The government’s quick and flat refusal to hold any independent inquiry into the violence that took place in Mong Kok is first and foremost an act of sheer cowardice.

Whether you support violence or abhor it, when incidents such as this arise, it is the duty of the government to discover their causes. Leaving no stone unturned, no piece of evidence left unexamined.

What is the government scared of?

Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

Personally, I am convinced the protesters have nothing to hide and are happy for the riot to be investigated officially by an independent commission led by a senior judge. This will certainly help them receive a fairer trial.

The credibility of the government’s refusal has been undermined even further by its press release last night stating that the riots of 1967 and 2016 can’t be compared with each other.  What it refers to as only “disturbances” in 1967, which incidentally killed 52 people including 11 policemen, warranted an investigation at the time because the colonial government was not perfect. Therefore, self-criticism and a public investigation were needed. Whereas the current government today is close to perfect and so it has confidently proclaimed that: “Hong Kong nowadays enjoys free access to information and is a highly democratic and transparent society.” Therefore, the government seems to be saying, there can be no possible reason  why people should take to the streets and throw stones other than pure criminality and bloody-mindedness.

Photo: Joel Christian.

Today we have a government gone mad with its belief in its own divine right to rule, which transcends any rights of citizens or society. They are so far removed now from the everyday cogs of society that they simply can’t comprehend that powerless citizens the world over never choose to riot, but riot because they have no choice.

The truth of what happened over the Lunar New Year holiday is out there. It’s not hard to find if you can be bothered to look.  But for the government and the police, the truth is increasingly at odds with their autocratic narrative. They are becoming dependent upon lies and distortions of the truth to justify their rule. Black is now white, and white now black. The truth is now surplus to requirements and so only they can save Hong Kong from all the enemies they’re busy creating.

Zhang Xiaoming. File Photo: Stand News.

On top of this, given the severity of the accusations from Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office, that the protesters are separatists, backed by sinister, possibly foreign forces, you would think the government would be eager to reveal the truth in an investigation everyone could trust. But for them, there is no value in truth. Only propaganda serves tyranny.

Today there can no longer be any doubt that CY’s regime is a malign tyranny that is usurping all the universal values that have served Hong Kong so well over the years.  After the unrest in Mong Kok, the government can no longer veil its ill-intentions in shades of grey.

How dark does grey have to get before we call it black?

Richard Scotford

Richard is a freelance writer and long term resident of Hong Kong. He has a Master's Degree in Chinese Studies from CUHK and describes himself as a noisy muser on all things China. He has travelled extensively in Western China and once owned a trekking lodge high on the Tibetan border. He has a raw style of Opinion Journalism, with special interests in the South China Seas and deciphering Hong Kong's Localist/Independence groups.