• wethepeopleofhk

Hong Kong’s Dehumanitarianism – an urgent appeal for international mediation 香港的非人道主義主義–國際調解的緊急呼籲

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

(Please scroll down for Chinese translation 繁体中文请往下滑).

Source 9 December 2019


By Dr. Darren Mann, a British surgeon based in Hong Kong. 香港外科醫生Darren Mann

Did you forget somebody’s anniversary this year? Did you forget everybody’s anniversary this year? December 10th is World Human Rights Day, a symbolic commemoration of the day in 1948 when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A humanitarian landmark.

Imagine some more…

Can you imagine a world where that momentous event had never happened? A dehumanitarian world?

Close your eyes. I want you to imagine a city of violence; a fractured place where the people wage a war against their government. Imagine that you are injured in those protests, in a violent confrontation with law enforcement. You call for an ambulance. But a police car arrives. And you are arrested. Or an ambulance arrives. With police inside instead of ambulance men. And you are arrested.

Imagine a city where you are taken to hospital. Injured. And you are secretly allocated a tracking code, which labels you as an enemy of the state – and which is accessed by the police. They are the ones who patrol the hospital. And who arrest you.

Imagine a city where you need an emergency operation for your injuries, and the police request to enter the operating theatre. You wake up from the emergency surgery. And you are arrested in your recovery bed, perhaps by the very policeman who shot you.

Imagine the city that you return to after leaving the hospital. With the bullet still inside your body. Or not, it doesn’t matter. Because your Hospital Discharge Certificate reads: ‘trauma injury, unspecified cause’. Because the doctors have been warned not to diagnose an injury attributable to the police.

Who is caring for your children?

Imagine that City when you try to take legal action against the policeman who shot you. At recklessly close range. And you are told he cannot be identified. Ever. Because he was excused from wearing his identification number. In fact, none of the police have an identification number. Or a face. They are anonymous on duty, acting with the security of impunity sanctioned by a higher authority.

Imagine your City University. Where the students (your children) are protesting to protect their vision of the future. Their future. Their city. Their identity. And they are wounded. And hurting. And dehumanised. There is nobody to comfort them. Or treat them. This is because all the nurses and doctors who volunteered to care for them have been arrested. They are made to kneel with their wrists bound behind their backs. Arrested, arrayed and humiliated like so many red-crossed terrorists. (See article on Korea’s Tiananmen by Finnish journalist Rauli Virtanen).

Imagine your City Teaching Hospital, where the doctors have sworn an oath of allegiance to the Government. Not to Hippocrates. So nobody trusts the Government Hospital system anymore. And a new underground system of doctors and nurses, and clinics and hospitals has flourished to provide care in safety and security. With your human rights and confidentiality respected.

Open your eyes. Welcome to Hong Kong.

Now imagine what would it take to ‘rehumanise’ this place. Could the government and the people do it amongst themselves? Anymore than the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland could have on their own? (See Global Geneva article on One Man’s War for Dignity, the book on human rights activist Kevin Doyle by Hong Kong-based journalist Mike Chinoy, who also compares the situation to that of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland).

Surely not. A mediator. A good faith actor. Equally acceptable (or unacceptable) to both sides. A conduit through which the delicate shoots of a resolution can be channeled, to take root in the soil of the imagination of the other side. That is what is needed. And urgently so. Is that really so far beyond our collective humanitarianism ?


By Lord David Alton, Member of the UK's House of Lords, Patron to Hong Kong Watch. 19 December 2019


It was highly disturbing to hear the testimony of a Hong Kong surgeon given last night at a Hearing which I chaired at the House of Lords. 

A British surgeon who has been working in Hong Kong for 25 years yesterday described the arrest and abuse of doctors, nurses and first aiders at recent protests in Hong Kong, as well as other abuses of Hong Kong’s health system, as a violation of international humanitarian norms. The Hearing was organised by Hong Kong Watch, of which I am a Patron.

