Shall we have a peaceful or a violent Christmas Eve in Tsimshatsui tonight? Inspired by their success in spreading holiday fun last Halloween, the Hong Kong Police predictably choose the latter.
After six months of this, we can detect a pattern: when the police steer clear, public gatherings are – all else being equal – far more peaceful. So we must assume that the senior police management are deploying hyped-up armed riot cops on such occasions as a deliberate strategy to engineer physical confrontation. The question is, why? To bump up the number of arrests? To comply with Beijing officials’ demands for tough repression? To claim more overtime? To appease those of their front-line men who sadly seem to enjoy whacking passers-by?
Or, given their profession’s reputation for limited lateral-thinking abilities, do they dementedly believe that they are somehow preserving public order and serving the community’s interests?
(My money would be on the Beijing factor.)
I declare what could turn out to be a five-day Merry Christmas Weekend open with some quick links to interesting things…
Some thoughts on what the Hong Kong government could learn from other authorities’ PR response to a different train-wreck. One problem is that Hong Kong officials’ spinelessness and condescension is not only a colonial hangover, and not only a defensive instinct driven by their own incompetence and lack of legitimacy. It’s also pretty much required by Beijing.
An explanatory leaflet about the Spark Alliance arrests and freezing of funds.
If you need something depressing to curb excessive festive joy, Amnesty International on sexual violence against Hong Kong protests.
The naivety of government supporters who welcome the court decision that Au Nok-hin and Gary Fan were not duly elected.
And if you still don’t get Cantonese opera…