‘Voice of reason’ on the rise in Hong Kong, slams radicals

By Chen Qingqing and Wang Cong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/12 20:22:56

Silent majority in Hong Kong fed up with interruption in city prosperity

A street view in Hong Kong's downtown distict Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

After violent clashes on the streets of Hong Kong and political rants interrupted normal lives, a wave of anti-violence and rational sentiment has been gaining strength over the past few days, creating what many argue is a necessary response to radical elements that put the city's prosperity at risk.

Clearly frustrated by recent events, prominent figures in business and politics, and concerned ordinary residents in Hong Kong have become increasingly keen to speak out against the violent actions of secessionists that have disrupted their daily lives and threatened their future.

The growing anti-radical voices come at a critical time as radical protesters shift their focus from targeting government officials and police officers to bullying companies online - a move that will likely put a lasting dent on Hong Kong's long-standing image as a global commercial hub.

Online bullying 

In what appears to be a new front, radical protesters have moved to social media platforms such as Facebook to attack several businesses that have placed commercials on Hong Kong-based TVB, whose reporting they allege to be in favor of the Hong Kong police. Radical protesters have posted a list of companies with such deals with TVB and urged followers to troll the companies, forcing companies to take political sides.

The latest company targeted was German tissue company Tempo, which has aired commercials on TVB. Many protesters criticized the company on its Facebook page and demanded that it break ties with the broadcast company.

Some companies, including Tempo, Yoshinoya and Pocari Sweat, appeared to have bowed to pressure, with some suspending their ads on TVB and vowed to re-evaluate their marketing strategies.

But that has sparked a backlash across China, where many slammed the companies for supporting violence and secessionists, and some have even called for a boycott or other actions against those companies. 

The online bullying of companies by radical protesters has drawn the ire of the Hong Kong business community, with many calling such a move "poisonous" to Hong Kong's business climate. 

"Forcing businesses to take sides is hurting jobs and confidence in Hong Kong's overall economic growth," Peter Shiu Ka-fai, a Hong Kong lawmaker who mainly focuses on the wholesale and retail business, told the Global Times on Friday. "Such a violent behavior would destroy the overall investment climate and business confidence [in Hong Kong]."

Some business leaders have also warned that the secessionists' actions could hurt Hong Kong businesses. "Hong Kong businesses have always been yearning for the huge potential of the mainland market, and such confrontations cause pain among them," Ho Kai-ming, a lawmaker in Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Friday. 

Rational voices

Aside from the business community, more and more people, including celebrities, politicians and ordinary residents, are starting to speak out against the radical protesters and some have even confronted them.

Over the past few days, some Hong Kong residents fed up with vandalism in their neighborhood took matters into their own hands, tearing down posters on streets, bridges and walls.

In the southern district of Yau Tong, some residents clashed with protesters after the latter refused to leave the neighborhood, according to a video circulated on social media on Thursday night. When the police came to enforce social order, radical protesters began to insult the police. 

These developments mark a significant turn of events, where the silent majority, increasingly worried about the city's future, is starting to speak up, despite the risk of retaliation from radical protesters.

"We don't speak out like they do or aggressively defend the political views because we need to focus on our jobs, make money and raise children. The way they are acting is destroying Hong Kong's stability and putting the prospects of the city in danger," Ho Chi-wai, a bank employee, told the Global Times.

And although radical voices continue to dominate headlines in Western media, there is a growing audience  of rational voices, as reflected in the popular attention to a video of a top lawmaker passionately blasting violent protesters for bringing chaos to Hong Kong.

"Why would [they] disrupt Hong Kong people's lives?" LegCo Finance Committee Chairman Chan Kin-por, visibly angry, said in the video, which was filmed on June 14 and has gone viral on Chinese social media over the past 24 hours. "Frankly speaking, if Hong Kong suffers from turmoil, will you still be able to live like this?"

Chan also invoked his own upbringing to argue that hard work will pay off and blasted international media and others for smearing the extradition amendment issues and bringing chaos to Hong Kong. 

Many in China believe that Western media and politicians have been aiding the radical elements of Hong Kong for starting a riot in the special administrative region. US officials have publicly voiced support for the violent protests.

On Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry blasted US officials for interfering in China's internal affairs, after meetings between Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, who is considered a supporter of the violent protesters, US Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"Attempts to cause chaos in Hong Kong and disrupt Hong Kong's prosperity and stability will be opposed by the Chinese people, including Hong Kong people," Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the ministry said at a press briefing. 


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