Police chief defends editing of '1967 riots' history on website

September 16, 2015 14:44
Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo says the police website was revised so that users would find it easier to read. Photos: RTHK, Apple Daily

Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said there is no political agenda involved in the revamp of the official website of the Hong Kong Police following criticisms that it was being sanitized.

Lo said the objective of the exercise was simply to trim down the content of the website so viewers would find it easier to read, Ming Pao Daily reported on Wednesday.

Critics said certain parts of the police history, such as the Leftist Riots of 1967, were modified to sanitize the role of communists in the riots.

But Lo maintained that the revamp was intended to conform with the reading habits of people nowadays, adding that web links to the “full version” of the content will be provided in the simplified version.

The police chief did not say whether the hyperlinked “full version” would be the same as the original version, which makes mention of leftist rioters making bombs on school campuses and forming a committee dedicated to starting riots against the police.

Gary Cheung Ka-wai, a scholar and author of "Hong Kong's Watershed: The 1967 Riots”, said the police, by revising the content, were being disloyal to history, to say the least.

Cheung said it was a pity that history cannot be accurately depicted on the police website.

Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Lo’s explanations were far from convincing as he could not quite explain why other parts of the police website were not being simplified.

Lau said the editing of the content appears to be passing the blame for the riots from the Communist Party and the pro-communists in Hong Kong to the British administration.

As the Chinese saying goes, the police are deceiving themselves by covering their ears while stealing a bell, Lau added.

Pan-democrat legislator James To Kun-sun wondered if the police adopt a similar approach when taking statements for suspects, that is, to freely omit some of the key points through an act of summarization.

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