Investigation – Danish police confiscated Tibetan flags during protests


It strongly suggests a misuse of power when Danish police confiscated Tibetan flags during a visit from the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, back in June, 2012 says chief legal adviser of liberal think tank Cepos, Jacob Mchangama. He believes that there should be an investigation of the Copenhagen police force.

When the president visited last year, a large part of protesters filled the streets because of the ongoing China-Tibet controversy. The Tibetan flag is forbidden in China, but not in Denmark. Therefore many were surprised and angry when peaceful demonstrators were stopped and had banners and flags confiscated.

At first the police denied that they had made any confiscations but now the official answer to the Ministry of Justice is that the police did in fact confiscate Tibetan flags and banners.

Jacob Mchangama of Cepos sees the act as a very serious problem because the confiscation was explained by stating that the flags were a threat to public order. He calls it an “overstretched interpretation” and it seems beyond the law.

”It’s hard to see the danger to public order when all they did were to stand around waving a flag. It looks like misuse of power,” he said to Ritzau.

“Of course we should stay on good terms with the Chinese but not if it keeps the Danes from having freedom of speech or freedom of assembly,” he adds.

After the incident it was investigated if superior officers at the Copenhagen Police had ordered flags and banners to be confiscated, but in the official statement to the Ministry of Justice, this is denied.

Jacob Mchangama from Cepos finds that hard to believe.

“I have a hard time imagining that the average police officer would try to spare China on their own. It would be interesting to know what really happened,” he said.

He calls for an external investigation see where the order came from.

“You have to question if the police were more concerned about the feelings of the Chinese than the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. I think there should be an investigation from other than the police.”

Read the full article in Danish at 


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