Anger and grief fuel fresh demonstrations after injury of 18-year-old Tsang Chi-kin

Driven by anger and grief, thousands of people came out across Hong Kong to denounce the shooting of a teenage student by police, an escalation of force that appears to have deepened the gulf between protesters and authorities.

They marched through the city centre, organised sit-ins at schools and gathered at a courtroom where other protesters faced rioting charges.

Many who joined Wednesdays demonstrations held their hands over their chests in tribute to 18-year-old Tsang Chi-kin, who was shot at point-blank range on Tuesday, with the bullet narrowly missing his heart. Tsang is in hospital in stable but critical condition after surgery to remove the bullet.

The shooting shocked much of the city; despite copious use of teargas, water cannon, beanbags and other less-lethal forms of violence over nearly four months of protests, officers had previously only fired their guns in warning.

Timeline

People’s Republic of China at 70

After more than 20 years of civil war, Mao Zedong leads the communists to victory over the nationalists, and proclaims the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October.

China launches a five-year economic plan, the “Great Leap Forward”, collectivising farming and investing in heavy industry. The plan is abandoned after two years after poor harvests lead to starvation and millions of deaths.

The 10-year “Cultural Revolution” causes economic and political upheaval, as Mao attempts to purge communist China of remaining capitalist and traditional elements of society, and enforce Maoism as the dominant and permanent ideology.

Chairman Mao dies.

China’s “one-child policy” is introduced to curb population growth.

Troops fire on protesters in Tianaman Square who had been campaigning for greater freedom and democracy. The uprising is crushed.

The opening of the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges symbolise the increasing economic liberalisation of China.

Control of Hong Kong is handed back to China from the UK. Two years later Portugal transfers the sovereignty of Macau back to the Chinese.

China joins the World Trade Organization.

Yang Liwei becomes the first Chinese astronaut. Within 10 years the country will successfully deploy a robot rover on the moon.

After years of tension, including riots over how Japanese schoolbooks are accused of portraying the events of the second world war, and tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea, Wen Jiabao becomes the first Chinese prime minister to address Japan’s parliament.

Beijing hosts the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

China overtakes Germany as the world’s biggest exporter of goods. The following year it becomes the world’s second-largest economy, over-taking Japan.

The Chinese economic “miracle” falters, as growth falls to its lowest level for 25 years.

China becomes increasingly embroiled in a trade war with the US.

A series of major pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong challenge Chinese rule there. The country’s human rights record also comes under scrutiny for its treatment of the Uighurs, with claims that more than 1 million of them have been detained in camps the Chinese have euphemistically calledvocational education centres.

Tsangs injury and the wider chaos of Tuesdays protests, called to mark the 70th anniversary of communist rule in China as a day of grief, appeared to have further radicalised both demonstrators and their opponents.

The citys largest police group called for a curfew, or for the government to bring in harsh colonial-era emergency powers, claiming its officers were working in war-zone-like conditions, the South China Morning Post reported.

Their demands were backed by pro-Beijing politicians, who defended the policeman who opened fire, the Hong Kong Free Press reported. It was a reasonable and legal action in line with regulations, said legislator Gary Chan. The government should consider enacting an emergency law to stop the riots as soon as possible.

Timeline

Hong Kong protests

A new Hong Kong extradition law is proposed, which would allow people to be transferred to mainland China for a variety of crimes. Residents fear it could lead to politically-motivated extraditions into China’s much harsher judicial system.

Large public demonstrations start as thousands march in the streets to protest the extradition bill.

Hong Kong lawmakers scuffle in parliament during a row over the law.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam introduces concessions to the extradition bill, including limiting the scope of extraditable offences, but critics say they are not enough.

The scale of protests continues to increase as more than half a million take to the streets. Police use rubber bullets and tear gas against the biggest protests Hong Kong has seen for decades.

Lam says that the proposed extradition law has been postponed indefinitely.

The protests continue as demonstrators storm the Legislative Council, destroying pictures, daubing graffiti on the walls and flying the old flag of Hong Kong emblazoned with the British Union flag. The protests coincide with the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from the UK back to China.

Armed men in white t-shirts thought to be supporting the Chinese government attack passengers and passers-by in Yuen Long metro station, while nearby police take no action.

44 protestors are charged with rioting, which further antagonises the anti-extradition bill movement.

By now the protest movement has coalesced around five key demands: complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, withdrawal of the use of the word ‘riot’ in relation to the protests, unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped, an independent inquiry into police behaviour and the implementation of genuine universal suffrage.

The mass protests enter their fifteenth week, with police resorting to tear gas and water cannon against the demonstrators, and a wave of ‘doxxing’ using digital techniques to unmask police and protestors as a new front in the battle.

