反高鐵示威者行為過激? Are the hk high speed rail protesters extremists? Are they over-reacting?

13 January 2010

See also: 立法局包圍戰之
[反高鐵] 點解我地要突破警方防線 (附圖解釋)

When you have an asymmetric conflict like the StopXRL movement, do drastic measures from the weaker side always equal irrational over-reactions? 喺反高鐵呢種唔對稱嘅對抗中,強硬行動係唔係一定過激?

Imagine two antagonists (or countries). Let’s call them Sam and Joe. Sam is rich and have a lot of weapons available, but Joe is strong. They are in a dispute over something and their conflict is escalating.

Consider their weapons:

Sam: fist, handknife, handgun, M-16, M1A1 tank, Apache helicopter, F-15 fighter, F-22 fighter, Satellite Laser system

Joe: fist, handknife, AK47, Mig 31 fighter jet, Satellite Laser system

As their conflict escalate, they would pull out bigger and more powerful weapons from their war chest. Now, as Joe is stronger, Sam loses out in the fist fight, and pulls out a handgun. Joe has no choice but to get his AK47. Sam pulls out his M-16, but as he is not as good a marksman, he called in an M1A1. Joe had no choice but to call in his Mig 31 fighter jet. The conflict escalates into a space war.

Now let’s put ourselves in Joe’s shoes. Was he irrational or “over-reacting”? No. He just made use of his limited resources as well as he could. The problem is that Sam was in a much convenient position to escalate a conflict, and in each escalation he chose to put Joe in an uncomfortable position.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, what choices did the governement or the police give the protesters? We tried sit-ins and conflict-free demonstrations. The government simply ignored us. When we want dialogues, what did they give us? Has the Hong Kong SARS actually tried to act like a government for the people of the people, even if it is not by the people? 當喺中聯辦綁條絲帶都會被人剪傷手, 你仲想同佢和諧落去?

Don’t take things on their face values. There are often reasons, even logical ones, behind conflict escalations.

Further Reading:
王岸然:從反高鐵到擲胸圍皆八十後 http://www.hkej.com/template/blog/php/blog_details.php?blog_posts_id=43269

Conflict Escalation: theory
http://www.mediate.com/articles/jordan.cfm
Brinkmanship
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_%28game%29

http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/escalation/
Constructive Escalation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_attrition_%28game%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Conflict_process
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_resolution

About hkXRL and Mai Po
高鐵工程或令米埔水位降 http://hk.news.yahoo.com/article/090802/4/di3l.html

2 Responses to “反高鐵示威者行為過激? Are the hk high speed rail protesters extremists? Are they over-reacting?”


  1. […] 20 January 2010 continued from my previous post 反高鐵示威者行為過激? Are the hk high speed rail protesters extremists? Are they over-rea… […]


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