Last Updated on July 2, 2020
While the West continues grappling with how to handle policing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, with calls to abolish or reimagine policing being heeded in major cities, Chinese police greeted renewed protests in Hong Kong with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets.
Protests erupted after China passed a new law greatly expanding its power to punish dissenters in Hong Kong, and with the new legislation backing them, police met protesters fighting for the right to disagree with the government with a variety of crowd control measures that are quickly being banned across the United States.
In one video, police pursued protesters while firing pepper balls at them as they ran away from the scene.
Police chase protesters gathered at Times Square and fire pepper balls at them in a day of protests against the new national security law.
Video: SCMP/Zoe Low pic.twitter.com/6ZTkd12hDQ
— SCMP Hong Kong (@SCMPHongKong) July 1, 2020
Following clashes between protesters and police in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, pepper balls were specifically banned in Seattle, where the government and local media referred to them as “chemical weapons.”
A federal judge also temporarily restrained the Denver Police Department from using pepper balls or other similar crowd control measures during protests following Floyd’s death.
Chinese police were also seen using fire hoses and water cannons to break up protests, an act a police chief in Colorado was sacked for endorsing in a joke written on social media.
Hong Kong police have arrested more than 300 people for 'illegal assembly' as part of new security laws forbidding protests encouraging 'seccession, subversion and terrorism'. pic.twitter.com/9wBmlNGJn2
— SBS News (@SBSNews) July 2, 2020
In another video, a police officer dressed in riot gear draws his weapon and points it at a protester.
A Hong Kong police officer draws his weapon and points it at demonstrators during a day of protests against a new national security law imposed by the Chinese government. pic.twitter.com/Vo74oEz7KM
— ABC News (@ABC) July 2, 2020
Reports indicate more than 300 protesters were arrested during the recent unrest in Hong Kong, and unlike in the United States where protesters frequently have their charges dropped, sometimes with police being charged instead, there is no indication that Chinese authorities are offering leniency for those living in Hong Kong who may occasionally disagree with the Communist Party.
Minneapolis has quickly become ground zero for exploring new methods of policing, with the local government recently voting in favor of replacing the existing police department with a “community-led public safety system.”