Cultivating clean citizens must start early – World

During the July 1 celebrations of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, a police officer was stabbed by a lone assailant on a busy street in Causeway Bay. The assailant then turned the knife against him. The officer was seriously injured; the perpetrator died.

Investigations into the perpetrator’s state of mind revealed not only a violent stance against the government and the police, but also a deeply anti-social lifestyle. Although the perpetrator had family in Hong Kong, contact between them was limited. He chose to live a lonely life.

Most of the media called the man a “lone wolf”, but the fact is that he was also a local terrorist who committed acts of violence.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a terrorist as “a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political objectives”.

Given the nature of the attack and the fact that the walls of the perpetrator’s house were covered with a large amount of anti-police and propaganda material, this man was also reportedly classified as a terrorist anywhere. what other place, including in western democracies.

Thankfully, the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law in June 2020 enabled city police to restore order to the streets and crack down on radicals threatening to destabilize Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong SAR government recently announced its intention to “fill in the gaps” and revive legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law in a much needed effort to crack down on crimes against national security.

Many members of the opposition camp have been arrested for national security offenses, and “doxxing”, meaning posting private or identifying information about an individual online, usually with malicious intent, ultimately became a criminal offense. The perpetrators will now face fines of HK $ 5 million ($ 643,000) or be sentenced to five years in prison.

But even with the ongoing arrests, we can’t be sure that all is calm below the surface.

The public service is one example. More than 100 officials in August refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR government and uphold the Basic Law. Many of these people have since left their posts by way of termination, retirement or resignation.

This underlying stream of disobedience in the ranks of the public service is not the first of its kind. More than 500 public office holders did exactly the same in May, opposing the enactment of a new law requiring all lawmakers, district councilors and officials to pledge allegiance to the Basic Law and the SAR government from Hong Kong.

While these acts of outright disloyalty are not violent, they are symptoms of more serious political evil in Hong Kong.

We need only look at Australian prisons for an example of a successful deradicalization program.

In 2007, the Australian Federal Government established the Counterviolent Extremism Subcommittee, which is made up of representatives of the Federal Police and police agencies from various Australian states, cultural affairs organizations. and other relevant bodies.

The Australian-New Zealand Counterterrorism Committee subcommittee focuses on countering radicalization through rehabilitation and prevention. The strategy is designed to penetrate and counter extremism at all levels, from ordinary citizen vigilance to community resilience to civil and judicial response.

While details of the program are kept under lock and key by the Australian government and the Attorney General’s Office (Australia’s legal body), the main objectives of the subcommittee can be viewed online.

The key is to identify and turn away violent extremists and, if possible, help them disengage from violent extremism by changing their views and attitudes.

Therefore, I implore Hong Kong people to remain vigilant and spot the extremists around us. Go to them and guide them. But if you are concerned that they may be beyond your help, seek professional help from social workers, health professionals, or government authorities.

Do not underestimate the power of ordinary individuals in our community, for it is through our daily resilience that we can counter these dangerous forces.

The Counter-Violent Extremism Sub-Committee’s version consists of its “Community Cohesion Building” and “Youth Mentorship Programs” programs, which enhance community resilience and rehabilitate radicalized youth, respectively. .

Our version could start with school-aged children and family education.

Not so long ago, it was common to see families at anti-government protests as parents took their young children to these events. These families should question their judgment in subjecting their children to political activism so early in life.

Education must also take place at all key stages of schools, and children of all ages must understand national issues and the importance of our national security law. We also need to teach our children that there is no room in our society for violence of any kind, and for any cause.

Provided we plant these seeds early enough, we can ensure that our education system produces morally upright citizens.

The author is president of Wisdom Hong Kong, a local think tank.

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