Hong Kong’s older generation hits out at young protesters, tells them it’s too much
Protesters are at odds with one another over how best to proceed.
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“They (protesters) don’t know what they are doing… What they have done is excessive.”
Those are the words of 82-year-old Wong Man Kit, who was quoted by CNA in a piece highlighting the divide between Hong Kong’s older generation and the typically younger protesters.
“We elderly people are not simple-minded. We see things clearly. We don’t just listen to one side of the story and throw things at the police,” said Wong.
A 98-year-old woman identified only by her last name Leung also weighed in, seemingly suggesting that the protesters were ungrateful.
“They were born and bred in Hong Kong. By making things bad here, what do they have to gain?
Don’t they have food on the table? Don’t they have proper jobs? Of all things to do, why must they become protesters?”
What the elderly think of the police
Elderly people interviewed by CNA also gave their take on the Hong Kong police’s alleged excessive use of force.
Wong felt that the police had been “just” in their handling of the protests thus far.
An 86-year-old Wong Tai Sin resident named as Law posited that Hong Kong’s police had been relatively professional.
“They (protesters) said the police beat them. They should look at how the police in other countries deal with riots … They won’t just stand by and let them continue
The protesters should count their blessings… The police have shown a lot of restraint”
A 63-year-old retiree known only as Tham said that he “rated the police very highly”.
He added that protesters had been “destroying Hong Kong’s livelihood”, citing the disruption they caused at the airport in the middle of August.
“There are limits to democracy… Young people should focus on their studies… By protesting and not going to classes, they are merely hurting themselves,” he said.
However, not all featured by CNA, approved of the course of action taken by the police.
Mak Siu Sun, 70, said that police should not have fired rubber bullets at heads and bodies of the protesters.
“Just shoot them at the legs… They (police) also fired from high vantage points. This will hurt people’s heads.
I can understand why they (the protesters) would besiege the police stations.”
A divide among protesters
Meanwhile, the protests — which have entered their 11th consecutive week — have shown no sign of slowing down.
Yet, a separation has threatened to form between demonstrators who advocate peaceful protests and those who are in favour of more aggressive tactics.
The LA Times spoke to a 25-year-old protester named only as Chan who was involved in the protests at Hong Kong International Airport.
Chan had felt torn when an elderly Australian woman in a wheelchair sought assistance to reach her departure gate.
Protesters had formed a blockade at the airport’s departure hall, obstructing passengers from boarding their flights.
Chan told The LA Times that he felt sorry for the lady and would have let her pass had he been in-charge of the sit-in.
The airport protests would later turn violent with demonstrators clashing with police, passengers, and two individuals they suspected of being Chinese spies.
Some protesters would subsequently apologise for the episode at the airport.
“China is trying to turn people against each other”
According to AFP, many protesters fear that continuing to allow a divide to develop within their ranks would be playing right into Beijing’s hands
A protester named Kenny told AFP: “China is trying to turn people against each other — turning the more violent protesters against the peaceful protesters, turning police against citizens”.
He admitted that the tactic was working “to some extent”.
However, other protesters were keen to present a united front, despite differences in opinion
One protester, called Wong, 54, was quoted by AFP as saying:
“I don’t like the violence (of the radical protesters), I am against it. But I understand them, they’re angry, infuriated.”
Another student who was not named said:
“We might not all have the same idea of how to achieve our demands… but we are all still here together.”
Top image by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images