Among the attendees at last night’s Hearing were the former Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the former leader of the Liberal Party Lord Steel of Aikwood, the former leader of the Green Party Baroness Bennett, Baroness D’Souza, former Lord Speaker, the former defence minister Lord Hamilton of Epsom and the chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission Fiona Bruce MP, who is also a Hong Kong Watch Patron.

Dr Darren Mann, who first brought the evidence to international attention in an article in the world’s leading medical journal The Lancet on 21 November 2019, described witnessing the arrest of medical personnel who had been providing vital medical care to those injured during a violent confrontation at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University on the night of 17 November 2019.

A photograph showed at least 16 medical professionals sitting in rows on the ground with their hands bound behind their backs with zip-cords. They were clearly identified as doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians by their high-visibility vests, and yet were arrested for rioting. They were detained for 24 hours, released on bail and are now required to report to the police every week. They may also face threat of disciplinary action by their hospitals for being present at the protests, even though they were voluntarily offering their assistance to any injured person on the principle of humanitarian neutrality. The pretext for these arrests – that protesters may be masquerading as medical workers – is entirely unconvincing and demonstrates dangerously misplaced priorities, said Dr Mann.

Dr Mann also reported worrying indications of wider encroachment on the healthcare sector and infrastructure. There is evidence that ambulances have been used to transport police and instances where police have entered hospitals to arrest protesters, maintaining a presence in full riot gear with weapons. There are credible accounts that police sought to accompany doctors in hospitals during consultations, and even attempted to enter operating theatres.

Large numbers of the Hong Kong public are afraid to use the emergency services or go to public hospitals for fear that they could be arrested, and this can be considered as ‘weaponising’ the healthcare system against the protest movement, Dr Mann told the meeting in Parliament. He also described how an underground medical system has emerged in which the injured prefer to be treated with their confidentiality and dignity respected.

“These violations amount to grave breaches of international humanitarian norms and human rights law” said Dr Mann. “In any violent conflict the protection of humanitarian workers is absolutely essential. Arresting or obstructing medical workers, and thereby preventing them from treating the injured, is a serious human rights abuse and sends a chilling message to deter other volunteer medics from assisting in providing medical care in protests. These actions should be condemned.”

“The continuing failure of the Hong Kong police and government to acknowledge any deficiency in, and offer future reassurances for, the treatment of humanitarian aid providers during these protests is damaging to China’s reputation abroad and to its standing within the international medical community. Sadly the Hong Kong government appears to be unaware that its policies are deviating from customary norms, and there is an urgent need for international governments and humanitarian organisations to scrutinise the operational conduct of the Hong Kong police with respect not only to medical aid workers but also the wider healthcare sector.”

Related blog First Aiders are targeted by HK Police!

Source 9 December 2019


By Dr. Darren Mann, a British surgeon based in Hong Kong. 香港外科醫生Darren Mann


您是否忘記了今年某人的周年紀念日?你忘了今年每個人的周年紀念日嗎? 12月10日是世界人權日,這是對1948年聯合國通過《世界人權宣言》的一天的象徵性紀念。一个人道主義的地標。









想像您的城市大學。學生(您的孩子們)正在抗議以保護他們對未來的願景。他們的未來。他們的城市。他們的身份。而他們受傷了。受痛和非人待遇。沒有人安慰他們。或救治他們。這是因為所有自願照料他們的護士和醫生都被捕了。他們的手腕被綁在背後面並用膝蓋跪著。像許多紅十字會的恐怖分子一樣被逮捕,排列和羞辱。 (請參閱芬蘭記者Rauli Virtanen關於韓國天安門的文章)。



現在想像一下如何“重新人性化”這個地方。政府和人民可以自己來做嗎?比北愛爾蘭的天主教徒和新教徒做得還好嗎? (請參閱Global Geneva上的文章“一個人為尊嚴的戰爭”的書籍,這是香港記者Mike Chinoy寫給人權活動家Kevin Doyle的書,他還將這種情況與北愛爾蘭的“困難”進行了比較)。


Below: September 2019

Ambulance paramedics denied access to injured people inside an MTR station for an hour

Doctors in Hong Kong arrested by police for seeking to bring medical relief to injured protestors. (Photo: D. Mann)

23 views0 comments