Riot may spell end of radicalism in HK

Updated: 2016-02-20 09:17

By Zhou Bajun(China Daily)

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Riot may spell end of radicalism in HK

An injured TV journalist, center, is helped by his colleague and a riot policeman after being hit by a stone thrown by a protester onto his face during a clash at Mong Kok district in Hong Kong, China, Feb 9, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Lao Tzu (about 571 - 471 BC), the Chinese thinker best known as the father of Taoism, famously said more than 2,000 years ago that when someone is mad beyond reason it means that person's days are numbered. Herodotus (484 - 425 BC), a celebrated ancient Greek historian, also stated that the god Zeus always made a man go mad before banishing him to the underworld. It has been over two millennia since these wise men lived, but mankind has seen their wisdom proved countless times.

On the night of Feb 8, which was the first day of the Year of the Monkey, a riot broke out in the Mongkok area of Hong Kong. It lasted until the small hours of the following day. The incident will be remembered in Hong Kong history as further proof of what Lao Tzu and Herodotus concluded more than 2,000 years ago. This is because the separatist forces - a small but extreme faction of the opposition in the special administrative region - showed that their days are numbered by resorting to such violent behavior.

In fact, the opposition already revealed it had the mentality of a gambler in the last quarter of 2014 with the illegal "Occupy" campaign. It used "civil disobedience" as an excuse for attempting to paralyze the heart of Hong Kong's financial services industry. Also known as the "umbrella revolution", this campaign was designed to impose a Western-style political system on Hong Kong which would give the SAR de facto independence. The "Occupy" organizers incited violent attacks on police officers by hundreds of young "occupiers" in the early days of the 79-day campaign. Most of these clashes happened in Mongkok. People should not be surprised if the mindless act of political extremism at the Lunar New Year turns out to have been the opposition's last throw of the dice.

"Occupy" was never able to win the support of mainstream Hong Kong society and eventually it fizzled out. The SAR government was then able to clean up the mess more or less peacefully. The fact it ended with hardly a whimper allowed some politically naive people to think the opposition had finally come to its senses. Little did they realize that if "Occupy" succeeded in anything, it was in motivating some factions of the opposition camp to head down the path of radicalism and extremism.

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