Would Gandhi Approve of Protest Violence?



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ORIGINAL POST

Posted by Ed 11 days ago
Gandhi’s real lesson for Hong Kong in the midst of protests: cowardice is worse than using violence
 
  • Why lambast protesters’ violence but not the government coercion that led to it, or the failure to punish triad attacks?
 
  • We should keep in mind that Gandhi promoted non-violence, but his greatest contempt was for those who cower in the face of injustice
 
Accusations of violence against both protesters and police have been a constant in the Hong Kong protests. Perhaps we need to turn to great minds like Mahatma Gandhi for some perspective.
 
First, the Hong Kong government should be held responsible for the escalation of violence after trying to push through the extradition bill that would have subjected Hongkongers to Beijing’s arbitrary jurisdiction. In early June, more than a million people took to the streets to express their concern, only for the government to proceed with a second reading.
 
The violence really escalated after July 21, when more than 100 armed men in white shirts attacked civilians and passengers in Yuen Long MTR station.
 
 
https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3039531/gandhis-real-lesson-hong-kong-midst-protests-cowardice-worse-using 

COMMENTS

Ed 11 days ago
Flash Back ... 2014.... hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters put forth their demands... and this is what happened:
 
 
Police fire tear gas and baton charge thousands of Occupy Central protesters
 
 The streets of Central and Admiralty descended into chaos last night after police in riot gear fired tear gas at protesters as the Occupy Central campaign, a movement that promised "peace and love", escalated.
 
 
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1603350/police-fire-tear-gas-and-baton-charge-thousands-occupy-central

Ed 11 days ago
According to an employee at Yoshinoya, protesters arrived at about 8pm and started vandalising the store, setting off the sprinkler system. Riot police arrived at the scene at around 8.10pm.
 
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3040101/thousands-black-clad-protesters-return-hong-kong-streets 
 
 
The police have really gotten their act together -- it took them around 45 minutes to make it to the scene when triads were beating the living shit out of people getting off the MTR train - but only 10 minutes to make it to Whampoa.     
 
Good to see they have their act together (sarc) 

Ed 11 days ago
Hong Kong Descends into Darkness  
 
As I have predicted... the protesters are now attacking people who clear their road blocks:
 
Hong Kong man hit over head with drain cover while clearing protesters’ barricades in Mong Kok
 
Victim, 53, suffered serious head injuries from attack by masked assailant in early hours of Sunday, police say
 
 
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3040106/hong-kong-man-hit-over-head-drain-cover-while-clearing
 
https://youtu.be/C-D2cg-zMRw 
 
 
A few weeks ago Pro-Beijing politicians were urging citizens to come out and clear the barricades.    And at the time I said this was incredibly stupid advice because it puts people in harm's way - and here we are.   

zzzzebra 10 days ago
“The violence really escalated after July 21...”

Meanwhile on Jul 1, this happened:

https://youtu.be/j9p4YpN0srE

Ed 10 days ago
Let's get the timeline right: 
 
There were months of peaceful protests in 2014 that were eventually broken up with TG and violence.
 
Some promises were made --- the protesters waited patiently for 5 years --- none of the promises were fulfilled.
 
Then in June, 1 million people were on the street.  Then soon after 2 million. Both protests were completely peaceful.
 
No response.  Zero.
 
I reference the American Revolution --- the Americans made demands on the British colonial government not so dissimilar to what the HK protesters are making on China (initially they were demanding fair taxation and representative government - not independence).
 
The British response was Zero.
 
I suppose if one were to look at the bright side of this, fortunately the protesters do not have guns.
 
 
That said, they have a different kind of weapon - chaos.   
 
Chaos ensures shops and restaurants have minimal business...  it has resulted in a massive 43% drop in tourists. Airlines and hotel are bleeding....   most businesses are bleeding.
 
I walked through Soho yesterday and lunch to see just how bad things are --- most restaurants were near empty --- quite a few were boarded up ---  I spoke to one manager and she said 'we are down 50% and are fighting to stay open' 
 
If this continues much longer (a couple of months?)  literally thousands of SMEs are going to tip over.    If we get to that point there will be a massive hit to the HK economy --  here are a few potential outcomes:
 
1.  Unemployment will go through the roof - unemployed people do not buy much so there will be more business failures
 
2.  Business owners and employees who have property mortgages will default --- property prices will collapse and we'll get a cascade of defaults
 
3.  Major corporations will be unable to service debt - they will default.
 
4.  The stock market will plunge.
 
5.  The financial system of HK will 'go Lehman' -- except that we are talking Lehman on steroids, heroin, HGH (think South African Rugby + Lance Armstrong) 
 
6.  The global financial system will be jeopardized. 
 
 
We can spend our time debating the actions of the protesters and the police -- but that misses the big picture.
 
