China media defend Hong Kong police

Media in China defend Hong Kong's police force after reported scuffles between officers and pro-democracy protesters. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mainland papers have urged Hong Kong police to 'restore order'

Media in China have defended Hong Kong's police force after several clashes between officers and pro-democracy protesters.

Police and protesters in Hong Kong scuffled for a second night on Thursday as a group of demonstrators tried to re-occupy a main road near government buildings.

The unrest comes after more serious clashes on Wednesday during which some police officers were filmed beating and kicking an unarmed protester.

Police are investigating the incident, which has sparked public outrage.

Making no mention of the scuffles, the Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily, praise the police for "taking decisive actions" in "dispersing the protesters" to ensure smooth traffic on the roads.

The People's Daily report blames protesters for causing disturbances for the past few nights, and points out that they had "even surrounded the police" while the law enforcers had "used the minimal force" to stop the actions that "endanger public safety and disrupt social order".

"The police had arrested 45 people in their operation… Four police officers were injured during the process," notes the report.

The paper says that the police "have the backing of the people" and they should "swiftly clear up the streets to restore order in Hong Kong".

Without making reference to the protest in the former British colony, a separate report in the Xinhua News Agency gives a lengthy description of how US police officers had "forcefully dispersed protesters" who were involved in previous "Occupy" movements.

"The Occupy Wall Street campaign lost its popularity not only because the protesters had affected the lives of others, but also because they had broken the tolerance of the American law," notes the report.

Describing the Hong Kong protesters as "foolish", the Global Times Chinese edition urges the society to "help the protesters in controlling their extreme emotions and see the situation clearly".

Lashing out at the US for supporting the protesters, the editorial points out that the US "will not stand a chance" in "openly confronting China over Hong Kong affairs".

"Hong Kong is not the Middle East or Ukraine. The Chinese government has multiple levels of ability as well as abundance of resources to control the Hong Kong situation," says the article, adding that "for Hong Kong's own sake, Occupy Central must end".

Different views

In contrast to the subdued reporting in the mainland, media outlets in Hong Kong are widely reporting the scuffles between the police and the protesters, while giving different views over the incident.

Blaming the protesters for provoking the police and criticising them for "playing victim", the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao daily points out that the police had "adopted a high level of tolerance" when dealing with the "illegal" movement.

"The oppositions accused the police for behaving lawlessly even before investigations can conclude. Their political motive is very clear. They are using this incident to demonise the police, hoping to see the abolishment of the use of force. They are using the incident as a bargaining chip with the government," says the paper.

In an equally strongly worded editorial, the Apple Daily lambasts the police for "not remaining politically neutral".

"They are helping the thugs from the anti-Occupy camp and are acting unprofessionally. Now they have even discarded the basic discipline that is required of the force," says the paper, noting that the protesters had not resorted to violence or destroyed public properties during the movement.

It adds that "the police force and the Hong Kong government are shielding the officers".

"This ambiguous attitude makes one wonder if the police were acting out of impulse or is this a malicious strategy to provoke anger from the public to trigger more conflicts so as to create the reasons to clear up the sites with force," notes the paper.

The daily urges the protesters to stick to the "peaceful and non-violent principle" and not to fall into the "trap" of the "opponents who include the anti-Occupy group and the police".

Worrying that violence might escalate, the Ming Pao daily notes that "some protesters had deviated from the peaceful movement" and urges law enforcers to exercise restraint even when facing violence.

"We still hope that the police are able to handle the campaign properly and let it end peacefully without the need for outside forces to interfere," says the paper.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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