This article was originally published by Radio Free Asia and is reprinted with permission.
A pro-democracy lawmaker in Hong Kong on Monday had surgery to reattach his ear after it was bitten off by a man who was attacking people with a knife in a shopping mall on Sunday.
Andrew Chiu, a Democratic Party member of the city’s Legislative Council (LegCo), had a large amount of his left hear bitten off as he struggled with a man who had been seen attacking people with a knife, leaving four people in hospital.
Sunday night’s attack came after a weekend of protests that saw police once more engage in the widespread use tear gas to disperse crowds and cow local residents who protested against them.
Two people were in critical condition out of a total of 17 people who had been sent to hospital by 9.00 a.m. on Monday, the Hospital Authority said.
The injuries came after protests and clashes across the city over the weekend.
A student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was seriously injured after falling from the third to the second floor of a car park, apparently while trying to escape tear gas fired by riot police.
Students at the college held a rally on Monday night to support the student, identified only by his surname Chow, saying that police should be strongly condemned for refusing to allow an ambulance crew to approach him.
Hundreds of angry students faced off with the university’s president Wei Shyy for several hours, calling on him to publicly condemn Chow’s treatment at the hands of police.
Local media said Chow is in a critical condition, and a brain scan has shown internal bleeding, with a likelihood of permanent injury.
‘Keep our estate safe’
Local residents of Tseun Kwan O said they don’t want riot police in their housing estate, because they fire tear gas wherever they go.
“There are four kindergartens and an old people’s home on this estate, and if they fire tear gas, these are chemicals that are harmful to human health,” a local resident surnamed Lai said. “I think we have to try to keep our estate safe.”
She said police shouldn’t enter private housing estates unless they are responding to reports of a crime.
Meanwhile, journalists wore helmets to a regular police news briefing on Monday in a silent protest at the use of violence against reporters covering the protesters, but police accused them of troublemaking and having “forced” them to end the news conference.
The police spokespeople ended the briefing after asking journalists from RTHK, the Ming Pao, Stand News, Initium Media, AM730 and InMedia to remove the helmets, and then to leave. They refused, and the officials left.
Journalists’ associations have repeatedly condemned the police for arresting, tear gassing, pepper spraying, beating, and shooting media workers with rubber bullets and bean bags.
Political commentator To Yiu-ming said the journalists’ actions had been moderate and non-disruptive.
“They want the police to face up to their violence against journalists, and that’s not going to happen if all they do is ask questions at a press conference,” To said. “There has been some very serious violence by police against journalists in the past few weeks,
“[Police have shot them, sprayed them with pepper spray, as well as shoving and threatening them, and obstructing their reporting,” he said. “You have to bear in mind proportionality … I thought this was a pretty mild-mannered protest.”
Protests enter fifth month
Public anger has continued to simmer in Hong Kong as Beijing has warned of a political crackdown as anti-government protests enter their fifth month.
In a sign that anger is also shifting in the direction of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, protesters vandalized the headquarters of state-run Xinhua News Agency on Saturday, breaking panes of glass and setting fires in the entrance hall.
The vandalism comes after weeks of the targeting of China-linked businesses by some protesters.
“This is serious provocation that crosses a red line in a civilized society,” Qiu Hong, deputy director of Beijing’s Central Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said. “[It] must be severely punished according to the law.”
An article in the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily accused pro-democracy lawmakers of inciting violence and dividing Hong Kong society.
“They are trying to destroy the fabric of Hong Kong society, create social rifts, and destroy law and order in Hong Kong,” the paper said.
Beijing’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission also hit out at the attacks, likening them to “mob behavior” and “creating terror.”
Hong Kong journalists’ associations have also condemned the attacks on Xinhua.