When Undereducated Police Teargas CUHK Head當毅進警TG中大校長
Originally published at 00:53 on 13 Nov
For the past 5 months, Hong Kong’s state of depravity had not yet hit rock-bottom, and the examples were countless, but three events of recent days—college students dying “by suicide,” the city becoming a battlefield, and the president being teargassed—are all strong instances of such depravity. The first shows that oppressors are already killing without the blink of an eye; the second shows that oppressors don’t care if the business sector dies; but the third, in which a peace-advocating, prominent figure from the generation above was shamelessly teargassed by a weapon-wielding “Yi Jin” cop, most symbolizes the violent, irrational, survival-of-the-fittest state to which Hong Kong society has sunk.
There’s a term in political philosophy called “state of nature.” Simply put, before humans established a civilised society, they lived among nature, where men had to compete with beasts and even fellow men. The fittest survived and the weak were eaten, and brute force decided everything. But once humans grew wiser and realized that they could eat more if they worked with their fellow men, communication and rules became necessary. Interpersonal relations and society were borne, thus requiring higher-level surveillance and rulemaking, in turn government and law, and discussions of knowledge and reason. But on the other hand, when a government does not carry out rules and does not protect social stability, the government no longer has existing value. Anyway, this isn’t the main point I want to make today.
What I want to say is, Hong Kong is steadily approaching a “state of nature.” A generation of prominent elites talk all day long about the society they have built and like to teach people how to succeed, emphasizing the need to study and negotiate and compromise, etc. Now, the President of CUHK, a well-read, successful citizen with social status, not wealthy but certainly with a number of employees, who has established so many things—sorry, in front of the “Yi Jin” police’s weapons, you are nothing. Speak to me about peace and negotiation and compromise? Why should I listen to you? Can a PhD block teargas? Can an annual salary of millions of dollars block pepper spray? Can social reputation block bullets? Eventually, we police can do whatever we want, the weapons are in our hands, so why should we fear your bite? Once tear gas is released, what saves you isn’t your degree, status, salary, reason, etc, but the gas masks in your student’s hands. Today, you are not teaching by example: you are teaching me that peaceful demonstrations are useless.
It’s too late already; even the university president has been hit by teargas, so I won’t bother him anymore. But where have the other prominent figures in society gone? CUHK has tens of thousands of alumni, and the 30, 40, 20-year-old ones that I know are all very nervous, but do not know what to do. As for the ones in the generation above, with the same prestige and status as the president, where have they gone? To sign more papers and joint statements? I only know that this morning there was another group of elites who signed a joint statement, asking the government not to postpone the district elections. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
There’s a saying in Germany, that when the Nazis were persecuting people, and you said nothing, you would eventually be persecuted yourself; I’m sure everyone has heard this story, and it does not bear repeating. How does it apply to Hong Kong? When young kids were beaten, you said nothing. When young kids were shot, you said nothing. When tear gas was let loose, and everyone regardless of age or gender was hit, you said nothing. When shopping malls, churches, and universities were ransacked, you said nothing. Do you believe your class of elites can really avoid it all? When the cops come to pilfer your homes, you’ll be out of luck; your only defense will be a mob of protestors pulling you away. You don’t think so? When the JPOA chairman is more cruel than the chief executive, when the bald sergeant (Lau Chak-kei) is worse than the chief secretary (Matthew Cheung), who is left that is not evil?
(Translator’s Note: ”Yi Jin” is a system in Hong Kong that allows underachieving or undereducated students to join the police force. It has been used to belittle and condemn the police. )