9 votes

Hong Kong police families call for independent inquiry into protest clashes (translation of the demonstration's speakers in comments)


  1. Sahasrahla
    Though it's hardly the most dramatic thing to happen today (off the top of my head: water cannons used for the first time, guns drawn and pointed at protesters and journalists & at least one shot...

    Though it's hardly the most dramatic thing to happen today (off the top of my head: water cannons used for the first time, guns drawn and pointed at protesters and journalists & at least one shot fired in the air, protesters and police beaten, more white-shirted thugs with metal bars, protesters attacking a triad-linked establishment, more tear gas and arrests) I thought this offered an interesting and not-often talked about perspective. It's easy to dehumanize the police themselves and think of them as a monolith but whatever moral responsibility individual officers have they do not all have the same thoughts and have not all taken the same actions, and in the end the main responsibility for oppressing the people of Hong Kong lies with the totalitarian state that rules them.

    The live thread on Reddit included translations of the speakers at the police families demonstration and I think it's worth reading their words. What's below is copy-pasted from the live thread but any formatting errors are my own.

    The speakers are standing between banners that say “Return the police to the people.”

    Speaker 1 (woman in large sunglasses and blue medical mask):

    We have always been taught that police will help us and catch criminals. But we’ve been seeing lately something completely different including some emotionally unstable policemen, some commanders who are not commanding well, and criminals who are not being investigated. We can’t even sincerely tell a child that police are just.

    Besides the responsibility of Carrie Lam, we cannot forget that the HK Police has its own problems. This creates a large concern for the public. The police has gone overboard many times, but many police are still doing their jobs well.

    I’ve spoken to some frontline protestors. They said that there are some police who are good. They tell us to run, not to get hurt. They asked if being searched means they will be arrested. They don’t want their families to be disappointed or embarrassed. I said to them, “If the policeman has manners and will speak to you respectfully, you don’t have to be afraid.” My family member is one of these policemen.

    Upholding the law is a policeman’s duty. But approach is a choice. We still have good policemen around us. We, as family members, should speak out and encourage them to remember why they initially joined the police force.

    Speaker 2 (a woman wearing a grey, wide brim hat with silver sunglasses and black full-face mask):

    Policemen, I know you’ve had enough. Some of you have shut off. Others want to quit. But even if the whole world gives up on you, we, your family, won’t ever give up on you. We hope you will find your original motives for joining the police force.

    Your job is to protect the public, not treat the public as your enemy.

    Yes, protestors who broke the law should face the consequences, but while protestors may agree with this, what the public at large can’t accept is your methods of arresting the protestors and mistreatment of arrestees. If you continue, you will just devolve.

    If you can pass through and graduate from the police academy, then you have the strength and courage to do this: Stand up and protect the public and achieve justice. Yes, you should do what your superior says, but you should also speak up when what you are asked to do is wrong.

    Superiors, please stop ignoring your team’s voices. You cannot rely on being loud to be right. You must respect others.

    Policemen, when you are not happy with your work, please rethink your actions. Nobody likes white terror.

    You are all Hongkongers, too, and you want us all to be better.

    Look back at your actions. Yes, protestors may have done some things wrong, but you must understand that they are doing this because they want to improve Hong Kong, just like you do.

    You must have a lot of pressure on the front line, you have to stand there for hours. But you CANNOT let your emotions guide your actions against protestors. We all see your actions on TV.

    We see your misuse of power. In the future, will anyone trust you? Please, don’t be naive. Everyone has to answer for their actions, including you.

    Superiors, please reconsider what you’re making the troops do. When issues come up, you must resolve it. Please don’t continue your inside fighting.

    I hope that the police will not let hate blind them.

    We are your friends and family. We are scared and stressed and lost, but we don’t want this hate.

    Our five demands are identical to the protestors’ five demands.

    Police, don’t get pitted against the public while the government officials sit in their air conditioned offices.

    Please note: There is no Speaker 3.

    Speaker 4:

    Thank you to the organizers for putting this together so that we friends and family are not alone. Actually, we speakers don’t know each other.

