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HUMAN RIGHTS

Hong Kong police chief rejects claims in US report on human rights

Andy Tsang takes issue with a US report on human rights that highlights local criticism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 2:16am
 

An official US report on human rights in Hong Kong has drawn attention to local concerns over freedom of assembly and claims that police are turning to aggressive, abusive tactics.

Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung yesterday rejected those accusations as unfounded.

The report, compiled by the US State Department and sent to Congress, looks at human rights around the world. On Hong Kong, the report stated that while the government "generally respected" the rights of freedom of assembly in practice, "activists and pan-democratic legislators expressed concern that the government took a more restrictive view of protests at the central government liaison office".

"Demonstrators continued to claim that their ability to protest had become increasingly difficult due to Hong Kong Police Commissioner Andy Tsang," the report said. "Some activists also alleged that police faced no penalty for making arrests that ultimately were not prosecuted or were dismissed by the courts."

Tsang said that of about 7,500 public events held last year, only 40 involved police arrests.

"Nearly 70 per cent [of the arrests] were made because other people's rights or property were affected," he said. "The police took action on reports. I totally disagree with any remarks that say the police suppress freedom of expression or assembly."

Earlier, police sent a serious crime unit from the Sha Tin district crime squad to investigate a case involving graffiti that said "Xi Jinping Go To Hell", which appeared on a wall at Kam Kwai House, Kam Fung Court, Ma On Shan. A man was charged with criminal damage and will appear in Sha Tin Court on Wednesday.

The report said the Basic Law "limits the right of residents to change their government peacefully. The government stated that the current method of selecting [functional constituency] legislators did not conform to principles of universal suffrage, but it took no steps to eliminate the FCs".

The report cited complaints over the South China Morning Post's handling of a June 7 report on the death of dissident Li Wangyang as an example of what some media watchers said was a troubling sign for press freedom.

Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said the 2012 report levelled "straightforward and severe criticism" against the city's human rights condition.

A government spokesman said the advice of the Department of Justice would be sought if police intended to press charges against anyone arrested over public order.

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daily
Here is the main problem with HK government officials........they reject claims on anything and from anyone.......without considering if there's any validity or truth to whether it's the US or anyone making claims against HK government's deficiency, the first thing they do is come out to reject the claims........This is what HK officials are best at doing...........period!
blue
Pretty much every single government in the world does this. I really hate it, but it's true.
gkuhl
>> Tsang said [...] last year, only 40 involved police arrests. "Nearly 70 per cent [of the arrests] were made because other people's rights or property were affected," <<
And what was the reason for the remaining 30% (12) arrests?
stoatmonster
The US State Department report sounds reasonably fair and balanced to me and I agree with its conclusions. It does not make any outlandish claims. Because I keep regular contact with friends and former colleagues in the Hong Kong Police, I can say with some authority that the Force has shifted its policing priorities from the prevention and detection of crime towards maintaining public order. There is increased sensitivity to anti-establishment events. Whereas minor breaches of public order used to be investigated and processed at the divisional (local police station) level, they are now handled by regional crime units or even the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau. There is a general perception of "overkill" amongst the middle and junior ranks of the police hierarchy with regards to their management's attitude and strategy towards the policing of public order events.
hkbulib2
The United States has a lot of chutzpah accusing others of not respecting rights of assembly and freedom of speech after the way it treated the Occupy Wall Street protestors and university students recently. In the US, something like the Falong Gong would have been cleared out years ago.
chaz_hen
Yes, the US Gov't does have its moments of "chutzpah" but at least its citizens can vote out representatives that they feel are not properly representing them.
VicSexton
that was going well until you mentioned the FG.
bobbylad11
Silly boy, not only is the Falun Gong legal in the United States its leader Li Hongzhi resides there. The USA was founded on the principle of religious freedom after its original settlers escaped religious persecution in England. Don't worry your poor grasp of facts probably won't stop you receiving the 5 Jiao for the message you posted.
jayb
US, religious freedom? try to go to any US airport and tell everybody there you are a devout muslim.... -:)

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