We welcome Mr Grenville Cross’ comment in China Daily on the Hong Kong Police Force being eligible for a Nobel Peace Prize (“Protest violence: Criminal justice system must hold offenders fully accountable”, Sept 16, 2020). With the prize for 2020 having been awarded, people have started to look for candidates for the next year. We think it is more than appropriate to nominate the HKPF for the next year. It focuses public attention on the maintenance of rule and order in Hong Kong.
To begin with, the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo accepts online nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize until Jan 31 of each year. Successful nominations are announced the following October. One of the main selecting criteria is whether candidates have made “out-standing contributions in peace”.
The successful maintenance of rule and order in Hong Kong during this unprecedented tough time is attributable to the dedication and professionalism of the HKPF. It has made a massive contribution to the restoration of peace in the city. In the course of its duties, the HKPF has made sacrifices. A large number of police officers suffered serious, and even life-threatening, injuries on duty. The courageous and skillful handling of those large-scale anti-government riots by the HKPF is highly commendable
Hong Kong has pulled through a lengthy period of turbulence and violence. From June 2019 to February, there were over 1,000 civil commotions and demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people. The HKPF has been discharging its duties loyally, dutifully and professionally in handling those events. Compared with such events in France, England and various states in the US, where people got killed in brutal conflicts, none happened in Hong Kong. The HKPF exercised admirable restraint and applied a minimal degree of force to quell the riots, arresting those who committed crimes efficiently and effectively.
A vast majority of the population was caught by surprise when unknown radicals emerged in Hong Kong out of nowhere. They threw gasoline bombs at people, aimed arrows at human targets, launched unprovoked physical assaults on strangers in the street, and committed other criminal activities ranging from conspiracy to wounding to money laundering. The police won the support of the majority of the local population with their professionalism in handling the riots, initiated by the subversive elements who exploited the impulsiveness and idealism of many young people and turned them into foot soldiers to carry out their “black revolution” under the pretext of being anti-extradition.
The successful maintenance of rule and order in Hong Kong during this unprecedented tough time is attributable to the dedication and professionalism of the HKPF. It has made a massive contribution to the restoration of peace in the city. In the course of its duties, the HKPF has made sacrifices. A large number of police officers suffered serious, and even life-threatening, injuries on duty. The courageous and skillful handling of those large-scale anti-government riots by the HKPF is highly commendable.
The central government has stood by the HKPF from the outset and offered unreserved support. And the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has put dozens of police officers (both former and serving) in this year’s Honours List in recognition of their contributions to maintaining peace and order in the city.
Yet malicious slander ravishly slinged by the subversives has damaged the good reputation of the HKPF. A systematic smearing campaign against the HKPF has resorted to various tactics.
The first line of attack on the HKPF was a calculated fabrication of civilian casualties to incite hatred among the residents. Take the “8.31” incident as an illustration. At around 11 pm on Aug 31, 2019, riot police officers entered the Prince Edward MTR station during an emergency operation. People with ulterior motives immediately spread rumors online that at least three people were dead as a result of the police’s “excessive use of force”.
Shortly after the incident, supporters of the anti-government campaign begun to put memorial materials such as white flowers at the MTR station entrance to “mourn the deceased”. “Memorial activities” continued for months although the MTR Corp, the HKPF, Fire Services Department and Hospital Authority made clarification on numerous occasions that there were no casualties during the incident.
Fake news about police assualting civilians has also persistently circulated on social media. On July 14, 2019, when hundreds of protestors occupied the New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, a father and his three daughters who were visiting the shopping mall were caught in a dangerous situation after conflicts broke out. The police officers raised shields to protect the four from falling objects thrown out from higher floors and escorted them to safety. The scene was filmed and shown online, along with rumors that the police had attacked civilians. Later on, the father clarified through social media that his family was safe and staying in a hotel; he also thanked the police officers who rescued them.
The smearing campaign also exploited an incident during a protest in Sheung Shui. A teenager who took part in that unlawful assembly tried to flee by climbing over the fence of a 6-meter-high footbridge. Video footage showed that a police officer rushed forward to hold him tight, preventing him from falling from the footbridge. Some unidentified netizens uploaded some pictures of the incident online and falsely claimed that the police officer had pushed the boy off the bridge.
These rumors only live on the tongues of those bad-mouthing the HKPF. They have no traction. The HKPF was highly acclaimed for its professonalism.
We are obliged to do our part to recognize the force’s contribution to Hong Kong society. We sincerely believe the force is an ideal candidate for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Several university professors and eminent individuals have joined our team, which is ready to recommend the HKPF to the Nobel Committee for consideration. The nomination is in the pipeline and will be submitted to the committee very soon.
We are confident that the committee will recognize that the HKPF’s excellent performance during the months of riots is a textbook example of good policing in the maintenance of law and order.
Junius Ho Kwan-yiu is a Legislative Council member and a solicitor.
Kacee Ting Wong is a barrister and a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS