China has given another endorsement to Hong Kong's embattled police force by featuring one officer on its most prestigious prime-time news programme.
Lau Chak-kei, the sergeant filmed pointing a shotgun at protesters who attacked him in July, was interviewed by Chinese state media CCTV for a segment that aired for the first time on Xinwen Lianbo on Saturday evening.
Xinwen Lianbo is arguably the world's most watched news programme, with more than 100 million viewers tuning in for the daily 30-minute bulletin from 7pm, which normally features state leaders' activities and outlines new national policies.
"I hope our country could continue to prosper and be strong, because only afterwards can our Hong Kong people and Chinese people, and people with Chinese blood elsewhere, hold our heads up," CCTV quoted Lau as saying.
Assistant District Commander of Mong Kok Police Station, Lee Chung-kin, also appeared on the programme, and said police could control the unrest in the city.
"We have increasingly high capability to control order and we are confident that we can keep Hong Kong's stability in the future," Lee said.
Lau and Lee made those remarks on Friday during a Mid-Autumn Festival event, in which pro-Beijing groups visited the city's police headquarters and showed their support for police.
The groups, including the Federation Hainan Community Organisation, brought mooncakes and fruits to officers, and wrote a thank-you letter to the Hong Kong Police Commissioner, Stephen Lo Wai-chung, according to the CCTV report.
In another CCTV news programme aired before Xinwen Lianbo, Lau also defended pointing his gun at protesters.
"I am really moved to see there are 1.4 billion people [back in mainland China] supporting us. It's like someone giving you a cup of water when you are in a desert," he said.
"Some western media only broadcast episodes of the incident and said we were wrong, but the citizens in Chinese mainland, after watching full video, can stand with us and agree that we were attacked by protesters."
Lau's television appearance came weeks before the National Day celebration for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, to be held on October 1, an event Lau has been invited to attend.
Lau was hailed as a hero by Chinese state media after he pointed a Remington shotgun loaded with beanbag rounds at hundreds of protesters besieging Kwai Chung Police Station on the night of July 30.
The incident prompted widespread criticism in the city, but police defended his actions, and said Lau feared for his life after being surrounded by protesters, and losing his helmet.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.