There NEEDS to be a negotiated settlement to this.    The vast majority of HK people want a negotiated settlement.  The issues cannot be ignored or papered over as they were after 2014.
 
 
And the only response from the government is 'more community discussions'   
 
There is no need for 'community discussions'    All parties understand the issues.  The majority of HKers have essentially passed a referendum demanding serious change. 
 
And the response continues to be
 
 
  

Ed 10 days ago
As mentioned here last week, protesters at the daily Central 'hour of hate' informed me that the peace was temporary - if there is no proper response from CL forthcoming they would issue a deadline --- and if still there was no response --- the gloves would come off.
 
Apparently the deadline has been issued and the final date for a response is next Sunday.
 
 
Tick... tock....
 

Ed 10 days ago
Hong Kong cop who drove motorbike into protesters back on active duty as police chief rejects inquiry calls
 
 Hong Kong police have reinstated an officer who drove his motorcycle into a crowd of masked protesters last month, according to the police chief.

Commissioner of Police Chris Tang on Sunday confirmed that the officer had resumed active duty as the force continued to investigate the incident. On November 11, the officer was filmed veering his bike into fleeing protesters three times near a Kwai Fong shopping mall.

 
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/12/01/hong-kong-cop-drove-motorbike-protesters-back-active-duty-police-chief-rejects-inquiry-calls/ 
 
https://youtu.be/-J5smZrXawo
 
 
If a protester were to drive a motorbike into the police....  I wonder if he would be 'reinstated' 
 
 
Let's keep in mind here - the police are supposed to be the guys who enforce the rule of law... therefore they need to be held to a higher standard that the average person. 

broussymark 10 days ago
When a person is good, it is not necessary to follow 1 political party. He knows he is good enough to see various things.

Ed 10 days ago
'We Burn - You Burn'
 
 
City’s finance chief says months of social unrest have caused economic losses of about 2 per cent of GDP
 
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3040220/hong-kong-anti-government-protests-bring-biggest 

Ed 9 days ago
Police said on Monday that protest-related drama that occurred on November 11 where a police officer was seen ramming his bike into a crowd has been classified as a "traffic incident".
 
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1495622-20191202.htm?spTabChangeable=0
 
 
Take another look:
 
 
https://youtu.be/-J5smZrXawo 

zzzzebra 9 days ago
This is an attempt murder (no need to “think”):

https://youtu.be/mrhtA-K5_kY

https://youtu.be/baAm-vANGeQ

Ed 9 days ago
If you shoot an arrow at someone it is most definitely attempted murder.
 
If you try to run over someone on a motorbike I suspect that would be classified as attempted murder  
 
It's difficult if not impossible to identify the person who shot the arrow and hit the cop in the leg - however it it were he'd be in jail now.
 
The identity of the cop driving the motorbike is known. 

Ed 9 days ago

Iris Pang, an economist with ING Bank NV in Hong Kong, sees a 70% chance of a wave of store closures among retailers if spending continues to be weak.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-01/holiday-season-is-last-hope-for-protest-hit-hong-kong-retailers?srnd=premium-asia 
 
 
Let me make a prediction....   revenue is not coming back during this holiday because:
 
1.  Tourists will not return 
 
2.  Did I mention that some protesters have informed me that they have not been buying anything but food an 'absolute essentials' for months now -- and that large numbers of people who support the protests are passively protesting in this manner.
 
3.  The people voted overwhelming against the Pro Beijing party ---  they have had no response for the government regarding their demands ---  one could imagine that in addition to a resumption in violent protests (which will kill shopping in December) even more people may decide to protest by buying as little as possible in the run up to Christmas.
 
 
There are already loads of shops boarded up ---  so I assume by wave Iris means literally thousands of shops will close in January....  If so, I agree 
 
 
In light of this I struggle to understand why the government is continuing to fiddle as 'We Burn - You Burn' plays out before our very eyes...  
 
Surely Carrie Lam doesn't want to be living under a bridge eating boiled rat.... 
 
 

zzzzebra 9 days ago
ED

Does it make any difference if an attempt murder’s identity is known or not? Justice is “blind”.

