HONG KONG, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Tough times do not last but tough people do. Recently, police officers in Hong Kong have been facing some of their toughest days to date, but they are braving through with unwavering determination to stand tall as the last defense of law and order.
On Sunday, 15 police officers were injured while battling a mob of rioters who were hurling petrol bombs and bricks from behind roadblocks and battered officers with iron bars in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.
For almost three months, the police in Hong Kong have been fighting violent rioters with bravery and restraint. The challenges and danger they face every day are a touchstone of their character as one of the finest police forces in the world.
It takes courage to stand up to mobs. It takes valor to risk oneself to save others. It takes professionalism to act with restraint even when attacked. It takes grit to find the courage and strength to fight outlaws on the streets day in and day out.
Yet the police force is, to some extent, not getting the credit and respect they deserve. Exhausted and embattled, many officers came home to find their families harassed by radical protesters and their children under the fear of being bullied at school.
Protest organizers have launched an extensive smear campaign against the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF). They have conjured up rumors and conspiracy theories, spreading vicious slander against the police. False accusations of police brutality are splattered all over the internet.
A photo of a police officer hitting non-protestors with his shield had been widely used as proof of police brutality. Video footage later revealed that the officer was holding his shield up to protect passersby as he escorted them out of the danger zone.
The campaign against the police was not only directed at the officers but also their families. Radical protesters are employing aggressive doxxing to intimidate officers' wives and children on the internet. Personal information of thousands of police officers and their family members were leaked in just two months. Rioters threw bricks at the windows of police living quarters. Radicals even instigate bullying of officers' children at school.
Some unbalanced press reports are also not helpful. Police scrutiny is one thing, it is another thing to focus almost entirely on the police, finding fault with every move they make, while turning a blind eye to the violent acts of rioting mobs.
Plenty of local and Western media ran headlines on Hong Kong police officers drawing guns on Sunday. However, few zoomed in on how rioters threatened officers' lives and vandalized shops and vehicles and even less cared about the officers who have been injured while fighting criminals.
In truth, the HKPF has been highly disciplined in handling the riots. As a senior officer said, they would allow a certain amount of damage and violence and issue repeated warnings before intervening. Police officers in other parts of the world, including the United States, would have acted far more aggressively in similar circumstances.
Agitators of violence are doing everything they can to tarnish the reputation of the police and discourage officers because they know the police are the bedrock of peace and stability in Hong Kong. That is exactly why peace-loving people must voice their support for the police and condemn slander and harassment.
Despite being smeared by radicals, harassed at home and wronged by many, the police officers remain firmly committed to their sacred mission as guardians of the people and defenders of law and order.
For many years, the HKPF has been a source of pride and inspiration for residents of Hong Kong. Thanks to the competent and valiant officers, the world sees Hong Kong as one of the safest places on the planet.
The police officers are putting their lives on the line to keep crimes and violence at bay. Call them who they are: heroes of Hong Kong.