Monday, 14 July 2014

Quote of the Day: Provoking Quarrels and Making Trouble

Protesters being removed the morning of July 2 in Central by the police
When describing the pro-democracy protesters who sat overnight on Chater Road on July 1, The Junior Police Officers' Association used the phrase, "provoking quarrels and making trouble", which was hardly the case.

The association got a lot of heat for this because it's a well-worn one from the mainland, which is often translated as "picking quarrels and making trouble", and really means provocation and causing disturbances.

It is typically the phrase used when reporting the detainment or arrest of rights activists in China and have yet to find specific evidence to charge them.

In article 293 of China's Criminal Law, four types of activities are prohibited:

1) Casually attacking people;

2) "Chasing, intercepting, berating or intimidating" others, where the "circumstances are heinous";

3) Forcibly taking, destroying or occupying public or private property where the circumstances are serious;

4) Making a commotion and causing disorder in a public place.

In China a single offense by an individual is punishable by up to five years in prison, and up to 10 years for multiple group offenses.

As a result Chinese police like to use this vague phrase to detain anyone remotely considered to be a troublemaker even if they haven't provoked anyone.

So it's surprising to see the phrase "provoking quarrels and making trouble" has made its way south to Hong Kong -- where this criminal charge does not exist here.

If there's any need for proof of the "mainlandization" of Hong Kong, this is a good one.

Since when did Hong Kong police follow the lead of their counterparts up north? We have completely different judicial systems.

They need to remember which side they're on -- and it's not Beijing's.... yet.

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