Some days in Hong Kong are Orwellian; others are more Kafkaesque. Yesterday was one of the latter.
Schoolchildren in Plot to Blow Up MTR Stations. Police display plastic bags containing cash, BB guns and walkie-talkies (the sort of toy guns and walkie-talkies used by annoying teenage cosplay-soldiers in country parks). Also, Guy Fawkes masks and coffee filters. The cops say they found ingredients for making TATP – a peroxide-acetone mixture plus an acid. As pointed out here, this could mean hair bleach, nail polish remover and toilet cleaner.
Look – maybe there really is such a plot, with a ’revolutionary group’ and its $10,000 in sinister ‘foreign currencies’. It’s just that after the last four, five or whatever ‘bomb factories’ and other such contrived-looking alarms since 2019 (plus real MTR atrocities in Yuen Long and Prince Edward), people are jaded and skeptical. Especially when we have senior officials ranting things like…
Mourners for attackers will become terrorists. Security Secretary Chris Tang even hints at arresting an academic who analyzed the Sogo flower-laying as ‘sympathy for someone who died or to register discontent with the government’. No-one expects cops-turned-cabinet secretaries to be nuanced or subtle when others contradict their line on National Security-threatening Terrorist Violence Mayhem, but it’s starting to feel like we’re headed towards criminalization of views that don’t echo the ‘heroic police/security state’ line. And there are those credibility-sapping frantic HK Police outta control hashtagging tweets. And then…
Carrie Lam says ‘ideologies’ threaten Hong Kong’s youth. (Oh for the days when it was ‘Hey Kids – Say No to Drugs’!)
Government departments “shouldn’t allow illegal ideas to filter through to the public through education, broadcasting, arts and culture, beautifying violence and clouding the conscience of the public,” Lam said.
“I also call on parents, principals, teachers, and even pastors to observe acts of teenagers around them. If some teens are found to be committing illegal acts, they must be reported.”
Not creepy at all! Among today’s list of pro-democracy bodies disbanding to avoid being rounded up for thought-crimes: an alliance of protesters’ parents, HK Psychologists Concern, and a group of actuaries.