It was June 12 when Hong Kong police started attacking demonstrators with batons, rubber bullets, and beanbags. Many are wondering why the Hong Kong government is in such a rush to push the extradition bill that it would resort to violence to suppress protesters? People are wondering what will happen next in Hong Kong?
Simon Lau, a senior media professional and former Hong Kong central policy unit consultant, accepted an interview with the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times, and provided an in-depth analysis.
Lau, who is familiar with government regulatory policies, pointed out that the excessive use of force by Hong Kong police is obviously much more evident now than during the Occupy Movement five years ago. The strong-arm tactics are directly related to changes in how Beijing is governing and controlling Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Now Directly Under the Rule of Beijing
According to Lau, starting in the British colonial period until the Tung Chee-hwa era, Hong Kong always had a set of effective and comprehensive advisory mechanisms, referred to as the “executive-dominant system.” However, after Carrie Lam took office as Hong Kong’s chief executive, the system was replaced by “chief executive dictatorship.”
“For example, in the past, when a legal bill needed to be amended, it passed through several procedures including reviews by the Hong Kong Law Committee, the Hong Kong Bar Association, and the Law Society of Hong Kong before it could be introduced. But presently, that is not the case at all. Hong Kong government directly announces a bill to the public. Although Hong Kong did not have real democracy in the past, there was a set of procedures for internal auditing and consultation. The current attitude of Hong Kong Government tells us the previous mechanism has been completely changed. Nowadays you don’t know where the government policies come from at all,” Lau explained.
He believes that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is actually directly governing Hong Kong, and Lam is an executor who has to comply with every word from Beijing. Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong also controls the parliamentary procedure. The order to suppress the demonstrators with violence must have come from the same office.
“In addition to the extradition bill, the East Lantau Metropolis project (one or more artificial islands) is another example. We have no idea where it came from. After the government announcement, even the director of the Development Bureau did not know how to address reporters’ questions, such as financial arrangement or details of city planning. Obviously, the policies are not originated in Hong Kong based on local people’s will, but are forcibly imposed from Beijing’s central government,” Lau said.
The Cause: Beijing’s Political Crisis
Athough Lam always claimed that the proposed amendments to the extradition law were initiated by Hong Kongers and denied she is following instructions from Beijing, Lau said obviously Lam is following an irrefutable order from the Chinese regime.
“This is because it also involves the China-Taiwan relationship as well as China’s relationship with the international community. Without authorization from China’s central government, she absolutely does not have the authority to do so,” he explained.
Lau believes that the CCP’s push for the extradition bill stems from its fear of a looming financial crisis. As many corrupted officials are escaping from China with huge sums of money, Beijing aims to block this loophole with the new law. From a broader perspective, the Chinese regime wants to take away Hong Kong’s freedom to make it easier for Beijing to start a battle with the Western democratic countries.
“Hong Kong has always enjoyed a close connection with the West, including our political system, rule of law, and Hong Kong’s position as an international hub. But that’s what the Chinese communist regime hates to see. The CCP doesn’t really want to ruin Hong Kong, it wants to cut off the connection between Hong Kong and the international community and deprive Hong Kong of its freedom of press.”
Hong Kong Police Likely Directly Under the Command of Beijing
Lau suspects that the authorities decided ahead of the demonstration that excess force would be used to suppress the protestors when necessary.
He pointed out that the police started to beat protestors with batons on the evening of June 9 when over one million people marched on the street to protest the extradition bill.
“According to police guidelines, they must use pepper spray and tear gas before they can strike protestors with batons,” Lau explained. Although police chief Stephen Lo claimed that police threw spears into the crowds first, no one has seen this on any videos taken during the encounter.
“TV footage only showed that police shot unarmed protesters in the head with rubber bullets at close range, and kept beating protestors with batons. Oftentimes, about ten police beat one unarmed protestor who was already retreating. Police resorted to the most violent actions within such a short time. That’s why I believe Beijing has given an irrefutable order that the demonstration must be nipped in the bud. That is, the police must use the worst possible violence to prevent another Occupy Movement.”
Lau added that many dictatorships routinely use this method—severe violence during a crackdown within a very short time frame and then accuse the demonstration of being a riot. This then allows the police to use violence to further disperse the demonstrators.
Many demonstrators and witnesses suspect that Chinese armed police or army soldiers were deployed to Hong Kong to suppress the protestors because Hong Kong police rarely act so cruelly.
Lau believes that at least this time, the commander of the police wasn’t a Hong Kong police officer. “Because the police force in Hong Kong is very experienced in handling mass movements, it’s impossible that a Hong Kong police officer would violate the internal guidelines, or even an international convention, and shoot protestors in the head. Even if you use rubber bullets, shooting the head may cause deaths,” said Lau.
He calls on Hong Kong’s business circle to use their votes to resist the extradition law. “Hong Kong’s young people risked their lives to resist this bill. Now the final issue is to use our votes to resolve this conflict and veto this new bill. Otherwise, in the future, for every political conflict, we will have to face the same situation as our fellow Chinese in the mainland—arrests, more blood and even deaths, as the Chinese government will always use state machinery to suppress any dissenting voices.”