New report into Hong Kong police brutality is whitewash which seeks to exonerate the actions of the Police Force

Friday, May 15, 2020 12:00 PM

As anticipated, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) report (“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”) published today, is a whitewash which seeks to exonerate the actions of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) by portraying the protesters as a proto-terrorist organisation and mislead the public by ignoring HKPF’s abuse of power. This escalation of rhetoric fits into a concerning pattern and raises alarms for further draconian actions.

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 a report produced with the "full support" of Hong Kong's Chief Executive and the administration under question. This investigative power was previously called into question last December when a panel of international experts withdrew from their advisory roles at the watchdog due to its lack of powers and independent investigative capability. Stand With Hong Kong reaffirms that the police have used and continue to use excessive force in contradiction with international best practices.

Stand With Hong Kong calls for the international community to punish perpetrators of human rights abuses through Magnitsky-style sanctions, and for Britain to declare a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

“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 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.

“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:

"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," said Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch.

About “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

We are a completely independent, grassroots, crowdfund-initiated group of individuals who have come together to fight for freedom and democracy for Hong Kong. Our members come from all walks of life, and are united with a shared vision.

In the past 22 years, we have witnessed China's erosion of Hongkongers’ fundamental freedoms, human rights, and rule of law. China's conduct has been in breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration—a legally binding treaty—which also forms the basis of the 1992 US Hong Kong Policy Act. Shocked and heartbroken at the recent events in Hong Kong and our government’s intransigence, we seek to mobilise the international community to stand with us in our fight for freedom.