Hong Kong’s 34,000 policemen and the force as a whole are approaching a decision point—or perhaps, the People’s Republic of China’s President Xi Jinping is about to force a decision on them.
With Hong Kong’s summer of unrest escalating, its police are in a bind. The local population increasingly accuses them of inflaming protester rage by using excessive force, while mainland Chinese authorities are exhorting them to get tougher to resolve the crisis.
Violence? With the Hong Kong police, it’s becoming fairly routine to use tear gas and truncheons. Protestor-originated violence has remained isolated and rare.
Raising the stakes further are ominous hints that China could deploy its military to restore order if officials in Beijing conclude local authorities can’t handle a crisis….
Hence the approaching decision. Those 34,000 police will have to make a decision when the 6,000 PLA soldiers garrisoned in HK make their move. On whose side are they?
one officer…said he is trying to tune out the politics. “It’s not my job to think too much about it. It’s useless what I think,” said the officer.
He may have no interest in politics, but politics has an interest in him. And he remains a citizen of Hong Kong, for all that he’s also a cop.
In the end, it appears the police have chosen their side. This just yesterday:
In a shift of tactics, police in riot gear charged groups in several districts: In one subway station, they used batons to beat protesters who were running away and pinned several to the ground; in another, snatch squads grabbed protesters from the streets; barrages of tear gas and rubber bullets were fired in another clash outside a police station.