The Hong Kong police arrested a white, American-looking man who was riding the subway home over the weekend, and footage of the incident quickly went viral. This comes among reports of rampant police brutality, which is perhaps what sparked the idea to spread the false story of the man being a United States CIA agent.
The unidentified man was recorded ranting about the state of politics in the region and arguing with police about why they were not allowed to return to Hong Kong. He was reportedly arrested after refusing to comply with police orders to evacuate the platform.
Watch the video below:
At one point, he can be heard asking, “do you agree with the rule of law?” It’s about this time when the police wrestle the man to the ground and zip-tie his hands behind his back.
Other videos show the man continuing to argue with authorities even as he is being dragged away.
“What charge is this? Otherwise, it is unlawful!” he can be heard yelling while being escorted out of the Lai King subway station by riot police.
#HongKongPolice arresting a foreigner without telling him what charges he is arrested for. #NoPoliceBrutality #HongKongProtests #SOSHK WE NEED HELP NOW. #StandwithHK @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/QPxwnUyYGM
— Jolisa (@Jolisa_unicorn) August 31, 2019
Bystanders attempted to reason with police, but to no avail. One voice can he heard asking the officers not to arrest the man because “he just wants to go home.”
In another video, the man who was arrested tells the police that he “want[s] to go that way,” but they do not allow him. He asks why, and then declares that “this is Hong Kong, not China.”
“Tell me WHY?”
“I want to go that way!”
“This is Hong Kong, not China!” pic.twitter.com/bfkHzajkVr
— antiELAB (@anti_elab) August 31, 2019
Following the highly-criticized incident, the Chinese media began circulating unconfirmed reports that the arrested man was an American CIA agent whose Chinese name is “Bao Weizhong.” This information — reported by popular Chinese news outlet NetEase in a since-deleted tweet — was attributed to a random “Chinese netizen.”
The Epoch Times reported on this story, and how China has ramped up disinformation campaigns in light of the pro-Democracy protests taking place in Hong Kong:
“The Chinese regime has launched an extensive social media disinformation campaign against the protesters in Hong Kong, including running narratives that the protests are the work of ‘terrorists,’ fomented by Western powers and ‘radical forces.'”
“Recently, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube suspended hundreds of accounts linked to a Chinese regime-backed information operation seeking to undermine the protest movement in Hong Kong.”
This is likely an attempt at casting Chinese authority in a more positive light and to blame the current chaos on the United States as opposed to their own authoritarian regime.
In August, The Guardian reported on accused uses of “excessive force” by Hong Kong police in a clash with protesters, after officers fired teargas into a subway station.
It was also revealed that officers posed as undercover protesters, with one civil rights organization claiming there is “very clear evidence to show the police are violating their guidelines.”
As the protests wear on, it appears that neither side is willing to back down from their beliefs.
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