The violence inflicted on Ming Pao's former chief editor is like a ball game in which the referee points out an injustice but becomes the subject of assault.
The parable came from mother-of-two Ida Chan, who with her husband took their children, aged nine and 11, to a meeting yesterday to pray for Kevin Lau Chun-to and the press.
"As the audience at the game, we cannot just sit there and do nothing," she said outside the government headquarters. "The case has galvanised many people to stand up, but it may also make journalists worry about whether they have gone overboard with their news reports."
As a liberal studies teacher, Chan also wanted to nurture the right response in her children. "We hope the children will learn to express their opinions through social participation to protect our core values."
The family joined the masses who gathered at Admiralty. Some were there for the second time since February 23, when a rally for press freedom was held.
"We have to come out when things go wrong," businessman Lawrence Kwong Yiu-ming, 69, said. "Hong Kong has changed. It's different from in the past. There are many things that we used to be able to say and do without so much unease."
A cultural studies graduate of Chinese University suggested exploring other means of defending the media, beyond conventional rallies. "It is evident that the marches we are so familiar with won't bring any significant change," Lo Yan-chi, 24, said. "We should take the fight to the next level," such as through civil disobedience or strikes, he said.
Another participant. housewife Jenny Lai, 61, turned up without her husband. "He preferred to sleep. I told him, if he didn't come, he would not have any more newspapers to read."
Also at the march was a mainlander who lives in Hong Kong.
Though a regular at many of the city's protests, he is pessimistic that social movements alone can defend local freedoms. "It will only get worse if the Communist Party is to stay in power."