Tension Reaches International Stage In Hong Kong
“Citizens of Hong Kong believe any such bill [currently suspended extradition bill] would be used by China to target political opponents of the Chinese government which is known for human rights abuses,” Caracal Reports published last week as protests in Hong Kong continued to rage.
Over the past week, the number of protestors in the streets of Hong Kong has doubled to two million in total with police claiming approximately 338,000 concurrent protestors were out at the height of demonstrations. Organized events continued to draw citizens of Hong Kong due to Chief Executive Carrie Lam stopping short of withdrawing the controversial extradition bill that would lead to China being able to request the city to send those whom the totalitarian Communist party deems to be criminals; likely to include those who speak out against the Chinese government.
After incidents of violence earlier during the demonstrations which left a number of demonstrators and a few members of police injured; Hong Kon’s police department took a passive approach in order to keep further escalation from occurring. “For hours throughout Friday and into Saturday, officers were reduced to standing silently behind glass doors and windows as protesters threw eggs at their Wan Chai headquarters, vandalised the building’s walls, blocked the exits and flashed laser beams at them,” South China Morning Post (SCMP) wrote concerning a weekend incident which saw protestors demonstrate in front of public buildings. However, there has been no report suggesting the majority of demonstrators were taking part in vandalism.
“The police didn’t do justice to the citizens. They actually attacked us with teargas and unnecessary force,” stated a protestor to The Guardian concerning police activity before the incidents prior to this weekend. “We came here to tell the police we are not happy with what they did.” Footage reinforces the claims of organizers as tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets.
During the weekend protestors “…closed tax, immigration and local government buildings, blockaded key roads through the city centre [sic] and massed in their thousands outside police headquarters to demand the release of detained activists and an apology for police brutality,” The Guardian also reported.
Al Jazeera reporter Sarah Clarke has been on the ground in Hong Kong, her reporting indicates that religious leaders in Hong Kong are supporting protestors. The Communist party in China disallows members to participate in religious practices or purposes, causing angst among faith-based individuals in Hong Kong that they could also suffer if the extradition bill is ever enacted. As mentioned by Carcal Reports last week, and receiving covering from numerous outlets — Uygur (Uyghur) Muslims in China are being detained in reeducation camps due to their religious beliefs. Current estimates state approximately 1.5 million from the ethnic and religious group are currently imprisoned in mainland China.
On early Monday, the downtown government offices reopened in Hong Kong after crowds dispersed on Saturday. However, tension may continue as China has taken a hard stance against Hong Kong being a topic at the upcoming G20 meetings. “We will not allow that scenario to happen,” Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun in a briefing from Beijing at an earlier date. Organizers believe Beijing is influencing Lam, and will continue to do so in order to ensure the extradition bill is passed at a later date.
A BBC report concerning demonstrations occurring in the United States highlight how many fear the lengths the Chinese government will go to oppress critique and free speech.
In June, Joshua Wong and Kenneth Tsui attended an anti-extradition demonstration in Washington DC, one of many gatherings taking place overseas in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters. Afterwards, participants posed for photos in front of the White House. Wong noticed some, probably from mainland China, quietly walked out of the frame.