Just some quick links… My basic traffic analysis of the stories, columns and reports rushing by suggests that the Hong Kong Police are not doing well in the struggle for hearts and minds.
Cops themselves despair at the dismal performance of the force’s spokesmen at press-conference time. Among the latest cringe-making claims: a police motorcyclist’s attempt to run over protesters is classified as a traffic accident, and a woman shoved to the floor was ‘unintended contact’. How difficult is it to do at least a half-baked spin job on these things? And they spokescops say kids and old folks who get tear-gassed shouldn’t be out in the first place. A rights expert offers some interesting thoughts.
The police are not just losing the PR specialists and the wimps who think kids should be allowed out. Doctors and environmentalists are starting to worry about chemical weapons as a public-health issue. And then there are the art fans: did you know tear gas is bad for paintings? The stuff might even resonate with the blue-ribbons.
Hong Kong’s mainstream media – mostly owned by pro-establishment tycoons – try hard to maintain breezy support for the boys in blue. But Now TV does a piece on lawyers battling with police to see arrestees.
For a mega-read on the whole mess: the Neutral Legal Observers Group’s First Periodic Report (on police and non-police issues). It’s depressing that feel a need to call it the ‘first’.