Hong Kong Police Teargas Peaceful Shoppers Without Warning

Former Hong Kong Parliamentarian Ray Chan reports on what looks like a nearly random teargas attack by local police, on people who weren't even protesting. Chan tweeted on Sunday that the attack took place "in the heart of #HongKong's shopping, district, Causeway Bay, there were no protesters, just reporters, shoppers & bystanders." Erin Hale, a freelance journalist and Hong Kong correspondent for the German Press Agency confirmed to Chan that "no warnings had been given" by police before firing.

Here's the video. See for yourself.

You see several members of the press on the scene, so it's not unreasonable to conclude that trouble was expected at Causeway Bay. Still, the police fired immediately and without warning, hitting a journalist with the teargas canister. It seems that, absent an actual protest, the police were happy enough just to intimidate a few journalists.

And here's another clip, this one of police firing on actual protestors.

BBC's China correspondent Stephen McDonell tweeted early Monday about his taxi ride to the airport, where his driver "wouldn’t let me pay because he said he was so grateful to the international media." McDonell also wrote that the driver's action was "especially significant," considering that the damage done to tourism by months-long protests, and the driver's resulting loss of income. And that "it’s surprising how many small business people support the protestors."

On reflection, I'm not sure how surprising that really is. Hong Kong elites can afford to have exit plans in place, and the poor don't have anything to lose. If Beijing squashes Hong Kong, it will be mostly the middle class/small business owners who pay the price.

High school kids are getting into the action as well.

But it's this last item that really must give Beijing the night sweats.

And as I saw on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, "Be the America that Hong Kong thinks we are."