英文

Editorial : Say no to "mutual destruction"

【明報專訊】FOR TWO DAYS in a row the operation of Hong Kong International Airport was severely disrupted, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Since the outbreak of protests against proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, the public has gathered at Hong Kong International Airport for the so‑called "Flying with you" rally more than once, explaining to tourists from all over the world the situation of Hong Kong. In stark contrast to the violent clashes in many Hong Kong districts, people gathered at the airport emphasise being "peaceful, rational and non‑violent". Last Friday protesters organised "ten thousand people to pick up passengers" at the airport. The rally was held at the Immigration Hall. In general, neither foreign nor local tourists felt that they were being harassed or hindered. However, following the police‑citizen clash on Sunday, matters took a rapid turn for the worse. Crowds of protesters responded to the call for a rally at the airport to express dissatisfaction with the police, which later turned into an operation to paralyse the airport.

Protesters changed tack and chose to block the Emigration Hall this time, preventing tourists from undergoing security checks for emigration. Some people used baggage trolleys to block lifts and escalators to emigration gates. Some protesters formed human chains to obstruct tourists. Some protesters even told CNN and other foreign news agencies that "we want to paralyse the airport". As the operation of the terminal was severely obstructed, the Airport Authority declared the suspension of flight registration services for two days in a row. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, affecting tens of thousands of tourists. That night protesters surrounded, bound and battered two men from the mainland, and at one point prevented them from being hospitalised. After the police helped rescue the two men, a police‑citizen clash happened. The highly‑charged atmosphere frightened many people at the scene. It has also seriously damaged Hong Kong's image as a safe city for tourists.

Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. Nearly 800 flights take off or land on average every day, and last year as many as 74.7 million passengers used the airport. Every day more than two hundred thousand travellers entered or left the airport. Last year it even handled over five million tonnes of freight cargoes, enjoying the status as the busiest airport for cargo for eight years in a row. It is true that the airport suspends operation from time to time during typhoon seasons. But normally it is able to resume operation fully the next day. Hong Kong people take pride in the high efficiency of those working at the airport.

The protests against the amendments have so developed that there is an atmosphere of "mutual destruction" pervading society. On online forums there are netizens who claim that by obstructing the operation of the airport, they can deal a blow to the mainland's revenues generated by virtue of Hong Kong's logistics industry and add to the misery of the mainland economy. Some have even mentioned what happened in Thailand in 2008, when Suvarnabhumi Airport was occupied by the "Yellow Shirts". They say that Hong Kong protesters can draw inspiration from that incident. Though they know very well that such a move will severely affect the Hong Kong economy and people's lives, they insist on crashing and burning together. Such a mindset of "mutual destruction" does no good to society. It will only destroy Hong Kong, and is no less dangerous than violent actions. Everyone in society must say no to violence and "mutual destruction" at the same time. They must stop such "self‑harming" behaviour as soon as possible to prevent inflicting irreparable harm on Hong Kong.

明報社評2019.08.14:癱瘓機場損人害己 社會要向「攬炒」說不

香港國際機場運作連續兩天受到嚴重干擾,數百航班被迫取消。

反修例風暴以來,市民不止一次在機場舉行「和你飛」集會,向世界各地旅客講解香港情况。近期香港多區暴力衝突頻生,相比之下,機場集會人士強調「和理非」,上周五有示威者在機場發起「萬人接機」,在入境大堂集會,外國和本地旅客普遍也不覺得受到滋擾妨礙,然而經過周日警民衝突後,事態發展急轉直下,大批示威者響應號召到機場集會,對警方表示不滿,其後更演變成癱瘓機場行動。

示威者改變策略,改為堵塞客運大樓出境大堂,阻止旅客入閘安檢,有人用行李手推車,阻塞通往離境閘口的升降機及電梯,有示威者甚至組成人鏈阻礙旅客。有示威者向CNN等外國媒體明言,「我們希望癱瘓機場」。鑑於客運大樓運作嚴重受阻,機管局連續兩天在下午宣布暫停所有航班登記服務,數百航班取消,萬計旅客受到影響。入夜後示威者先後包圍、綁起及毆打兩名內地男子,並一度阻止他們送院,警方協助救人後出現警民衝突,劍拔弩張氣氛嚇怕不少在場人士,同時也嚴重損害香港作為安全旅遊城市的形象。

香港國際機場是全球其中一個最繁忙的機場,平均每天有近800航班升降,去年客運量達到7470萬人次,每日有超過20萬名旅客進出,至於全年貨運吞吐量更超過500萬公噸,連續8年蟬聯全球最繁忙貨運機場。誠然,每逢颱風季節,香港機場偶而會因風暴吹襲而停擺,然而通常翌日便可全面恢復正常,機場人員工作效率之高,更叫港人自豪。

反修例風暴演變至今,社會上出現了一種「攬炒」氛圍。在網上論壇,有網民聲稱阻礙香港機場運作,可以打擊內地透過本港物流業賺錢,令內地經濟「雪上加霜」,云云;有人甚至主動提及2008年泰國「黃衫軍」佔領曼谷機場事件,認為可以借鑑,明知嚴重損害香港經濟民生,仍然要玉石俱焚。這種「攬炒」邏輯,不會對社會有何好處,只會毁掉香港,其危險性絕不下暴力行為。社會上下必須向暴力和「攬炒」同時說不,盡快遏止這些「自殘」行為,以免令香港承受無可挽回的傷害。

■Glossary

pervade : to spread through and be noticeable in every part of sth

crash and burn : to fail very quickly or suddenly, especially in a dramatic way

irreparable : too bad or too serious to repair or put right

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