|The Police Officer who forcibly removed and detained the Reporter|
The news reported*:
Increasing intervention from Central Chinese Government and heavy – handedness of the police against peaceful protesters – evidenced by more frequent and intense use of pepper spray and assignment of restricted areas for media – only serve to show the ‘mainlandisation’ (i.e. a complete disregard of human rights) of the Hong Kong police.
The above news report is one of the other many examples showing police force against dissidents and protesters are dubiously illegal, unnecessary and disproportionate.
Admittedly, freedom of speech and freedom of movement (as stipulated in Article 27 and 31 of Basic Law respectively) are not absolute rights but restrictions are only justified provided they pass the legality, necessity and proportionality test.
From the facts in the news, the police officer did not even bother to give reply to a question from one journalist on what guidelines he relied on that delegated him the power to forcibly remove and detain the reporter.
Neither it seems necessary in a democratic interest in the interests of national security or public safety and public order for him to not only remove but to detain him for another 15 minutes. Surely asking a question, though a political sensitive one, to President Hu Jintao will not disrupt the public safety or order, on the face of a large amorphous army of black – suited guards, along with numerous police officers and other unknown covert policemen, and let alone damaging any national security.
The force is only proportionate when it rationally connects with a legitimate purpose and is no more than necessary for accomplishing it. Granted, protecting President Hu is a legitimate purpose but it is his personal safety that matters, not his face. The purpose of the police officer is to save President Hu from a politically sensitive question, at the great expense of infringing human rights.
The means employed are neither rational nor no more than necessary. From the TV news, President Hu has already gone after he heard the Reporter’s question. In other words, the police officer’s removal and subsequent detainment were wholly irrational and unnecessary, as further questions from the Reporter would have gone unheard or unheeded when President Hu was already out of sight.
Hence the police officer’s force toward the Reporter is illegal, unnecessary and disproportionate. It is not a scarecrow or a fallacious slippery slope logic to argue one compromise following another for the Hong Kong police will eventually mean a complete ‘mainlandisation’ of the whole police force. Accumulated reports and this incident are only too obvious to show this sad and unfortunate trend.
* The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, below is an excerpt:
‘Police forcibly removed a journalist from a press area after he shouted a question about the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown to President Hu Jintao while the president was visitng the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Saturday.
As Hu walked by the press area accompanied by government officials, the Apply Daily reporter shouted “President Hu, the people of Hong Kong want the truth behind June 4 to be revealed, do you know this?”
Hu heard the question and turned to the journalist before continuing on his way without responding. The reporter was immediately taken by a policeman to a stairwell where he was questioned for 15 minutes and eventually reprimanded
He told me that my yelling was breaking the rules,” said the reporter…’