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Cong Peiwu is the Chinese Ambassador to Canada.

Over the past five months, violent and criminal activities in Hong Kong have pushed the city into a dangerous situation.

Canada maintains close ties with Hong Kong. About 300,000 Canadians currently live in Hong Kong and many Canadian companies have invested heavily there. Moreover, many Chinese Canadians are originally from Hong Kong. It’s natural that the situation in Hong Kong has received a lot of attention here in Canada.

The violence has escalated in recent days, making an already-tense situation more worrisome. Rioters have resorted to wanton beating, smashing and arson. They threw incendiary gas bombs onto moving trains, paralyzed road traffic and ruined the train tracks in various districts across Hong Kong. They indiscriminately attacked ordinary citizens, and even doused a citizen who opposed their vandalism with inflammable liquid and set fire to him. They have turned many universities into their strongholds and besieged and attacked students from the Chinese mainland. Last week, a 70-year-old cleaner was killed on the street after being struck by a brick thrown by rioters.

These violent actions have grossly trampled the rule of law and social order, seriously harmed the prosperity and stability of the special administrative region (SAR), and severely challenged the principle of “one country, two systems.” They are anything but “peaceful demonstrations.” They are nakedly violent crimes, which are unacceptable to any civilized society. However, Joshua Wong, the leader of the Hong Kong demonstrations, blatantly defended the violence and even claimed that violence is needed to achieve their goal.

At present, the silent majorities are being hijacked by extreme violence.

Regrettably, some people, out of ulterior motives, ignore the professionalism and restraint shown by the Hong Kong police and create the illusion of excessive police enforcement. They turn a blind eye to the crimes such as burning innocent citizens with inflammable liquids, stockpiling Molotov cocktails, shooting the police with crossbows to obstruct law enforcement and attempting to rob police of their guns. Are they advocating “democracy” by setting fire to people who disagree with them and using violence to intimidate ordinary citizens from speaking out? Are the rioters seeking “freedom” by wantonly violating basic civil rights, social norms and social order? Are they promoting “human rights” by harassing and abusing patriots and supporters of Hong Kong, using violence against students and tourists from mainland China? I wonder how such violent riots would be dealt with if they happened in Canada, the United States or other Western countries?

Ending violence and restoring order is the most pressing task in Hong Kong. The international community should support the Hong Kong SAR government to govern in accordance with the law, support the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, and support the Hong Kong judicial bodies in severely punishing the violent criminals under the law. Only in this way can Hong Kong return to peace and stability. This is not only in the interest of Hong Kong’s citizens, but also in the interests of all relative parties, including Canada.

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