Not the kind of adding oil we want to see!
I guess Communist China didn't get its wish on its 70th birthday...
Hong Kong's least popular Chief Executive ever held yet another one of her ridiculous press conferences today. At least this one didn't take place at 4am and Carrie Lam didn't drop a bombshell at it like she did four days ago with her invocation of a colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance to introduce a Face Covering Regulation. However, she did raise many people's blood pressure and eyebrows with her statement that it's too early to say if that controversial -- to say the least -- regulation is a failure.
Consider this: the very announcement that the regulation would be implemented led to spontaneous protests that began with thousands of workers going out onto the streets of Central and spreading to virtually every other district of Hong Kong. A good measure of the scale of the protests can be seen in the Hong Kong police having fired of a total of 267 rounds of tear gas, 106 rubber bullets and various bean bag rounds, sponge grenades and live rounds of ammunition between last Friday and yesterday. And a good measure of the de facto shutting down of Hong Kong that ensued can be seen by way of the MTR shutting down earlier than is usual for a Friday night last Friday, not being in operation all day Saturday (bar for limited service between Central and the airport), having limited service and closing early at 6pm yesterday, and staying open only until 8pm today.
During this same period, the police report that they have arrested 241 protesters; 77 of whom were charged with violating the mask ban. Gone uncounted are the number of people the force that most definitely is no longer Asia's finest have traumatized by doing such forcing themselves into a mall -- through the closed doors and cordon of security guards -- to assault people inside it (at Ma On Shan last night), threateningly seemingly random people -- including, one more than on occasion now, parents walking around with their child -- with arrest and ripping protective tear gas masks off the faces of journalists (despite journalists being exempt from the face covering ban).
Together with the regulation Carrie Lam introduced on Friday and the extradition bill she had sought to make law, the police brutality and officers acting like they are above the law when ostensibly enforcing the law is what has fueled so much of the fury that has made protesters out of peace-loving Hong Kongers. It is utterly tragic when one realizes that if Carrie Lam had withdrawn the extradition bill before the police over-reaction of June 12th (rather than dragged her feet to do so until September 5th), pretty much all of the tumult that Hong Kong has undergone in the more than 100 days since may well not have taken place (and there would have been just one demand to satisfy the protest camp).
As it stands, many of the people out on the streets were loudly chanting this weekend that there were now six demands, not five -- with the sixth being the disbandment of the Hong Kong police force. And possibly in light of Carrie Lam having added too much oil to the flames that are engulfing Hong Kong, protesters are no longer chanting "Hong Kong yan, ga yau" (Hong Kongers, add oil)" but, instead, the more incendiary "Hong Kong yan, fan kong (which has been translated both as resist, and revolt)!