Police are reported to have shot a protestor with live ammunition for the first time, as demonstrations continue on the day marking the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the People’s Republic of China.

Protesters in turn warned Hong Kong authorities that they would not back down. One declared: This is war at a press conference outside Tsangs school in the working-class Tsuen Wan district that brought together activist groups, protesters and the injured students classmates.

On a day of celebration in Beijing, the people of Hong Kong were weeping from the teargas and bleeding from the bullets fired, said the protester, his face hidden behind a bandana and sunglasses. He asked to be described only as a Hong Kong citizen.

The people of Hong Kong are sick and tired of having mere words of condemnation as their only shield against lethal bullets and rifles. Because by now it is beyond clear that this government does not even take its own people seriously.

Students
Students stand outside the Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College during a demonstration held to show solidarity with the injured student in Hong Kong Photograph: Jrme Favre/EPA

Others paid tribute to Tsang, who used the English name Tony, called for international support and promised to forge a stronger resistance movement.

The protests were sparked by anger at a now-withdrawn extradition bill, but have since expanded into a broader pro-democracy movement with five core demands including an inquiry into police violence.

Tony has always been a role model to junior classmates. He is also one of the best people I know, said a friend who gave his last name, Wong. The anti-extradition movement gave him renewed purpose. Despite his tender age he never hesitated to stand up for the future of Hong Kong.

Behind the speakers, school students in uniform gathered to chant protest slogans, including Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times, and hold banners attacking police brutality. Earlier hundreds of students, alumni and staff gathered for a morning sit-in to support Tsang.

Quick guide

What are the five demands of the Hong Kong protesters?

The complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill

Hong Kongs leader,Carrie Lam, has said her government will formally withdraw the bill that ignited months of protests. Hong Kong residents had feared it could be used by China to extradite people for political reasons. They want guarantees that it cannot be reintroduced at a later date.

Withdrawal of the use of the word ‘riot’ in relation to the protests

Protesters want the government to officially recognise that their movement has been a series of legitimate protests, rather than a riot, as has been stated in official communications.

Unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped

Hundreds of people have been arrested in recent weeks, and the protesters are demanding that all of them be freed, and that no convictions should stand against any of them.

An independent inquiry into police behaviour

Police use of force has escalated since the demonstrations began, while protesters have also resorted to increasingly violent measures. Demonstrators say an inquiry into police brutality is the number-one priority.

Implementation of genuine universal suffrage

Hong Kong’s chief executive is currently selected by a 1,200-member committee, and nearly half of the 70 legislative council seats are filled by limited electorates representing different sectors of the economy. The protesters want to be able to vote for their leaders in free and open democratic elections.

Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/X06783

He has been arrested for assault, but the school principal said he would be welcome to return to classes once he is released from hospital, defying calls from some pro-Beijing figures for him to be punished for his role in protests.

Pictures from across Hong Kong showed students from other schools gathering in forecourts and on sports grounds, often with their hands over their hearts.

In the city centre protesters filed out of their offices around midday, and shut down a main road as they marched peacefully through the centre of the city, singing the anthem Glory to Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong protester shot as China National Day demonstrations intensify video

Some carried signs saying: You can kill the dreamer but you cant kill the dream; others held up their hands with fingers spread wide, a reference to the five demands that have become the heart of the protest movement.

Hundreds more gathered at a court in West Kowloon, where 96 people arrested at the weekend were expected to be charged with rioting. It will be the largest mass hearing in the city since the handover from British colonial rule, according to the writer and activist Kong Tsung-gan.

The lobby was crammed with relatives and supporters lining up for tickets, but the court has only 100 spaces.

A mother of one young detainee said she had only seen him at a distance in hospital since he was arrested on Sunday, because he was receiving treatment for shoulder and arm injuries.

The unrest that day proved only a warning of Tuesdays chaos, the worst violence in the city since the protest movement began. Police had refused organisers a permit to march, but people defied the ruling to turn out in tens of thousands.

Gatherings across the city began peacefully but by mid-afternoon into raging battles between protesters and police who fired teargas, water cannon and ultimately live ammunition. At least 104 people were injured, four of them seriously, and 269 people arrested, the youngest of them only 12.

ABC News (@ABC)

Students protest outside school of 18-year-old protester shot in chest by police in Hong Kong. https://t.co/LuMREgMvOG pic.twitter.com/qdoc4o37Ns

October 2, 2019

The protests also paralysed much of the city, forcing nearly half its metro stations to close as authorities tried to prevent larger crowds reaching protest sites.

The chaotic scenes overshadowed a carefully choreographed military parade and evening gala meant to celebrate Chinas rise to global superpower status, and celebrate its strongman president, Xi Jinping.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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