The unrest in Mong Kok may have hurt the core values of Hong Kong, Finance Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said on Wednesday. He also said that no one wishes to see the destruction of Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe, international city.

“Not only have the violent attacks left a mark on Hong Kong people’s hearts, these scenes also affect tourists’ and investors’ impressions of Hong Kong,” said Tsang during a debate at the legislature.

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John Tsang Chun-wah. File Photo: StandNews.

Clashes in Mong Kok broke out earlier this month over the government’s clearing of street hawkers.

“Neither violence nor hatred can solve the problems we are facing. It is only by returning to rationality that we can start to resolve conflicts and continue to advance,” Tsang said.

The Legislative Council debate on the Chief Executive’s policy address runs from February 17 to 19. Pro-establishment and pan-democratic lawmakers have been debating who should be held responsible for the Mong Kok unrest.

starry lee
Starry Lee. File Photo: Stand News.

Pro-establishment DAB Chairman Starry Lee Wai-king said: “these extremist thoughts and terrible violence are like poison. This poison is gradually permeating society, and is poisoning our young people.”

Pan-democratic Labour Party Chairman Lee Cheuk-yan disagreed, saying that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is the one who is taking poison. “[He is] making enemies of citizens, tearing society apart, intensifying conflicts… The morbid state of the government lies in its view that the messier our society becomes the better, instead of reflecting on how it became like this.”

Hermina is a Hong Kong writer and journalist. She graduated with a degree in politics from Cambridge, and is interested in international affairs, particularly those related to China, the EU and the Middle East. She also enjoys political satire.