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Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as rioters are confronted by US Capitol Police officers in Washington on January 6, 2021. Photo: AP

LettersCapitol Police officer’s clean chit a reminder of double standards on Hong Kong

  • Readers discuss police violence, the UN Security Council resolution on Afghanistan, pandemic lockdowns, the Gay Games and same-sex marriage
On August 23, US Capitol Police said they had cleared the lieutenant who shot dead a rioter during the January 6 storming of the Capitol building in Washington after an extensive investigation into whether he had done so unlawfully.

In April, the Justice Department said it would not pursue charges against the officer who fired his gun through the door leading to the House of Representatives chamber. The shot killed a woman who was among a crowd of people trying to breach the barricade erected because people were battering and shoving the doors.

I will remind readers that the rioters in this instance had smashed some windows of the entrance doors to the Speaker’s Lobby, but no fire bombs were thrown and neither were guns fired at those inside. The mob used sticks and other available hard objects to batter the doors, but there was no incontrovertible evidence that the shot fired by the officer was because any person on the inside of the building was in immediate danger of being killed or seriously injured.

The legal justification was based on the premise that had the mob succeeded in entering the building at that moment, the Congress members inside the building, who were being evacuated at the time, might have been endangered.

All told, five people died in connection with that mob incident in Washington. This is in a democratic country whose presidents keep lecturing China on needing to adhere to our shared human rights values and the “rules-based international order”.

Contrast this with the situation which Hong Kong police faced here during the recent turmoil in 2019 and 2020. Members of our police force were being assailed by crowds who threw petrol bombs and attacked officers and members of the public with steel rods and bricks. On the occasions when police officers did use their firearms, they did so because officers were under serious personal assault endangering their lives, and yet police still killed nobody.


China’s Rebel City: The Hong Kong Protests

China’s Rebel City: The Hong Kong Protests
Those demonstrators, politicians and other commentators, both here in Hong Kong and around the world, who have made public statements in the media and during television broadcasts accusing our police of brutality should reflect on the true realities and be ashamed of their malicious and false accusations.

P.A. Crush, Discovery Bay

Security Council abstention no cause for alarm

China and Russia abstained from voting on the UN Security Council’s resolution to urge the Taliban to provide safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarian access and respect women’s rights.

The two countries abstained because the resolution failed to address some of their concerns, such as the activities of other terrorist groups including Islamic State and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

While the resolution – meant as a statement of international expectations – might have more normative force if it were passed unanimously, the split should not be perceived as problematic at all. First, the Security Council should address the relevant and potent issues raised by China and Russia rather than leaving them out. China and Russia might not be the only ones who have such concerns.

Second, the council sought to pressure the Taliban to live up to its pledge to let people leave Afghanistan. In terms of reverse psychology, a unanimous resolution might exert too much pressure on Taliban and lead to reactance, or the feeling of not wanting to obey others. The minor split, with only two abstaining members out of 15, pushes for peace and improvement with the right amount of emphasis.

Martin Kwan, Mid-Levels

Pandemic can’t quash power of love

Recently, several newspapers carried reports of an Australian farmer who drew a heart with sheep as a tribute to his aunt. I was particularly touched by this story.

For more than a year, the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in countries imposing a range of restrictions, including strict lockdown measures. In Australia, this prevented farmer Ben Jackson from attending his aunt’s funeral.

I still remember that during the Lunar New Year this year, I cried bitterly because I couldn’t go back to the mainland to spend the festival with my parents. But at least I had many opportunities to reunite with my family later; I can only imagine Mr Jackson’s sadness at not having the opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one. I was moved by Mr Jackson’s affection for his aunt and his faith in love, which he termed “sensational”.

I have been living with my own aunt for three years now. I’d like to tell her, “I love you”.

Colin Xu, Tseung Kwan O

Lawmaker out of step with city on Gay Games

It is as pointless as it is exhausting responding to the homophobic hatred that flows from the mouth of Junius Ho Kwan-yiu (“Hong Kong Gay Games ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and threat to national security, lawmakers warn”, August 25). One wonders where his hatred of homosexuals stems from. His attempt to politicise the Gay Games reflects his own ignorance, but he shames Hong Kong, a city where the people are fortunately far more tolerant than him.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Time for Hong Kong to endorse same-sex marriage

I recently read about Indian-American gay couples who are finding new ways to solemnise their unions. I am so happy to see there are LGBTQ people who manage to ignore the questions of others and find their true love.

It is more common to see openly gay couples these days. More people have come to accept them. However, same-sex marriage is still not legal in many places, including Hong Kong.

It is legal for gay couples to marry even in Brazil, but not Hong Kong. I hope our government and lawmakers can change the law and everyone does not look upon the LGBTQ community differently.

Cheris Chan, Tseung Kwan O