HK adolescent protesters reveal a breakdown in family and school values

By He Liangliang Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/3 18:33:41

Photo: IC

Hong Kong police detained 86 rioters carrying out acts of violence after violent protests on August 24 and 25, including a 12-year-old boy, the youngest person detained since the protests began in June. On Sunday, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for carrying two petrol bombs. The news triggered widespread concern throughout Hong Kong society.

The 12-year-old boy was reportedly detained for unlawful assembly. According to Hong Kong's Ming Pao, he was carrying a five-inch-long iron rod, spray paint, a helmet and gas mask at the time of his arrest. 

The boy was not just a curious bystander, but an active participant ready to attack police officers. Authorities contacted the child's father and asked him to come to the police station. The boy was later sent to a hospital due to illness, according the reports.

The incident serves as a reflection of the problems within Hong Kong's education system, adolescent development, and those among parents and teachers.

Since 2012, Hong Kong's anti-government social movements have been spearheaded by students, a phenomenon rarely seen on a global scale. The 2012 protest against the introduction of national education in Hong Kong was led by a group of students, and the 2014 Occupy Central movement began with student strikes. 

With the demonstrations and violence that first started in June, young people have been the driving force. Out of the 800 or so detained protesters, most are young. There were even some underage students. 

Many students reportedly boycotted the first day of the new semester. Most of them probably don't understand what they are doing. 

School-aged adolescents participating in anti-government protests is nothing for Hong Kong society to be proud of as it will only lead to disaster.

The school-aged protesters have been brainwashed by their parents and teachers. "No to brainwashing education" was the slogan of the 2012 protest. Obviously it was not a common expression used by adolescents, but rather something that was taught to them by adults. 

The slogan used now is "Retake Hong Kong" and was coined by Hong Kong opposition forces. I witnessed a young mother show her two young children the anti-government slogan while explaining that "police officers are bad people whose job is to beat up children." The two children seemed at a loss.

I also witnessed two young students hanging posters that displayed strong ideological ideas. I wasn't sure if they understood what they meant. 

Additionally, their inherent psychological adolescent rebellion was also a cause. The young children may consider the protests an "exciting" and "cool" activity and participate for the "fun" of it. 

Some teenagers have viewed the demonstrations as a real-life video game, and the restraint from Hong Kong authorities has inspired them to think that the police cannot do anything to them. The instigation from unscrupulous media outlets has provided further encouragement. The courts are unable to apply adult sentencing standards to juveniles, which has caused many young people to see this as a fluke.

Most Hong Kong teenagers have not received a systematic education on Chinese culture and history from their schools and households. Without a full picture of China, they are easily instigated to take part in anti-mainland activities. Some of these young people have even smeared their country and called the police officers "dirty cops" on social media platforms. Such manifestations are entirely different from the "color revolutions" that have taken place in other regions.

An old Chinese saying goes "a son's mistakes should be blamed on his father's failure to teach him." The root of the problem among Hong Kong's adolescents can be found within their families and schools. Unfortunately, a few teenagers have engaged in the violent protests blindly. They will be taught a lesson for life.

The author is a commentator with the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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