Protests in Hongkong have morphed into its most lethal form to date, after Hongkong protestors began attacking businesses and even media outlets with pronounced links with Beijing, a reaction to the brutal way riot policemen sprayed tear gas upon thousands who were staging their peaceful protests only to be forcefully broken up by cops.
China’s Xinhua news agency became the latest casualty in this seemingly unstoppable force of people demanding their government more and wider democratic latitude in terms of choosing their leaders, and the right to exercise their traditional liberal democratic life under threat from increasing Chinese communist intervention. Smashed windows, vandalized walls and a raging fire engulfed the entire media office in Wan Chai district. No casualties or injuries were reported.
At the upscale district of Causeway bay, thousands were issued warnings after a huge mass of people congregated wearing masks and without securing permits. Protesters at Victoria Peak tried to fight off cops who launched teargas canisters in the hopes of breaking the protestors’ ranks. After the heavy cloud of peppery smoke dissipated, protestors immediately threw petrol bombs at the police in self-defense.
Last Saturday’s huge protests enters its 22nd week as Hongkongers went to the streets to express their demands before the Chinese government. More than 3,000 people have been arrested, several others injured and one died in this seemingly unresolvable conflict sparked by a publicly condemned move by China-appointed Hongkong leader Carrie Lam who authored an extradition bill perceived to give China further influence into the island’s judicial system.
Since 1993, China had agreed to implement a “one country, two systems” policy which necessarily granted special privileges and rights to Hongkongers unheard of in the Socialist state. Civil liberties remain. However, there is limited exercise of political rights, as the Chinese government reserved the right to appoint heads to special administrative regions such as Hongkong.
Though the extradition bill has been formally killed thru Lam’s initiative, protests continued first as a reaction to the brutality shown by the Hongkong police. Subsequent clashes angered even the most ordinary Hongkonger, with some two million people going to the streets and demanding that China gives these islanders more democratic space.