Hong Kong society choruses against violence escalation on National Day
People and groups from various sectors of the Hong Kong society have chorused against the escalation of violence on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
A fresh bout of violence hit different parts of Hong Kong on Tuesday, with large groups of black-clad rioters vandalizing government offices and public facilities, setting fires and violently assaulting police officers and innocent citizens.
The violence and vandalism paralyzed a major part of Hong Kong's public transportation services, and also led to the injury of dozens of people including police officers, journalists and ordinary people.
According to MTR Corporation, the operator of Hong Kong's railway system, railway facilities at more than 20 MTR stations were maliciously set on fire and 47 stations, almost half of the total, were forced to shut down due to the incidents on Tuesday.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, MTR Corporation expressed its deepest anger over and strongly condemned the illegal behaviors which put the safety of passengers and MTR staff at risk, and said the incidents had been reported to the police.
Various political groups and major chambers of commerce in Hong Kong on Wednesday also issued separate statements condemning the escalation of the violence.
The political group Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong said it was indignant at the rioters' deliberate escalation of violence on the National Day, which it said was in defiance of the bottom line of "one country, two systems" principle and trampling on the national dignity.
The rioters' radical acts, no different from terrorism, have seriously damaged the rule of law, threatened the residents' right to life and put Hong Kong in grave danger, the group said, calling on people from all sectors of the community to recognize the mobs' true nature of destroying Hong Kong and resolutely oppose violent acts.
It also urged the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region chief executive and government to step up efforts to curb the violence and chaos.
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce said in a statement it strongly condemned the grave violence and vandalism on Tuesday when many shops, restaurants and businesses were targeted and thousands of others were forced to close.
"Extremists' chilling disregard for the rule of law is not only affecting Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial and business center, but also crippling many small businesses and threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens," it said.
As violence continues with each passing week, the more damage is done to our society, our peaceful way of life, and the future of all Hong Kong people, it said. "We urge everyone to exercise restraint, take a moment to stop and consider what is best for the future of our community, say no to violence and start a peaceful dialogue."
The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong said the radical behavior of the protesters in vandalizing public facilities, government offices and shops and attacking police officers is a direct challenge to the "one country, two systems" principle.
"The demonstrations and violence in the past three months have not only undermined the rule of law, but also caused great peril to the livelihood of Hong Kong people and the economy. In these difficult times, our society must stand united in support of the SAR government and the Police force in maintaining the rule of law and rebuilding social order," it said.
Local newspapers also urged the community to put aside differences for the sake of peace and social harmony.
Hong Kong Economic Times said in its editorial on Wednesday that the community must strongly condemn the violent acts and regard curbing violence as the prerequisite for resolving the various deep-rooted problems in Hong Kong.
Many people and groups also expressed distress and concern over an incident on Tuesday in which a student was injured by gunshot when attacking the police.
Leung Chun-ying, the former chief executive of Hong Kong SAR and vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said Wednesday on social media that he condemned all those politicians who sought political self-interest by misleading, exploiting and inciting young students.
The recent protests have completely degenerated into blind riots, Leung said, stressing that the education sector should take responsibility rather than staying "neutral" or vague in protecting the youth.
The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers said in a statement it always strongly opposes students' taking part in street protests that might affect their safety and future, and condemned the groups behind that keeping inciting students to engage in violence.
Lam Chi-wai, the chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association of the Hong Kong Police Force, said in a statement that the rioters had no bottom line at all and launched violence and vandalism on the National Day. Police officers' firing warning shots and self-defense at a riot scene were in line with the police force's guidelines on the use of force.
Local newspaper Wen Wei Po said on Wednesday in its editorial that Hong Kong witnessed the most violent day on Tuesday since June when both the scale and extent of the mobs' attacks escalated and their means of violence became even more bloody.
Condemning those who have been inciting illegal assemblies and fomenting violence, the paper urged the police to arrest the "black hands behind the scene" so as to stop the unrest at its source.