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Hong Kong Heat

By Bill Stork UPDATE 7/26/19 (below)

There has been much in the news recently about Hong Kong. Protests have raged here against a controversial extradition bill, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

On June 9, more than a million people marched against the bill, which they fear will allow China to encroach on rights in the territory.

Two days ago (July 17) there was a silent protest march demanding that the government support the local media, as journalists have been targeted for pepper spray as they cover the events. Two ‘journos’ have even been attacked by police.

But these protests since the major one have been quite different from past Hong Kong protests, as the protesters communicate by an encrypted social media app, mobilizing quickly and quietly in areas new to protests in Hong Kong – the New Territory. And their methods differ, most recently using the spontaneous colourful mosaics of ‘Lennon walls’ in the various passageways of Hong Kong and its MTR subway system.

The student leaders of Hong Kong’s eight major universities’ student organizations work as a block, and their demands are few but major: the withdrawal of the extradition bill [it has only been ‘suspended’], the release of the arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into the police violence with batons, pepper spray, rubber bullets and other weapons; and that the Chief Executive Carrie Lam step down.

[The Financial Times’ July 15th headline was that Beijing had rejected Carrie Lam’s resignation; the chief executive’s office claimed that no such resignation had been offered.]

On Wednesday, 17 July, thousands of senior citizens marched in support of the young protesters. Today is the 18th, and the next big march is planned for Sunday.

See SBS World News: “Apology Rejected” at YouTube:

The Hong Kong youth that has been protesting are those that feel disenchanted at being deprived of what they had seen as their birthright: a path to democracy enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in Beijing in 1984, and also in The Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution that outlines the ‘one country/two systems’ principle. The promised ‘universal suffrage’ has yet to appear, and the despotic approach of the Chinese government has been less than reassuring.

Part of Hong Kong’s new Western Rail Terminus has been given over to the PRC’s customs and immigration administration and is now declared to operate under PRC’s legal system. Just last week part of the Hong Kong harbour-front where the Prince of Wales Building, now the home of the PLA, has been given to the PRC for ‘dockage’ purposes. It too is now declared to operate under PRC’s legal system, and Hong Kong residents are denied access.

UPDATE 7/26/19

Bill writes: Here is an article from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post with photos of the recent violence in Hong Kong:

Hong Kong protest organiser worried about risk of further violence at coming march in Yuen Long against gang attacks.

[In that article, you’ll see] hired thugs in white shirts with clubs and pipes attacking protesters (and about anyone else). You will read that a local resident of Yuen Long (the next ‘city’ past where we live in Tuen Mun, New Territories) is trying to organize a protest tomorrow to call attention to the failure of the police to respond quickly to that violence. Nervous times here.

4 comments to Hong Kong Heat

  • Tom Smith (‘62)

    Given that ‘one country/two systems’ is only supposed to last for 50 years under the agreement signed with the British and given China’s long history of despotic rule, is there any hope any democracy achieved will persist beyond 50 years? We

  • I woke to hear of continued unrest and was most grateful to read your firsthand account iof the troubles. Stay safe!

  • Chris Snow


    There is always hope for democracy. We ae fortunate to have Bill Stork and Yale in China on the scene to encourage and support the Hong Kong protesters and keep us informed on how others can help.

  • Chris Snow


    Amen to your appreciation for Bill’s welcome accounts of where matters stand!