So the arrest of Lam Cheuk-ting is supposed to help corroborate a revised history of the Yuen Long attacks on July 21 last year. RTHK report here. HKFP summary of the shifting official version of the events.
The live-streams were biased, and everything you think you know is wrong. Lam’s role is transformed from victim to suspect. Triad thugs’ assaults on commuters, which you thought were with police connivance and possibly Liaison Office coordination, become an equally matched ‘gang fight’ to which cops responded promptly and impartially.
Interesting timing: this comes just days before the anniversary of 8-31 – in which it was cops, rather than triads, who rampaged in an MTR station and attacked passengers. (Maybe the police called the triads for help but they were busy.) Amusing timing: the Society of Publishers in Asia gave the NYT article ‘Where Were Hong Kong’s Police?’ an award last night.
So drastic is the rewriting of the narrative that the HK Police are, as Xinqi Su puts it, ‘blatantly correcting their own record’. She shreds their new version of events with a series of questions. More on this absurdity, including reports from the cops’ press conference, here.
An explosion of on-line interest in the incident suggests the HK Police are digging themselves into a bigger hole. But as befits an extension of the CCP, they feel they have the right and ability to define new truths.
They would certainly like to convince themselves and the blue-ribbon/pro-Beijing camp. The 7-21 attacks destroyed the HKP’s reputation in a few hours. The force’s simple-minded management might see this rewrite as a morale-booster. The event also weighs on pro-Beijing politicians, who still fumble for an explanation of what happened.
Do the cops expect this fantasy to be believed by the rest of us? Their PR skills are dismal at the best of times – if you are reduced to insisting a cop was ‘pushing’ rather than ‘patting’ a gangster on the shoulder, you look like idiots. (They have massively pissed off moderate pan-dems, among others. Will this convince them to boycott LegCo?) Gwyneth Ho says…
It is not possible for the authority to distort the facts of the 721 incident unless the government of Hong Kong shut down Facebook and YouTube in Hong Kong.
Beijing’s officials – masters of these dark arts – are in charge behind the scenes, so more ‘sophisticated’ explanations offer themselves. Maybe the point is simply to lie brazenly as a display of unaccountability and power, to demoralise dissenters. Or to wear people down with yet another outrage to provoke yet more futile anger, ahead of more NatSec Law round-ups and more of Hong Kong’s continued fall.
The CCP has learnt through decades of guiding the masses toward correct thinking that by erasing inconvenient facts and replacing them with more defensible fake ones, it can ultimately reshape reality. In replicating this in Hong Kong, they aim at first to dilute or drown out the truth. In time, they hope, a Yuen Long ‘conflict between two sides’ story will become the default, or at least rival, account, because who knows what to believe? Then maybe they can rewrite that – and 7-21 will become a dastardly ambush by vicious commuters and pregnant women against innocent Yuen Long triads. Hey – it works in the Mainland, where nothing much happened on 6-4.