Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time

Story by Hart Walker, Photo Editor

“It’s ridiculous. We done nothing and he take out his gun,” said Patrick Chow, one of the handful of protestors who have been shot by the police in Hong Kong.

 Over the past six months, pro-democracy protests have shaken Hong Kong as thousands to millions of Hongkongers take to the streets in resistance to China’s influence daily. The protests began in June, as millions came out to peacefully march, and have since escalated as China continuously responds with greater force. Violent clashes between protestors and police highlight the news. Chow was shot in the stomach trying to stop a police officer from pointing the gun at a subdued protestor. What started as people protesting an unjust law has become a violent and global revolution 

The beginning of June marked the first large march in protest of the widely criticized extradition bill. The extradition bill was proposed by the Chinese government and would allow Hong Kong to detain and move wanted individuals from territories with no expedition laws or agreements. The fear is that the bill would be used not just on criminals, but political activists to quench any form of dissent. Hong Kong’s legal system would be undermined and the danger of unjust imprisonment, kidnapping, is what sent thousands of Hongkongers to the streets. Anyone paying attention should take problem with it. The threat mainland China poses to the people of Hong Kong is that of authoritarian control. Hong Kong stands alone against one of the most powerful and influential governments, yet they don’t have to.   

Police use of batons, pepper spray, and most prominently tear gas sparked outrage from many Hong Kong residents. In response, two million people marched in defiance of not only the expedition bill but the excessive use of police force. Since then, things have only gotten more chaotic and more violent. Police continually ignore regulation in favor of force, as police are seen on camera beating protestors, pepper-spraying bystanders, and implementing water cannons. On the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party’s control in China, the first live round was fire, point-blank, into a protestor’s chest. The violent response has been decisively unjustified, as shooting unarmed young adults rarely is. Most recently, students barricaded themselves inside the Chinese University of Hong Kong, throwing bricks, firebombs, and even shooting bows and arrows at police as they remained under siege for days. 

I believe it is absolutely crucial that the American people support Hong Kong. The people of Hong Kong have been fighting to protect their democratic rights against the insurmountable odds that the Chinese and Hong Kong police force pose. Political or not, it is impossible to ignore the violent and corrupt tactics employed by the police. Change needs to be demanded. The effect of their struggle can be seen even in the U.S, as companies like Blizzard and the NBA choose to defend China to protect their business interests and suffer boycotts and protests of their own. 

It is hard to say what is to come for Hong Kong going forward, but regardless of what happens, we need to make sure we are watching. The Chinese Communist Party’s control over Hong Kong is rooted in violence and fear, and there is no going back now. The decline of a previous system holds no inherent promise of a better future, but the goals of the protestors should inspire all of us to support their cause. Hong Kong sits in a region of hard authoritarianism. The revolution cannot succeed on its own terms without the exportation of the ideas and movement to the mainland and outside world. The people of Hong Kong are fighting with or without us, so we should be doing everything we can to express our solidarity. 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and from alleged reports of police framing murders as suicides to surfaced evidence pointing towards police working with crime gangs when do we draw the line? 

The struggle of the people of Hong Kong is the struggle for freedom, something we should keep in our hearts. The world is watching, and that may be one of the few things preventing China from pushing even harder. The world is watching, and it is imperative that we do too.