China’s top law enforcement agency has shown its support for Hong Kong’s embattled police by delivering 650 boxes of mooncakes to the force’s dormitories and stations ahead of Friday’s Mid-Autumn Festival.
The festive gifts were sent after an online campaign titled “I want to send hometown delicacies to Hong Kong Police”, launched last Friday by Chang An Jian, an official social media account of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, Beijing’s top political body responsible for law and order.
The commission – a Communist Party organ, rather than a government body that police report to – said in a blog post that seven people had donated about 150,000 yuan (US$21,000) between them.
The campaign represents the latest display of mainland support for the force, with no end in sight to mass protests in Hong Kong triggered in June by opposition to an extradition bill that would have allowed the transfer of criminal suspects to mainland China. Hong Kong police have faced numerous accusations of excessive use of force during the unrest.
But the mooncake delivery was complicated by customs regulations, with most major Chinese courier services unwilling to take deliveries containing processed meat and egg yolk across the border with Hong Kong.
“[We] were panicking because a lot of enthusiastic netizens had their salted duck and mooncake deliveries to Hong Kong rejected by couriers!” a Chang An Jian blog post said on Wednesday night.
In the end, 650 boxes of mooncakes that were bought from Hong Kong were sent to police dormitories and stations on Wednesday evening.
Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important traditional Chinese holiday after Lunar New Year.
“[The mooncakes] were from Maxim’s, a company that loves the country and loves Hong Kong!” the blog post also said.
Annie Wu Suk-ching, whose father co-founded the Maxim’s chain, last week spoke out against the anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
She was lauded by Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily for “clearly adhering to the one country principle” – referring to “one country, two systems”, the principle under which Hong Kong was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy after it was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
One of Maxim’s biggest rival mooncake manufacturers in Hong Kong, Taipan Bread and Cake, had its products removed from shops across the Chinese mainland and from its biggest e-commerce sites, Tmall.com and JD.com, after the son of its founder was vilified by People’s Daily for a Facebook post that the newspaper said showed he backed the protests.
Recipients of the mooncakes included a police officer who in July was hailed as a hero by Chinese state media and nicknamed “bald sergeant Lau Sir” after pointing a shotgun at protesters who had besieged a police station. Lau has since been invited by Beijing to attend a grand celebration on October 1 for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Beijing has focused attention on the violent elements of the Hong Kong protests in its social media posts and media coverage, while businesses have been carefully monitored and expected to toe Beijing’s line on condemning violence and supporting one country, two systems.
“Hong Kong Police have been having a very difficult time,” said one mainlander, surnamed Lu, in a video posted by Chang An Jian. “We want to cheer them up.”
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