A banner with the words “Defend Yuen Long‘s harmony and maintain regional tranquility” is displayed on a street in Yuen Long, Hong Kong on July 23. Photo: Yang Sheng/GT
Hong Kong‘s Yuen Long District Council became the first council in Hong Kong to pass a bill to curb violence, which experts hailed as a pioneering step to restore the rule of law and address social problems.
The bill aims to support the police to stop violence and disorder, and urges the government to take immediate and effective measures to quell the unrest, and to keep residents from getting injured or even killed, Hong Kong news outlet wenweipo reported on Thursday.
The bill was passed on Tuesday by a 23-6, with one abstention, the report said.
The bill followed a series of riots from radical protesters in Yuen Long district, including one on July 21 which injured 45 people.
The bill urges the government to fully support the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) in its investigation of allegations against the police, instruct the police to set up a special team to arrest people in riots and create a dialogue platform as soon as possible.
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Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University in Beijing and an expert on Hong Kong studies, told the Global Times on Thursday that ending escalating violence is most urgent for Yuen Long, which suffered the most serious violence and conflicts in the past months.
Passing such a bill shows Yuen Long‘s determination to adhere to the principle of the rule of law, Tian said, noting the other 17 districts should pass similar bills as soon as possible.
Conflicts between Yuen Long residents and protesters in July triggered violence, which suggested people‘s lives were ruined by radical protests, Tian said. The bill urges police to conduct a thorough investigation.
The bill also advised the government to appoint scholars to a special team to study the social problems in Hong Kong and provide advice to the government. The team will study the cause of the unrest in Yuen Long, and its social and economic impact, wenweipo quoted district council member Leung Che-cheung as saying.
Shum Ho-kit, chairman of the district council, noted that Hong Kong should also deal with deep-seated social problems.
Tian said once the rule of law is restored, the bill could help address the social problems and improve the people‘s livelihood.
Newspaper headline: Yuen Long bill pioneers to restore rule of law: expert