all and be all governance that will solve all of our problems and make utopia an earthly reality. But it is one of the better forms, if not the best form, known and available to us. What’s important to keep in mind is that implicit in the nature of democracy, in the very heart of its soul, is the respect for human freedom. The spirit of democracy requires that everyone be given the freedom to express themselves freely, to be represented freely, and to vote for their representatives freely. From a theological perspective, respect for man’s freewill is the reason why God tolerates evil. As we all know, God paid a huge price to safeguard human freedom – the life of His only Son.

      So, full of flaws that democracy is, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. We must remember with deep gratitude and reverence the freedom warriors in human history, starting from the more recent ones like the Tiananmen students, Walesa, Mrs. Aquino, Gandhi, Dr. Sun Yet-San; to ancient heroes like Moses and Joshua.

      Delete
  6. Well said Edmond.
    If human freedom is deemed by the protesters so sacred, then this should be the defining reason not to occupy Central, since doing so is infringing upon others' freedom.

    Tony Chow

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  7. I agree with Tony more. The protesters now do not care for other Hong Kong people. Many people do not support Occupy Central and are now suffering. They are building their protest on other people's suffering, destruction of economy and stability. I don't see any LOVE of God behavior the Catholic protesters are performing! The more they go out to the streets, the more they will help provoking "riots" in this stage. Catholic protesters should be peaceful and stay in Victoria Park, Gardens and churches to say prayers and rosary to God and Mother Mary for help. I believe Mother Mary and Jesus will surely listen to our prayers. I sympathize HK policy and I have posted in my FB a couple days ago the following :
    我們大家都是人,無論你是那一派系,警察維持治安時都是人,他們執勤時要有專業精神維持法紀。他們工作時會有機會受傷,又可能会有生命危險!為何得不到專重?如果你是警察,是否有危難時就走?他們亦有家庭,親人会擔心,執勤時被市民欺凌,家人会痛心特別是子女!我們可否釋出一点愛心呢?
    What I saw from TV : The "mild" repressive action initially taken by HK police was a result of those student protesters trying to crack down police defence. If police didn't take action, what happened? No peaceful demonstration/protest can be seen, why? The "Occupy Central 3" guys knew what would happen and said they would ask and call to stop. What did they do now ?

    Mike

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    Replies
    1. The 3 instigators had promised that once they see violence and/or out of control situations, they will call it off.
      Instead of calling it off, they threatened to escalate.
      When you have these "leaders" not keeping promises, why is anyone still listening to them?

      Tony Chow

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