Date
26 February 2020
The government cannot put a stop to the violence and restore social stability just by solely relying on police action, says the author. Photo: AFP
The government cannot put a stop to the violence and restore social stability just by solely relying on police action, says the author. Photo: AFP

How the ‘blue’ camp can turn the tide of public opinion

More than seven months into the civil unrest in Hong Kong, the war between the “yellow” and  “blue” camps appears to have ground to a stalemate, with neither side being able to gain an upper hand.

For the “yellow ribbon” protesters, many are beginning to doubt whether they will ever succeed in getting their “five demands” granted.

In the case of the “blue ribbon” bloc, who would still believe that the government can put a stop to the violence and restore social stability just by solely relying on police action?

And given the political deadlock, what can we expect to happen in the coming days?

Undoubtedly, the yellow bloc is relying on “hatred” to sustain the passion and momentum of the resistance movement.

As such, it will need more news about police brutality to fire up its supporters and fuel public anger against law enforcement in the run-up to the Legislative Council elections in September in order to guarantee a huge voter turnout and, hopefully, replicate its landslide victory in the District Council elections last November.

In the case of the blue camp, I believe that as long as they can avoid making huge mistakes and swiftly clarify negative reports thrown at them by the opposing camp to smear their image, the passion and energy of the yellow bloc would be eroded gradually.

However, even if the blue bloc is able to undermine the momentum of the resistance movement and prevent another crushing defeat for the pro-establishment camp in the upcoming LegCo elections, it will be an uphill struggle for them to win back the sympathy of the public as a whole.

That’s because of the widespread perception of police brutality, which lies at the root of the public resentment against the authorities.

As such, the blue camp must confront this issue head-on by holding police officers who have violated the law accountable and dealing with them in the same way they deal with rioters, or else it will never be able to truly turn the tide of public opinion.

After all, the struggle between the yellow and blue camps isn’t just confined to the political arena but is, even more so, a fight for the moral high ground.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 7

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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HKEJ Columnist