"If you want to read a blog to get a sense of what is going on in Hong Kong these days or a blog that would tell you what life was like living in colonial Hong Kong, this blog, WALTER'S BLOG, fits the bill." Hong Kong Blog Review
"Our citizens enjoy the highest life expectancy on the planet, while child mortality rates are the lowest."
I'm growing weary of the West's relentless, repetitive propaganda that Hong Kong's freedoms are gone. Here on the ground, this lie falters in the face of reality. As the Easter weekend is upon us, and I look around, the Churches are full of worshipers; the beaches crowded with families and the hills welcoming thousands of walkers.
Meanwhile, the Government Flying Service is working flat out, pulling injured and sickly hikers off our remote mountains. The unwell get carried gratis to our free hospitals to receive first-class care. Ambulances arrive within minutes of calls for help, with trained para-medics ready to give critical care. What is more, our citizens enjoy the highest life expectancy on the planet, while child mortality rates are some of the lowest.
As Covid eases, the bars and restaurants are coming to life as Hong Kong regains its usual vibe. All citizens can walk the streets, night or day, free of the crime that blights most cities. Teenagers and youngsters travel unaccompanied on public transport. And when trouble does occur, the Police respond.
Emergency calls don't go unanswered unless radicals seek to swamp and block the system, as happened during the riots. Meanwhile, no one fears a gun-battle in a shopping mall or a senseless mugging. Random acts of violence are rare. That's why Hong Kong rates amongst the freest places on earth.
Local media continues its vibrant ways with criticism of the government unabated. After each regular spasm of 'press freedoms under attack', I'll ask journalist friends which stories face censorship? That usually draws a blank look, a bit of foot shuffling, then murmurs about emphasis rather than a story's culling. You know, the sort of thing that goes on daily in all media.
But you'd never believe any of this listening to the neocolonialism nonsense spouting forth from Washington and London. It's evident that startled and unsettled by China's rise, the West wishes to deploy Hong Kong as an issue to beat Beijing. In the process, twisted stories, plus outright falsehoods, stir the pot.
But, of course, my detractors shout, 'what about political freedom?' Fair point. I've documented elsewhere how the so-called democrats blew it and then took us in the wrong direction. Separatists then hijacked the whole show. Mixed into that came Hong Kong's deep-seated undercurrent of xenophobia against Mainlanders. As China prospered, the badly stung Hongkongers faced eclipse by resourceful Mainlanders. The hallmarks that once defined Hong Kong now transferred north.
Having had a distinct identity as colonial citizens, the Hong Kong people found themselves a small part of a more significant group. They felt swamped. That's why they cling to symbols of the past, the BNO or anything that makes them distinct.
Alas, jealousy proved a potent motivating factor for our recent troubles. Add a bit of overseas money to oil the protest movement's wheels, and bingo, months of rioting.
The judgment of the moderate democrats looked seriously askew when they allied themselves to the violent separatists—even allowing them to dictate the protest agenda. As the moderates refused to break ranks and criticise the beatings and bombs, they heralded an inevitable escalation in the mayhem. True to form, the West's swivel-eyed rhetoric gave support to the radicals. Venal overseas politicians willfully ignored the havoc wrought here. Yet, when the same comes to their streets, note the reaction.
Only Beijing's intervention with the National Security Law flipped the off-switch. Having calmed the streets (if not the atmosphere) Beijing has now moved on to 'political reforms'. When you cut through all the noise, in truth, we are returning to a facsimile of the colonial system that served British interests so well before 1997. Except in this iteration, the system serves China.
Britain and the rest can hardly complain when they championed the 'executive led' design of governance as something suitable for Hong Kong. Beijing has taken that model then moulded it with only 'patriots' allowed to stand for elections. Under British rule, until the mid-1990s, only 'safe-hands' who'd cleared vetting got to sit in our parliament.
So the noisy hypocrisy of the West is breathtaking. Much of it pulls the focus away from evident domestic failings. Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign secretary, bangs on about the 'rule of law' yet threw that out the window by direct interference in a Hong Kong criminal case.
Raab's much-vaulted principles collapsed as he pressured barrister David Perry not to work in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, his party seeks to introduce restrictions on protest far more severe than anything Hong Kong can summon up.
That the West gave tacit succour to Benny Tai and his crew as they sought to action his 'lam chau' plan speaks volumes. Let's be clear what the 'lam chau' plan meant to achieve. Tai wanted nothing short of complete societal collapse through widespread disorder under the banner of 'we burn, you burn.' The plan meant to bring down the city's institutions.
And these ideas manifested themselves in the thousands of petrol bombs thrown at Police and others. The radicals ran industrial-scale petrol bomb factories on the Chinese University and at the City Polytechnic University. One unfortunate man suffered 'direct action' when he confronted protesters on a footbridge. They responded by setting him on fire. That he didn't die is a miracle.
I ask what place on earth would stand by and allow this to happen? Every society has the right to protect itself from such acts.
To me, it is evident that every international media decrying the loss of freedom and liberty in Hong Kong has slanted its coverage and worse. Here's a recent example: the UK's Independent portrayed a violent armed criminal's arrest as Police beating an innocent protester. No mention that he'd threatened bank staff with a knife.
Of course, there are real issues here. Our attempts to tackle poverty, a housing shortage and pollution all need a boost. With our parliament now operating without constant interruptions, we should make some progress. Plus, government staff needn't fear assaults in the parliament's precincts. The convicted criminal, and former legislator, Ted Hui, has run off to Australia's welcoming arms. It would appear that they have no problem accepting a man who assaults women.
Granted, what unfolded here is not to everyone’s liking, with some opting to migrate. Moving out is hardly a new trend, and the numbers are not that high. Living in a liberal democracy may better suit those so minded because you are free to believe any old bollocks. After all, for them, Hong Kong's freedoms are gone. On the other end, some feel only direct control from Beijing will work to restore order long-term. Neither is correct; Hong Kong is continuing on a middle path, granted with a democratic deficit from a Western perspective — just as it did under British rule.
So, for those overseas, exercise caution when reading anything the mainstream media or your governments say about Hong Kong.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.