Better for the people to forget and move on?

November 04, 2019 19:01
Protesters stage a sit-in at the Yuen Long MTR Station to mark the July 21 attacks. Photo: HKEJ

Multiple news reports, along with video footage, have indicated that the police were either looking the other way when the indiscriminate attacks against civilians at the Yuen Long MTR station took place on July 21, or going easy on the white-clad men involved in the attacks.

The attacks constituted not only a collective trauma of the people of Hong Kong but also their collective outrage, so much so that even members of the pro-establishment camp dare not take sides with the police on the issue.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in fact, apologized to the citizens for how the incident was handled during a press conference on July 26, only to retract his apology within a couple of days after the four police force associations had expressed their displeasure over his apology on behalf of the government.

It is absolutely ridiculous that our government appears to be a lot more concerned about the discontent among the police unions than the anger of the Hong Kong people.

Then on Oct. 17, Cheung said during a radio program that Hong Kong people need to move forward and stop dwelling on the July 21 Yuen Long incident.

In my view, Cheung’s call is simply an extension of the notion repeatedly pitched by mainland officialdom, the pro-establishment camp and the Global Times over the last 30 years that the Hong Kong people should stop dwelling on the June 4 incident.

Cheung’s words actually came as no surprise to me: in any authoritarian society, rulers would want to seize control of all memories in society so that they could decide what their people should remember and what they should forget.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 21

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/CG

Legislative Council member