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Tolerating HK riots violates the rule of law

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

02-16-2016 17:16 BJT

By Zhang Dinghuai, Professor, Deputy Director, Hong Kong and Macao Basic Law Research Center

In the early morning of the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, riots had erupted in the district of Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Only a few extremist politicians have raised a so-called "political defense" for the riotous mobs.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong society still kept its bottom line. The first batch of 36 people accused of rioting were brought to the Kowloon City Magistrates' Court in the morning of February 11.

Upon conviction, they would be liable to imprisonment for up to ten years.

Hong Kong is a society ruled by law. Hong Kong people regard law as a core value. Meanwhile Hong Kong is also a society with liberal characteristics as they enjoy more freedom of legal rights.

Freedom should be established on the rule of law, since too much freedom could lead anarchy. Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems," since its reunification with China 19 years ago.

The "one country, two system" policy is to get respect and inclusion of Beijing to Hong Kong as a capitalist local area system.

But problems have arisen, because some Hong Kong people do not respect China's social system, and constantly challenge the "one country, two system" policy. The riots occurring in Mong Kok is symbolic of that dilemma.

As a developed commercial society, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government should resolve street hawking problems. If not, this kind of misconduct in Hong Kong society could spark further riots.

How to quell the unrest has become a test. In the past 19 years, Hong Kong has seen a variety of illegal acts over the expression of political aspirations.

The results are usually "reducing major issues to minor ones, and minor issues to naught." Based on so-called "political considerations," the justice department is usually lenient to deal with such issues.

Mong Kok mobs' "performance" during the riots is just a sequence of such leniency.

In a free society, expressing political aspirations is justified. But it must be limited in a proper degree, for freedom should correspond with universal social forces.

Criminal acts during riots may express political demands, but the means they use are far beyond the general limits of social forces, and cause tremendous harm.

Hong Kong Courts at all levels are made up of judges, who as "people," have their own political leanings. If they adopt a tolerant attitude to such riots, it may lead to people's contempt for the rule of law in the future.

Political aspirations cannot be solved with violent means, not to mention Hong Kong's democratic political development— Beijing has an open attitude about it.

Hong Kong's political development must be promoted by the Basic Law (in line with the practical and progressive Hong Kong development).

Democracy is not perfect, if we do not follow the above mentioned two principles, democratic development in Hong Kong will be an even bigger problem.

The Mong Kok riots are criminal offenses with political demands. Hong Kong judges are clear about that.

If they continue on with "political consideration" thought, dealing with such major criminal offenses with a tolerant attitude would only have an "indulgent" effect that could pose a potential danger to Hong Kong's rule of law.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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