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Danish police ordered to not let China 'lose face'

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Danish police ordered to not let China 'lose face'
Groups including Free Tibet protested during the Chinese president's visit. Photo: Dennis Lehmann/Scanpix
14:42 CEST+02:00
Following a new revelation that Danish police officers were ordered to ensure that the Chinese president didn't “lose face” during a 2012 state visit, the justice minister has ordered a full investigation of police behaviour.
More and more information continues to surface about police actions – and the explanations given for those actions – during a June 2012 state visit from Chinese President Hu Jintao.
 
The three-year-old incident was first thrust back into the spotlight after the Easter High Court ruled last week that a demonstrator had been unlawfully detained by Copenhagen Police during Hu's visit. The case presented audio files and witness testimony that contradicted the official police version of events, leading Commissioner Thorkild Fogde to admit on Tuesday that there are now “doubts” about the police response
 
 
On Friday, things took another new turn with the discovery of operation commands given to officers before the state visit. In the orders, the Danish Security and Intelligence Agency (PET) stressed the importance of keeping demonstrators out of President Hu's path.
 
“It is PET's understanding that the Chinese aren't worried about the president's security during his time in Denmark but that it is very essential to them that ‘they don't lose face' via a confrontation with protestors or something similar,” the police order, which was obtained and publicly released by the Justice Ministry on Friday, read. 
 
The order told officers to carry out patrols along the Chinese president's convoy route to “ensure that demonstrators cannot be seen” or “have the opportunity to be in a position that is visible” from the route. 
 
Copenhagen Police representatives had previously told the Justice Ministry and parliamentary's Legal Affairs Committee that it did not give any such orders and that any police officers who confronted demonstrators had done so on their own accord. 
 
Justice Minister Søren Pind said that in light of the new information he has established a committee to get to the bottom of what is being referred to in the Danish press as “the Tibet case”. 
 
“Parliament has for some time been given information which now appears to be incorrect. At the same time, the case raises doubts about whether the authorities have adequately protected fundamental democratic freedoms,” Pind said. 
 
The justice minister said he wants to know where the original orders came from and acknowledged that it could have been from a source higher up than the Copenhagen Police. 
 
Commissioner Fogde said he “welcomed” the investigation.
 
“It is essential for the police that we enjoy the public's trust and with the serious questions that have arisen, it is in everyone's interest to find a thorough explanation,” he said in a police press release.
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