- As violence gives way to peace at rallies, the government should consider reacting to latest overtures and taking a more conciliatory stance
Boy, was I wrong! I was expecting another weekend of pitched battles and mayhem. But the opposition managed to pull off three days of peaceful rallies. No tear gas or rubber bullets; police state-of-the-art water cannons stood idle.
For once, the Civil Human Rights Front delivered what it promised " civil and peaceful disobedience. Of course, the faction of so-called peace, rationality and non-violence carried the day because the more violent and extreme people were perceived to have crossed the line at the airport more than a week ago, with the attacks on mainlanders and massive disruption to flights.
Even some of their own comrades have criticised them while the foreign press, usually sympathetic, published stories that put them in a bad light.
Though the rallies were technically illegal, the government was right not to denounce them, noting only that they disrupted traffic.
But the government needs to go further and use this as a peace overture. There has to be carrots, not just sticks. When so-called cockroaches were unleashed to cause destruction and mayhem across the city, tear gas and batons were the only possible answer.
But if protesters behave, the government needs to take a more conciliatory stance. How to deal with their five demands? The extradition bill is dead, long live the bill! Let's not waste any more time on that.
Amnesty for violent protesters and punishment for police? You can burn down the city and Beijing would not agree to them.
That leaves just a commission of inquiry and universal suffrage. It's beyond the power of the Hong Kong government to agree or deliver them, but it doesn't mean officials can't discuss them with the opposition.
For a commission to look into the causes of the recent unrest would, in effect, be examining Hong Kong society itself and everything that is wrong with it. That is unrealistic if not impossible. The two sides would have to narrow its scope.
As for universal suffrage, that will depend on the opposition in the legislature as much as the Hong Kong government. If the opposition does well in elections next year, it must indicate a willingness to soften its stance taken in 2015, when it rejected the government's electoral reform package.
Otherwise, the government can't take its case to Beijing to restart the reform process.
It takes two to tango. At the moment, everyone is dancing to their own tune.
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Kazakhstan's COVID-19 cases top 100,000
HKSAR gov't strongly objects to U.S. new rule on origin marking of Hong Kong products
Update: China Focus: Typhoon Mekkhala makes landfall in China's Fujian
Commentary: Sanctioning U.S. individuals a just move to safeguard China's interests
【8.11 一年】太古站被警圍堵後未露面 王婆婆電郵指多次被內地執法人員威嚇 深圳申回港遭拒
Stand News 立場新聞`` 13 58
娛樂 on LINE`` 55 47
am730`` 52 33
《日本人日記》#1 專訪拍攝香港反送中示威 的日本人攝影師KISEKI MICHIKO 眼中的香港？拍攝示威的理由？肺炎下的近況？
喜愛日本 LikeJapan`` 15 4
4Gamer`` 12 11
HK finance official says global investors speak positively of national security law, confident in Hong Kong
XINHUA`` 4 4
地表最強渣男剋星 ！「3星座女」智商超高 絕不錯愛一生
NOWnews 今日新聞`` 4 1
49歲黎姿4大凍齡保養心得：敷面膜後一定要做這步 ＋ 貴婦級面膜推介
Cosmopolitan HK`` 0 1
明報`` 3 2
GOtrip`` 2 8