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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times HK protest tactics may be needed in Taiwan

HK protest tactics may be needed in Taiwan

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On Monday, extradition bill protesters in Hong Kong expanded their activity to include a general strike and non-cooperation on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon and the New Territories. Police fired more tear gas than ever before, and surrounded and beat demonstrators. Parts of Hong Kong came to a halt, forcing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥), who had hardly been seen for two weeks, to emerge to scold protesters.

The protests began two months ago and have intensified in response to the violence used to suppress them. Protesters are also becoming better at protecting themselves, almost a model of urban guerrilla warfare in the information era. Protesters, reporters and academics must record every detail and preserve them for history and compose a moving record of Hong Kongers’ resistance against the communist tyranny that will return the shine to the Pearl of the East.

Because Hong Kongers are unarmed, despite facing riot police who are armed to the teeth, they must express their demands in a peaceful and non-violent manner. Nevertheless, as the government completely ignores public opinion, the only way to exert some pressure is to also adopt appropriate attack methods so the government to a certain extent feels threatened.

This is why protesters broke into the Hong Kong Legislative Council to express their demands.

The first side to hurt someone was the police when they fired tear gas and rubber bullets and beat protesters, drawing blood, on June 12.

Any struggle against a strong power must adopt a guerrilla approach to provide protection and minimize harm. Hong Kong protesters use guerrilla attacks to target important political landmarks, thoroughfares and areas that the police cannot easily defend.

In response to the violent police suppression, protesters have upgraded their defensive equipment. While some continue to use umbrellas and face masks, others have started using goggles, helmets and even gas masks.

Thus far, protesters have no arsenal that would allow them to fight back against police and organized crime gangs. At the most they have access to sticks, bricks and other material they find on the spot. Apart from that, all they can do is burn garbage to vent their anger.

The only “weapon” that has been seen is a huge slingshot, but that does not have lethal power. If the police bring out armored vehicles and water cannons, would Molotov cocktails be added to the mix?

Faced with the forceful suppression and arrests by the communist government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, protesters erase mobile phone messages after sending them to avoid providing police with clues.

The government, relying on its superior armed power, refuses to compromise. The constantly intensifying suppression will trigger even more intense opposition, which will only add to the instability.

This is testing the authorities’ political wisdom. In addition to fighting back, protesters should bolster their psychological warfare tactics. There must be some who know the families of police officers. They could use this to persuade police and weaken their morale, stressing the point that Hong Kongers do not fight Hong Kongers.

Young Taiwanese should learn from what is going on as a precautionary measure. If the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) were to return to power or the Chinese Communist Party were to invade, Taiwanese might have to take the same approach.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Perry Svensson

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2019/08/11

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The Dalai Lama, center, arrives at a Long Life offering prayer at the main Buddhist temple of Tsuglagkhang, near the town of Dharamsala, India, on Feb. 27.
Photo: EPA-EFE

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