Government Tear Gas vs Molotov Cocktails: Hong Kong’s Street Fight for Democracy
Riot police and protesters fought fierce battles up and down Kowloon’s Nathan Road in Hong Kong on October 1st. Hundreds of tear gas canisters and Molotov cocktails were thrown, and dozens of arrests were made. During citywide protests on that day, police used lethal force for the first time, after protesters attacked several officers.
Here is footage from that battle on the streets, the sites are like something out of a Christopher Nolan Batman movie, it’s both incredible and frightening. You can see how dangerous the situation has become as Chinese government soldiers trade tear gas canisters with firebombs from pro-democracy protesters:
The protests are against Chinese government influence in Hong Kong, the issue initially rose over a bill that gave China the power to extradite citizens of Hong Kong who they deemed had committed crimes. Since Hong Kongers know that the Chinese state has a no real due process, or a free press, they fought back hard against the bill. Especially the young people in Hong Kong, they don’t want a government that silences dissent with re-education camps taking over Hong Kong. Applications for visas to leave Hong Kong have sky-rocketed, some fear that if the Chinese do takeover, they will not be able to leave so easily.
Here’s an early days explanation of how the protests began (back in June) and some history of Hong Kong and its complicated relationship with China:
The Chinese government famously measures time in ‘dynasties’ or ‘thousand-year’ periods, and they see an opportunity to encroach on a place full of Chinese speaking people who also inconveniently celebrate free trade and the free press. The Chinese government is patient, ruthless, and untethered.
Anyone who speaks out publicly against the Chinese government, or in support of the protesters can expect retaliation. The Chinese government will threaten any company doing business in China if they are shown to allow free speech against the government.
For example, US video game company Blizzard had to suspend a Chinese player for using pro-democracy rhetoric on its platform. He supported the protesters in Hong Kong, so therefore he had to be kicked off the airwaves. Many companies that operate in China are forced to suppress free speech in order to keep the Chines government happy. Early this week, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted out something that supported the Hong Kong Protesters and the Chinese Basketball Association suspended ties with the Rockets, and Chinese state television said they would no longer show Rockets games in China. That’s for just one tweet of decent, by one employee of the team.
Meanwhile, here is a video of the police beating Hong Kong protesters with batons on October 7th. The battles are unfolding continuously on the streets:
IF you are looking for a good English language news source in Hong Kong, Check out the not-for-profit HKFP: