Deciphering who’s behind the violence leads to a long list of possibilities
A radical protester throws a molotov cocktail at a government building in Hong Kong on Sept. 15, 2019. Photo: The Yomiuri Shimbun
“If we burn, you burn with us.” “Self-destruct together.” (Lam chao.)
The new slogans of Hong Kong’s black bloc – a mob on a rampage connected to the black shirt protestors – made their first appearance on a rainy Sunday afternoon, scrawled on walls in Kowloon.
Decoding the slogans is essential to understand the mindless street violence that was unleashed even before the anti-mask law passed by the government of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) went into effect at midnight on Friday, October 4.
By the way, the anti-mask law is the sort of measure that was authorized by the 1922 British colonial Emergency Regulations Ordnance, which granted the city government the authority to “make any regulations whatsoever which he [or she] may consider desirable in the public interest” in case of “emergency or public danger”.
Perhaps the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, was unaware of this fine lineage when she commented that the law “only intensifies concern over freedom of expression.” And it is probably safe to assume that neither she nor other virulent opponents of the law know that a very similar anti-mask law was enacted in Canada on June 19, 2013.
More likely to be informed is Hong Kong garment and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, billionaire publisher of the pro-democracy Apple Daily, the city’s Chinese Communist Party critic-in-chief and highly visible interlocutor of official Washington, DC, notables such as US Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and ex-National Security Council head John Bolton.