Radical protesters 'very small part': Hong Kong senior counsel

By Lu Wenao and Fan Lingzhi in Hong Kong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/21 21:49:16

Amnesty list a possible approach: HK lawyer

Photo: Xinhua


A senior Hong Kong lawyer called for peaceful and rational protesters to understand the importance of the "one country, two systems" principle and separate from radicals as soon as possible to protect the interests of the city and most of its residents.

Radical protesters only account for a "very small part of the protesters, no less than 3,000," Executive Councilor  Ronny Tong Ka-wah, also a Hong Kong senior counsel said during an interview with the Global Times on Tuesday. Tong said the radicals "think all Hong Kong residents stand with them, which is the biggest problem."

They "should be separated from most Hong Kong residents," he said. 

Although some extreme radicals called for Hong Kong secession during the protests, Tong said that they did not stand for most Hongkongers. 

"According to research, nearly 90 percent of Hong Kong residents support 'one country, two systems,'" Tong said.

"I don't think pro-secessionist radicals can get this."

Tong believed there must be some donors behind the group, organizing them and teaching them how to make use of public sympathy. 

"Every time rioters did something unacceptable to society, they found some youngsters to apologize," Tong said, "but the next day they would do the same thing again. It's a strategy." 

Julie Eadeh, the political unit chief of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, was photographed meeting activist Joshua Wong in early August, which Chinese mainland analysts view as evidence that foreign forces are intervening in the Hong Kong situation. 

"The US aims at taking advantage of the issue in trade negotiations with China," Tong said.

"Foreign forces believe that disarranging Hong Kong will be a huge strike against China but of benefit to them." 

Ronny Tong Ka-wah Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

As to those protesters who insist on the path of peace, rationality and nonviolence, Tong said that they should learn the importance of "one country, two systems " to Hong Kong and how violence was damaging the city. 

The protests that have lasted more than two months appear to be hurting the city's economy: Hong Kong's economic situation in the first half of the year was the weakest since the financial crisis in 2009, according to financial analysts.

Hong Kong's economy expanded 0.5 percent in the second quarter of 2019 year-on-year, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced Tuesday that the Hong Kong government would establish a communication and dialogue platform for talks with protesters and carry out measures to revive Hong Kong's economy. 

Tong said the platform could suggest that Lam make an amnesty list but only the chief executive could decide who can be included on the list based on the framework of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law.

Experiences might be learned from the French Yellow Vest Movement at the end of 2018, Tong noted. 

The French government held a nationwide debate to listen to different voices in society, which is worth mentioning for Hong Kong, according to Tong.  

Last week the People's Armed Police assembled for exercises in Shenzhen, the Chinese mainland city bordering Hong Kong. 

Most Chinese mainland internet users and analysts interpreted the move as a deterrent against the rioters.

To Tong, the move was not deterrence at all, but"preparation for the worst any responsible government should make plans for, and which nobody hopes to be implemented."

Tong was a founding member of the Civic Party, an opposition party in Hong Kong, but quitted in June 2015 after he became disappointed at the party's choice of path and shifted to the pro-establishment camp.
Newspaper headline: Councilor slams radicals


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