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John Larrysson's Column:White Terror

【明報專訊】Many of the political crowd in Hong Kong keep saying that this or that is white terror. Is this true? Does Hong Kong have a white terror? I will not tell you what the answer is, but this week we will examine what the term means. The Oxford English Dictionary gives us two definitions:

1. French History. The period of violent repression led by counter-revolutionary forces in 1795, in reaction to the First French Revolution; the violence and bloodshed of this period. Also: the repression following the restoration of Louis XVIII in 1815.

2. Any of various periods of violent repression, esp. one led by conservative or reactionary forces against a communist or left-wing regime. Sometimes with specific reference to the persecution of supporters of the revolution during the Russian Civil War (1917–22); or to periods of violent repression in mainland China in the years following 1927 and in Taiwan after 1949.

Since the meaning of the word is directly connected to historical events, we can look at them to discover our definition. A brief description of each event is available online at Life.MingPao.com.

Events called white terrors are the killings of communists and socialists. Soldiers killed in war aren't part of a white terror; white terrors are the killing of civilians. The people who do the killings are reactionaries who want society to go back to some earlier time. Communists cannot, by definition and historical use of the word, conduct a white terror, only be the victims of it. Also a White Terror is only capitalised when the sides are named White and Red.

A white terror is a period of violent and deadly repression, by reactionaries against civilians who are communists, socialists or their supporters. So has there been a white terror in Hong Kong?

■Audio and full text: link.mingpao.com/15488.htm

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