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SCMP Letters: “Hong Kong is now a self-destructive patient.”

Displaying that special kind of ignorance of which only an academic is capable, Dr. Christian Chan, of the department of psychology at Hong Kong University, says that Hong Kong is a “self-destructive patient.”

When we are overwhelmed with emotions, reason alone is often insufficient or even counterproductive. Rather, we must first feel understood and our needs acknowledged. Empathy is shown – and cultivated – by exploring and acknowledging the person’s emotional pain. When we feel heard, we are more receptive to reason and change.

Dr. Christian Chan, department of psychology, Hong Kong University

Look, Hong Kong is not a patient in need of counseling, and to even suggest that is incredibly insulting to the activists that have put their lives on the line to fight for the freedom of the people of Hong Kong. Making them “feel understood,” showing “empathy,” and acknowledging “emotional pain” will not in any way help them achieve their admirable goals nor solve the long-term problem of Beijing’s continual erosion of the rights of the people of Hong Kong.

It is the governments of Hong Kong and mainland China that need change, not the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. The “thoughts” in Dr. Chan’s letter are just utterly ridiculous. Hong Kong University should be ashamed to have him teaching there.

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