This may be a shock for many people - one wise man told me its easy to triangulate someone’s mob signal to place him/her at the scene of a crime. Do you really think the police doesn’t know who’s inside PolyU.

Ed 9 days ago
Of course it matters - if the protester's identity was known he would be in jail.  And facing an attempted murder charge.
 
The cop's identity is known - he is back on the job....  
 
In what world does this make sense?    George Orwell would have a lot to say about this situation 
 
 
When the police are permitted to break the law with impunity --- that destroys rule of law --- it destroys respect for the police --- it leads to frustration and more violence --- and it makes a solution to the crisis that much more difficult to reach.
 
 

zzzzebra 9 days ago
Most of the rioters identities inside PolyU are also known and they’re also back on the street and back on their “job” again.

It makes tonnes of sense when they’re in the dock and charged with rioting.

Ed 9 days ago
1500 or so of them were arrested.    
 
Meanwhile a cop attempted to run down people with a motorcycle (attempted murder?) and he is back on the job.
 
You are ok with that?   

zzzzebra 9 days ago
I’m not ok.

But are you ok with 1500 or so of them walking the street? And what do you call this?

From what I can see, there is no more “attempted” murder by the traffic cop since he’s back on the job.

On the other hand, it’s safe to assume quite a few of the 1500 are back in the “attempted” murder business from what I can see. I assumed that you’re ok with this.

Ed 9 days ago
1500 were ARRESTED.  

zzzzebra 9 days ago
So justice should be one sided in your view?

Most of the 1500 “them” are released and quite a few of them are back in the “attempted” murder business over the weekend.

Ed 9 days ago
In any event --- the sides grow further apart --- and tens of thousands of businesses are on the verge of collapse.... 
 
And if this happens it's hard not to see how this triggers GFC 2.0....   
 
Remember Lehman?    Remember Greece?
 
Both of those nearly took apart the global economy.
 
HK is an order of magnitude higher than either of those --- HK is without question - Too Big Too Fail --- I cannot see how it could be bailed out if the economy were to collapse.   

Ed 9 days ago
In any event --- the sides grow further apart --- and tens of thousands of businesses are on the verge of collapse.... 
 
And if this happens it's hard not to see how this triggers GFC 2.0....   
 
Remember Lehman?    Remember Greece?
 
Both of those nearly took apart the global economy.
 
HK is an order of magnitude higher than either of those --- HK is without question - Too Big Too Fail --- I cannot see how it could be bailed out if the economy were to collapse.   

zzzzebra 9 days ago
I’m more than qualified to speak more than a few words on Lehman (as well as Dick and Hank) and the GFC by being at the epicenter and the eye of the storm.

You’re dead wrong if you think HK is the catalyst for a Lehman moment.

The root cause of the GFC was markets illiquidity and arrogance of two men.

Ed 9 days ago
How are you  more than qualified?    
 
 
The GFC was triggered by allowing Lehman to go down which resulted in all banks being uncertain as to which ones were solvent or not -- so lending completely seized up --- because banks were unsure if they would get paid back.
 
The GFC was halted when the Fed agreed to backstop every single bank and unleashed a tidal wave of stimulus to get the system back on track.
 
If Hong Kong tips over that means literally trillions of dollars of debt are not going to be repaid -and that will most definitely cause another financial crisis because the global financial system is interconnected ---  those holding that debt don't get paid.... 
 
I very much HK can be bailed out - that would mean the central banks making good on trillions of dollars of upaid debt. 
 
This is not Lehman - it is HSBC and dozens of other banks that are owed money - mortgages, personal loans, commercial paper --- again - trillions of dollars....   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

zzzzebra 9 days ago
I can make the claim to be with Dick before the SHTF, can you?

Clearly you’ve no idea how the financial systems work - so you think the HK borrowers would likely to default due to the current situations in HK?

Once again you’re dead wrong.

Let’s take a simple example of HK corporate bonds issuers - how many of them have HK as the only source of revenues? A handful, may be. The likes of Hutch, SHK, Wheellock have a well diversified business portfolio internationally. HK retail and related businesses are a small portion of their businesses.

HKMA is effectively underwritten by the largest foreign reserve in the world.

There may well be a catalyst for GFC 2 on the horizon, but HK is not it.

zzzzebra 9 days ago
PS. Why should HKMA “make good” on trillions of unpaid debt!?

Last time I check - HKMA doesn’t provide corporate guarantee, and their o/s bonds or borrowings are less than their foreign reserve positions.

Ed 8 days ago
Picture of To Kwa Wan arrest misleading: police
 
Police on Wednesday denied they had used inappropriate force while arresting some school pupils in To Kwa Wan in the morning after a picture seemed to show a plainclothes female officer sitting on the head of a subdued girl. 
 
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1495943-20191204.htm?spTabChangeable=0
 
 
 
 

Ed 7 days ago

How Undercover Officers in Hong Kong Launched a Bloody Crackdown

 
 
https://youtu.be/DoMO5o9z2WQ
 
 
The world is seeing these videos....   and support for the protesters is building.   
 
I returned to New Zealand yesterday and playing ice hockey last night.  Many of the players are aware that I have been in HK the past nine weeks and every single one of them I spoke to expressed strong support and sympathy for the protesters. 
 
Of course when videos like this circulate in Hong Kong, more people end up supporting the protesters - with some of them becoming radicalized...
 
 
The police should NOT be above the law.  If anything, they should be held to a higher standard than any other citizen in any country in the world.
 
When the police are permitted (instructed?) to carry out acts of violence against the citizens of a country, this destroys respect for the rule of law --- and it generally results in the citizens being willing to engage in extreme acts to fight back.
 
The slope towards anarchy is a slippery one... and the police in HK are throwing oil on it by frequently engaging in criminal acts.
 
This behaviour is reminiscent of Stalinist Russia... the Shah's Iran... or various other totalitarian regimes who resort to brute force and criminal acts when faced with dissension. 
 
It needs to stop. 
 
 
 
 

Ed 7 days ago
How Deep is the Hatred for the HK Police Force?
 
Rifts in some cases have pitted relatives, friends and even lovers against each other.

May, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym, is one of those who has seen the political become deeply personal, threatening to torpedo her February wedding.

“One of my closest friends — my maid of honour — told me that she’s thinking about not attending my wedding,” May told AFP.

“I never thought about losing my friends… It makes me very, very sad,” the 28-year-old said.

“It has made me realise how fractured the relationship between the police and residents has become.”

 Hong Kong’s police were once hailed as an example for other Asia forces, but they have become a target of intense hatred to many pro-democracy protesters who accuse them of excessive force.
 
Viral images on social media of police hitting protesters with batons have fuelled the anger. 
 
 
 
 
https://youtu.be/QhrZH2PLY6c 

Ed 7 days ago
Breaking News Coming Soon?  Video of a Hong Kong protester being waterboarded then hung upside down for 3 days while his finger and toenails were torn off has gone viral on social media this afternoon. 
 
The Hong Kong Police have commented stating that 'the minimum amount of force has been used.
 
A police spokesman said, '“I have seen the video on social media. We cannot come to a conclusion simply based on a video.  Based on reports from our officers, we see no reason to take any further action.'
 
 
The HK police are exempt and they are making it increasingly difficult to get a negotiated settlement to this never-ending crisis. 
 
 

Ed 6 days ago
Violence Is Sometimes the Answer
 
Protesters get slammed by critics whenever they use force. But for the state, it’s normalized.
Whenever protesters fight with police, burn vehicles, or smash windows, a familiar chorus rings out, from a safe distance: Why can’t they be nonviolent, like Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King Jr.?
 
With anti-government protests raging around the world since the summer, this common refrain has returned. Even United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, while reminding governments to allow free assembly and expression, said protesters must “follow the examples of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other champions of nonviolent change.”
 

This creates a double standard: Protesters are expected to remain nonviolent, even in the face of attacks by powerful, heavily armed governments. Yet no matter what protesters do, governments always portray them as “thugs” or “criminals” to legitimize violent crackdowns, as in Iran in recent weeks. The FBI accused King himself of inciting violence.

Government security forces are considered restrained if they use rubber bullets, tear gas, and other such weapons termed “nonlethal,” instead of live ammunition. But protesters are labeled and condemned as violent as soon as the first rock flies, justifying even harsher state repression.
 
The violence of the state is normalized—and even excused—by those who claim to decry violence of all stripes. Even careful use of force by protesters, however, such as targeted property destruction or direct resistance to police brutality, becomes an excuse to condemn the whole movement.
 

Like most of us, I endorse nonviolence as an ideal. In the face of repression by pro-government forces, though, this ideal may be untenable.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/05/hong-kong-protests-chile-bolivia-egypt-force-police-violence-is-sometimes-the-answer/
 
 
From what I can see, violence as an end in itself is futile --- it is not possible to defeat the police (or military forces should they be called in).
 
However as we are seeing in HK, violence as a means to an end might possibly be effective.   
 
If violence craters the economy then it might eventually result in the government responding to the demands of the protesters. 
 

Ed 6 days ago
Protesters in France are also now targeting the economy ...   instead of using violence ... they are resorting to mass strike actions....
 
 
France Paralyzed By Largest General Strike In Decades
 
In whatappears to be the biggest disruption to French society since the gilets jaunes demonstrators nearly torched Paris last year, public workers across the country stayed home on Thursday, immobilizing public transit across the country as the first general strike in more than 20 years began. 
 
On the fist day of the strike, parts of Paris resembled a ghost town during what are typically busy morning-commute hours.
 
With more than 50 per cent of teachers off work, nine out of ten trains cancelled and eleven of Paris’ fourteen underground lines closed, millions of workers stayed at home.
 
The strike marks the biggest industrial action since Mr Macron took power. 
 
 
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/france-paralyzed-largest-general-strike-decades
 
 

Ed 4 days ago
And here we have the result of running battles between police and black-shirted front-line protesters on the main streets of Hong Kong:
 
Tour guide Chau Ching is worried. Her income has been reduced to zero, after the city’s anti-government protests hit tourism hard and mainland Chinese tourists stopped coming.
 
For more than 10 years, the 49-year-old single mother earned a living by showing mainland Chinese visitors around. In a good month, she took home more than HK$20,000 (US$2,550).
 
But since August, she has not led a single tour group.
 
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3041035/i-am-despair-hard-times-hong-kongs-tourism-workers 
 
 
And videos of tourists being tear-gassed in Soho recently are not exactly how the HK Tourism Authority wants HK portrayed. 
 
 
The protesters will never beat the police -- but then that's not the goal --- the goal is to bring the HK economy to its knees - and hope the government responds.   
 
If the government does not respond then the protesters will shove the kneeling economy over the cliff --- because they believe that 'this will force the government to respond to our demands'
 
Like it or not --- this IS what they have told me they plan to do. 
 

Ed 16 hrs ago
Beijing lashes out at universal rights, US policies
 
 “There is no universal human rights path and model in the world,” Huang said. “The development of the cause of human rights must and can only be promoted in accordance with the national conditions of each country and the needs of the people.”

China insists it is up to each nation to choose its own path when it comes to human rights, and dismisses Western concepts of free speech, liberal democracy and civil rights in favor of tough authoritarian control aimed at growing the economy and raising living standards.
 
 https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1497126-20191211.htm?spTabChangeable=0

Ed 8 hrs ago
Exit of int’l policing experts a ‘slap in the face’ for Hong Kong gov’t, democrats say
 

The departure of international experts tasked with advising Hong Kong’s policing watchdog was a “vote of no confidence” and blow to the government’s credibility, pro-democracy lawmakers said on Wednesday.

The panel had been hired to advise the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) on an upcoming report, scrutinising the force over its handling of pro-democracy protests since June.
 

Tanya Chan, convenor of the pro-democracy camp in the legislature, said the experts’ departure would “definitely affect the effect or the standard” of the upcoming interim report, which is expected to be released in January.

“It is obviously a slap in the face for Chief Executive Carrie Lam… I hope that she won’t waste time, and seize the opportunity to establish an independent commission of inquiry,” Chan added, referring to protesters’ call for a judge-led inquiry into alleged police misconduct.

On Wednesday, the experts issued a statement saying that “a crucial shortfall was evident in the powers, capacity and independent investigative capability” of the IPCC. They added the panel had decided to “formally stand aside from its role,” citing an inability to effectively support the study.

 
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/12/11/exit-intl-policing-experts-slap-face-hong-kong-govt-democrats-say/ 
 
 
 
Late on one night in Mongkok, as the protests wound down, and the police were loading into their vans to depart, I was standing with 4 or 5 other members of the press on the sidewalk, when one of the officers reached out of the door of the van and blasted us in the face with pepper spray.
 
All of use were clearly designated as press with yellow vests and passes.  There were a dozen or so residents behind us on the sidewalk who were observing the situation.  There were no black-shirts and there had been no protest activity in the area for at least a half hour.
 
Then, as the van drove away, a smaller van stopped in front of us, the officer driving opened the passenger window and leaned over and gave us the middle finger.
 
I can see why the police would not want an independent enquiry -- there are far worse incidents of them violating the police code of ethics --- and the rule of law --- and these incidents have been captured on video.
 
The police should not be above the law ---  they should not be permitted to commit criminal acts. 
 
 
 
 


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