Why are the protester in Hong Kong not holding back and looking forward to burn with the government
The withdrawal of the Extradition Bill is simply too late, too little.
On 4 September 2019, Carrie Lam, the government head of Hong Kong, announced that the unpopular Extradition Bill is officially withdrawn. With only one of the five demands met, the government’s tactic of splitting the anti-government camp has barely yielded anything. The clashes between the protesters and the police force has not even faded a bit.
The protesters remain adamant that the government must hold an independent investigation in the whole Anti-Extradition Bill turmoil, particularly the disproportionate use of violence, the criminal acts committed by policemen and breach of Police General Orders. Other demands include abolishing the “riot” tag on the series of protests; releasing all arrested protesters; and universal suffrage.
To those living elsewhere, it may not be reasonable or sensible for the protesters to fight on in spite of the government’s change of mind. The Bill is officially dead (first dead on 9 July 2019, as certified by Carrie Lam) and the rootcause of the wave of protests should have been resolved already.
Had the Bill been withdrawn earlier in June or even early July, social order may have been restored in Hong Kong by now, or earlier on. However, as the gangsters that were allegedly sponsored by Junius Ho, a pro-government political figure, went all out to assault civilians in Yuen Long on 21 July 2019 while the police force was absent throughout the process, the integrity of the government was impaired and the police force’s political neutrality was considered to be long-gone.
Events on 11 August 2019 seemed to have take the city beyond the point of no-return. A female protester, wearing eye masks and peeping behind a bus-stop stand, was shot at close-range and had her right eye shot blind. The police’s hunt for protesters has taken them to the Kwai Fong train station, which is not considered to be an open area. And the police threw teargas grenades there.
There were also some suspicious protesters that were revealed to be undercover police. These undercovers provoked violent acts and acted in accordance with the anti-riot police and the “raptors”, the elite police that were specialised in speedy and forceful arrests. The police later on admitted in press conferences that undercovers were sent into the crowds in order to carry out arrests.
What made it worse was the improper treatment of the arrested. From the site where arrests were made, to the police station and the detention centre, there were numerous reports that police used excessive force to bring protesters under control, like twisting their arms, putting the knees to the neck of a protester and giving buffets of pepper spray and batons in closed areas such as train cabins.
There were reports that protesters suffered additional injuries when being detained, ranging from severe muscle strains to broken bones. Police failed to explain the reason and claimed that the injuries were made as the arrested struggled against the police, which medical staff at hospitals disagreed.
Other reports were even more worrying. Protesters revealed that they heard police chatting and claiming that it would be sensible for the policemen under so much pressure to want to have sex with the arrested female protesters.
The disrespectful manner was evident with female protesters that have been arrested reporting sexual harassment when they were under custody and unnecessary, repeated searches that required them to be naked.
The arrest of a young girl wearing a dress, which somehow led to her genital being exposed in public, was another proof that the police tried to humiliate protesters in a very inappropriate manner.
Unconfirmed reports from multiple sources close to the victims even claimed that at least one (or two, or more) female protesters at their 20s were raped repeatedly at a detention centre that was in rural area in the New Territories, close to the border with China.
The police force denied all accusations and required the victims to take off the mask and formally raise complaints with evidence — but what do you expect from the victims who have probably collapsed and are suffering from mental breakdown?
Hatred against the police force, which has full support from the governments of Hong Kong and China, grows as the social movement goes on. The mourn of the loss of lives has made the protesters more determined to carry on. On 4 September 2019, a female protester jumped out of the window and died when the police is at the door to arrest her.
Why should you attention stay with Hong Kong despite government’s concession
…and the consequence if it doesn’t.
There is no sign that the police or the government are backing down in any way. In the past three months, the Hong Kong government had its head in the sand, refused to deal with the political crisis caused by the Extradition Bill and left the police to fight the protesters day after day.
Full reliance means the police is so indispensable to the government that Carrie Lam was reported to be admitting that an independent investigation could not be launched, or the police force would be very unhappy with it. This stance, which will most likely leave the police who abused their power and weapons unpunished, is completely opposite to the demand from the protesters.
Carrie Lam, on 6 September 2019, visited the Guangxi Province in China and said to the press that the youngsters in Hong Kong do not understand the importance of “One-Country, Two-Systems” and do not realise that their future actually lies in China. She said, the Hong Kong government, going forward, will work even harder to educate the young ones and strengthen the collaboration with the mainland authorities to facilitate the Hong Kong residents to develop their career or business in China.
Again, this is the last thing that those who remain in the streets want. Having witnessed the drastic changes and “educational camps” in Xin Jiang which took the local religious beliefs and values away from the next generation there, the fear of Hong Kong being the next one is growing.
Hong Kong, as a former British colony, has its own language, culture and lifestyle, which was a blend of the East and the West, and adopts western, civilised legal system. The identity of HongKonger has rooted in the younger generations and it would be against their wills to impose the Chinese identity and values on them.
After the faltered “Umbrella Revoluation” in 2014, the “Water Revolution”, as some may term it, in 2019, looks like the Endgame for the city. It would be either the death of the autonomy with Hong Kong being completely absorbed into the “Greater Bay Area”; or an unlikely victory that would remind the world of the story of David and Goliath. Youngsters in Hong Kong perceive that anything less than a victory implies that their hope and prospect will vanish and would rather let the sky fall, let it crumble.
The city of Hong Kong is at its most critical moment as the U.S. Congress is about to discuss and vote on the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act”. Beijing has repeatedly urged the Americans to drop the Act and stop interfering with its internal affairs, while activists in Hong Kong are holding hopes that if the Act is passed, Beijing and Hong Kong officials will be under greater pressure and make further concession.
On Facebook, the supporters of the movement make reference to the documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” — the quote that “If we accept the government’s demands, those who have died will not forgive us.” This may be a reason for the protesters to carry on in the midst of teargas and the fear of violence, in terms of both physical and system.
In case you are curious in who I am, this is Lai Shuk, born and bred in Hong Kong (“Shuk” in Cantonese mean “Uncle” and Lai is the surname). While I started with political commentaries, it is another name “Landmark Reporter” that have my first book published, named “Surfing in Central, the guide to enter the banking and finance industry”.
Of course most of the time I write in Cantonese (sometime in Chinese), but it so happened that we are in an era where articles and communications in English may help our city and future. This is why you see me writing in English after office hours. Share this with your friends if you find this article insightful, interesting or too long, what so ever.