Hong Kong protests: Police brutality vindicated by Beijing backed complaints commission

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Citizens of Hong Kong hope that the report would be a watershed and allow the two camps to address the many miscarriages of justice that saw teenagers beaten and incarcerated by law enforcement officers who were deemed as acting on behalf of Beijing’s interests. But Friday’s Independent Police Complaints Council, IPCC, called “A Thematic Study by the IPCC on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response” has been labelled “a whitewash which seeks to exonerate the actions of the Hong Kong Police Force” by the pro-democracy movement. The movement claim the report portrays the protesters as a pro-terrorist organisation and it has misled the public by ignoring Hong Kong Police Force’s, HKPF’s, abuse of power.

A statement by pro-democracy group Stand With Hong Kong read: “This escalation of rhetoric fits into a concerning pattern and raises alarms for further draconian actions.”

Pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong feel the scope of the IPCC’s investigatory powers, which excludes the ability to summon witnesses and compel the production of documents or evidence, calls into question the validity of its effectiveness in making a judgment on the actions of police during the months of conflict in 2019.

Casting more doubt on the validity in how the commission conducted its investigation was the fact that last December a panel of international experts withdrew from their advisory roles at the watchdog, citing the IPCC’s lack of independent investigative capability.

In the absence of transparent justice coming from the IPCC, the pro-democracy group Stand With Hong Kong called Magnitsky-style sanctions to be levied against individuals who have perpetrated human rights abuses in Hong Kong.

They also called on the UK to declare a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, saying: “The IPCC’s report is a whitewash of the events of the past year.

“The thrust of the report pins the blame for escalating tensions between Hongkongers and the Hong Kong Police Force on alleged ‘misunderstandings’ and ‘speculation’, ignoring the role of the HKPF as a handmaiden to the administration’s crackdown on free speech and protest.

“The failure of this purported ‘independent’ investigation commission to hold the HKPF to account over its violent, repressive actions, demonstrates the inadequacies of the current system.

It also shows that what was promised under the Basic Law, and guaranteed by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, that is, respect for civil liberties, human rights, and autonomy, is being eroded by the day.

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“They lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us.

It is time the world stands up and stops pretending to believe perpetrators of human rights abuses, and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

Hong Kong Watch, a group which promotes human rights, freedom, and the rule of law in Hong Kong, added a statement that read: “The Independent Police Complaints Council’s report is a shocking whitewash which shows that there is no viable mechanism in Hong Kong to ensure accountability either for police brutality or police complicity with violence by criminal thugs.

“With rights groups reporting incidents of torture in detention and routine excessive use of force, it is now time for the international community to establish an independent inquiry, to hold the perpetrators of violations of human rights in Hong Kong to account.

“The introduction of targeted Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible for such violations should then be considered.”

But, Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said the Independent Police Complaints Council’s (IPCC) thematic report on the public order events arising from the fugitive bill is comprehensive, objective, fact-based and weighty.

She made the response following the council’s submission of its Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response.

Mrs Lam said: “When the IPCC decided to undertake a proactive study in July last year, I welcomed its decision at that time and pledged that the Government would fully co-operate with the IPCC.

“The IPCC has examined a large volume of information and has made detailed and objective representation of facts in the report.
“The report is comprehensive, objective, fact-based, and weighty.”

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