As Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) enters its fifth month of anarchy, rampant violence and vandalism continues to plague the streets of a city once revered for its modernity and prosperity. What began as a demonstration against an extradition bill has now transformed itself into a full display of unfathomable madness.
Over the weekend, a knife-wielding man attacked a family over political differences outside a shopping mall in Tai Koo. The man was then savaged by an angry crowd, along with another man who tried to protect the attacker. Six people were injured in the incident, including a district councilor whose ear was partly bitten off.
The horrifying yet bizarre incident is a clear reflection of the state of distress and lawlessness that defines today's Hong Kong. Five months after the "pro-democracy protest," the city has become a free-for-all where mobs of masked men dressed in black can openly tried to break into a bank, throw Molotov cocktails at police and freely assault perceived enemies with no real consequences.
With the encouragement of Western media and online forums, anyone is welcomed to take part in the real life version of Grand Theft Auto. It is not surprising then, the movement mainly consists of youth in their early 20s while some still in middle school when they were arrested by police.
"I think we have lost two generations of young people in Hong Kong," Annie Wu Suk-ching, a native of Hong Kong and daughter of the founder of Maxim's Caterers, told CGTN during an interview on the sidelines of a forum hosted by the Center for China and Globalization. "Young people have been influenced by social media – I would use the word 'brainwashed' – to be anti-government, anti-establishment, anti-China." She also pointed to Western media's provocative coverage and bias against Hong Kong's government. "The Western media are vicious to both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong," she said, adding that some 99 percent of local Hong Kong media outlets hold prejudice against the Chinese government.
In September, Wu denounced the movement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying "the views of a small group of radical protesters do not represent the view of all 7.5 million Hongkongers." Her remarks enraged a number of rioters who in turn vandalized Maxim's restaurants throughout the city.
For the past four decades, Wu has shuttled between the mainland and Hong Kong for business, education and philanthropy. Today, at age 71, she represents a fading generation that has experienced both the colonial rule under Britain and the return to the People's Republic of China. Her frequent travels to the mainland also make her a minority in Hong Kong who has witnessed the dramatic transformation of China in recent decades.
Wu's frustration toward the young people of Hong Kong is echoed by another elderly woman, who was recorded picking up bricks and safety cones left on the streets by rioters. Her courage coupled with a no-nonsense style as she engages with the rioters quickly became a hit online.
"So many of you people could be doing something, but what do you do, you block people from getting about," the unidentified woman said. "You always need someone to clean up your mess. Are you even adults? Twenty-somethings!"
During the interview, Ms. Wu tried holding back her tears when talking about the still unfolding chaos. "I will not waste time on them. They are confused."
Article written by: Zeng Ziyi
Reporter: Wang Xiaonan
Videographer: Zhang Wanbao
Video editor: Zeng Ziyi
Supervisor: Zhang Shilei
The interview was conducted on the sidelines of the sixth China Inbound-Outbound Forum hosted by the Center for China and Globalization. Ms. Annie Wu also told us her experience in getting evolved in building a new China.