    There shouldn’t be separation between blue and yellow. There should only be separation between black and white.

    I’m a police mom.

    Everyone has been expressing their frustrations. Civilians expressing their frustrations against the government. The police expressing their frustrations on civilians. Everyone is at each others’ necks. But the person who is actually responsible for this situation is hiding behind everyone.

    Everyone has heard of the fable about the Wind and the Sun betting each other on who can make a man take off his coat. The Wind blew harder and harder, but the man just clutched his coat tighter and tighter. Then the Sun came out and, with its warmth, made the man take off his coat. This fable teaches us that the greater the pressure, the greater the resistance.

    We see tear gas being fired everywhere and everyday to disperse civilians. But they can’t match Ma On Shan’s Officer Lam who used one microphone (but no turntables) to disperse the crowd. Matching strength against strength is useless. Can we just return to our kind selves?

    And, please, don’t throw oil on the fire. Otherwise, it matters not which side wins. We are going to lose Hong Kong, our family.

    The police force AND the government belongs to the people.

    Government, please put down your pride and come out to face us, the people, and answer our demands. Give us the truth.

    Return the police to the people.

    Now, I’d like to share my son’s feelings: When he was called in for duty, he was afraid and wanted to quit. But after thinking about it, he decided to go in and brave it. He would observe everything and create a model for himself. He hopes that, when he wears his uniform on the street, little kids will say to him, “Hello, officer. How are you?”

    Speaker 5:

    We hope that this rally will help return the police to the people so that the police can once again protect the public, and be a force for justice.

    Let’s chant! Return the police to the people! Government should fix governmental issues!

    Speaker 6:

    Thank you all for coming. We are all here to...not “prop up”...we really hate this term “prop up.” [Translator’s note: The blue, pro-Beijing camp has been referring to themselves as “propping up” or supporting the police.]

    We are the friends and family of police. That puts us in limbo because neither side acknowledges us.

    I’m the wife of a policeman. At the beginning, my husband thought he was a small part of the world, but he could help people with this job. He’s been to many crime scenes—robberies, drug raids, everything. At that time, he’d be working for days on end. I wasn’t scared then, even when we didn’t have mobile phones yet. I’d just read the papers. His job was simple then. It was just to protect the public and their property.

    But now, the police are being made to do a job that they weren’t designed to do.

    Bullets cannot satisfy the Five Demands.

    Some may say I sound very pro-protestor (yellow), but can we stop using these simple labels? They can never say everything that is in our hearts. For example, yes, there is a “representative” who speaks for the police, but does what he say really represent what all policemen think?

    Everyone wants respect. We shouldn’t use weapons to greet each other.

    School is about to start. I’m really worried that the children of police will be bullied or jeered.

    In countries governed by religious fanatics, people are treated as good or bad because they are one type or another. But that’s what we’re seeing here today.

    I have had a lot of disputes with my own family. It’s been painful for us. Here, I apologize to them. Actually, a difference in politics isn’t a big deal. Let’s sit down and talk about it.

    Speaker 7:

    The five demands of friends and family of police: 1) Government must resolve governmental issues; 2) HK Police management should provide official guidance on how to manage different circumstances in the field; 3) Provide a platform for the police and the public to discuss; 4) Police must prosecute fairly and justicely, and adhere to their oaths; and 5) Establish a completely independent commission to investigate the events that have happened in the past two months.

    Our main object is to provide support for police and their families.

    We don’t need colors. What we need are families to be able to sit together and have a dinner. We can’t even do that simple act. Can we do that? It’s the most important thing we can do right now. Please don’t increase the hatred.

    Some people say that protestors should not face the consequences for what they do because they are fighting for Hong Kong. This is dangerous. This is a civil society. We have all suffered through many things, but we have established a peaceful life. We can’t just let people break the law. What will Hong Kong be without police? [boos in the crowd]

    My name is Wong Lai-Yi.

    Speaker 8 (a man with no mask):

    Before I start, let me do this. [bows] This is for Hong Kongers.

    There are other marches today, but I came here because I thought this one is more meaningful.

