Punctuation fans rejoice at RTHK’s headline ‘Activist faces new sedition charge, over shared mic’. The government is piling on sedition charges against pro-democracy broadcaster and activist Tam Tak-chi. Without the comma, the headline would suggest that all the charges have been over a shared mic. But thanks to the plucky little punctuation mark, it is clear that only the latest one is.
RTHK’s editors are also taking care to be impartial. A sloppier writer (ie me) might write ‘Activist faces new sedition charge – over shared mic’.
The government prosecutors allege that by passing someone a mic, Tam ‘conspired to utter seditious words’. This means ‘inciting hatred and contempt against the government’. A hyphen in that headline would imply a surprise – that something is amiss. It might implicitly suggest to readers that maybe it is the prosecutors, not Tam, who are encouraging hatred and contempt toward the government, and indeed further damaging the rapidly declining reputation of Hong Kong as a whole, perhaps making it look like the sort of place where consulates have plans to evacuate citizens and top officials excuse police perjury.
Fortunately for the government, RTHK is admirably grammatically correct and objective.
“Activist” faces new “sedition charge”… over shared mic!?
What is even happening any more?
In posts on social media on Thursday morning, the force said people can send tips anonymously by email or SMS, as well as one communication app, WeChat.
Oh yes, very anonymous! Do the police think we are all technologically stupid? (rhetorical question expecting the answer “yes”)
So great to hear The Jam’s In the City again with lyrics so apt…
“I wanna say, I wanna tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears”
(Eat your heart out Knownot!)
“In the city there’s a thousand men in uniforms
And I’ve heard they now have the right to kill a man
We wanna say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea…”
So is the part in the story where, when a neighbour privately grouses to me about the stupid cop pigs, I say to her, “Ohm, mmmmm mmm yes… well have a good day,” and then quickly run off?
How do I know that my neighbours are not framing me by trying to lure me into compromising conversations? Should I check them for a wire?