    We are all Hongkongers. Let’s progress together.

    How can Carrie Lam say that youngsters have “no stake in the society?” She and I are born in the same year. You should help Hong Kong become more harmonious, not sow discord.

    We all must come out and speak, including our youngsters.

    It’s because of the government that we all have to come out. Look at the youngsters who put their time and effort into running for the Legislative Council. We all supported them and helped them campaign. But because of one ticky tack foul, you took that away from them. Is this good for Hong Kong?

    When we were handed back to China in 1997, there was a cultural rift. We have a western culture. But the government’s/Carrie Lam’s way of correcting issues is NOT what we are used to.

    On August 31, you are going to close the gates and not let us vote. You are going to give us 3 candidates and we have to choose from them. Look, WE are the ones finding a wife. YOU don’t have to give us three candidates! We don’t trust you.

    Please don’t put pit the civilians against the police. The police we know are wise. [crowd cheers and claps]

    Speaker 9 (a man with no mask in black and wearing backpack against his chest):

    Thank you to the families of police for coming out today. I know you are out here with the support of the police in your family.

    But look, this is a policy problem. Even if you have 30,000 policemen who are ALL good, that’s not going to do anything. Even if we have good policemen come out to speak, if the policy doesn’t change, it’s useless.

    I would like the families of police to bring this back to their police family members. Don’t be naive. There is no parent out here who would tell their kid to go up to a policeman and say hello. This will NEVER happen again.

    To the family of policemen, can you take one more step and stand with the Hong Kong people? And, since you are much more familiar with the internal policy and structure of the police force and how it relates to the government at large, can you speak more about that? That way we can target exactly what is wrong?

    Please tell your police family members: Please stop being naive. If the policy doesn’t change, you will always be a pawn of the government.

    Family of police: Please tell us about the internal policies and structure of the police so that we can target what exactly is the issue and we can change it together. [crowd claps and cheers]

    Speaker 10 (young woman with black floppy hat and black mask):

    I’m here by myself today. My family is split.

    When I asked them why my family member is brutally treating protestors. I even called them “black (corrupt) cops.” They responded with, “What black cops! I’ve never done anything against my conscience!” I’m never going to forgive this family member of mine who is a policeman.

    I once heard a first grader tell my family member who is a policeman, “Police are bad people.” I was angry. I told the kid that that’s wrong. Whether someone is bad is not determined by their job. This is a question of conscience. But the kid said nothing and looked at my family member with hate. I was afraid. Is this what Hong Kong must face?

    I agree that the issue is with the government. Bricks and bullets can’t fix this.


    Thank you for coming. We are now at the end of our rally. We are going to close with a ceremony. We will be broadcasting a song that is played when police academy students hear at their graduation ceremony (“passing out”). But we have written new lyrics and you have copies of these lyrics in your hands. This song was originally a song written by a German in the 1980s, and is now the Scottish national anthem.

    Music plays.


    Let’s read aloud the oath that police take.

    Organizer reads and crowd follows.


    We hope that the police in attendance will hear our voices and consider what you’ve heard today.

    After the rally closes, the family members of police will lead our march. Please support us and walk with us.

    Also, we have provided some cards for you to fill out and express your care for police and their families.

    The organizer and crowd chants:

    Return the police to the people!

    Don’t pit our police against our people!

    Establish an independent investigative commission!

    Frontlines isn’t your shield!

    Governmental problems must be resolved by the government.

    The right does not oppress. The wrong will not be forgiven.

    Return the police to the people! Do better!

    The march begins.

    4 votes
  2. [2]
    This is potentially a big development, from what I know of so-called color revolutions, if the police join the protesters then it's a matter of time until the revolution is successful. IIRC that's...

    This is potentially a big development, from what I know of so-called color revolutions, if the police join the protesters then it's a matter of time until the revolution is successful. IIRC that's exactly how it played out in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

    3 votes
    1. mundane_and_naive
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Considering the escalating violence happened later that same day, that path is going to be rocky.

      Considering the escalating violence happened later that same day, that path is going to be rocky.

      1 vote