Police brutality in Hong Kong
By Yvonne Fu
Over the past few months, various news sources, including The Guardian, Washington Post, and many more, have highlighted the struggle in Hong Kong. While Americans have been debating over controversial issues, citizens of Hong Kong have been fighting to keep their “First Amendment Rights” on the other side of the world.
In the course of four months, accounts of police brutality occurred over and over again. At first police forces only teargassed Hong Kong protesters. However, they gradually increased their level of brutality and violence as the protests intensified. Protesters are usually beaten by the police forces on the streets, in subway stations, and even at airports. Many protesters, and even reporters, often leave the scene with serious wounds and cuts that require professional medical treatment. In early August, a girl was shot in the eye by a police firing with a beanbag round. On other occasions, protesters have also been fired at with rubber bullets. Recently, a male high school student was shot in the chest, close-range, by police using live rounds, which is potentially fatal. The situation has escalated to the point where innocent bystanders and civilians are also directly affected by it. Throughout the past quarter of a year, police forces have launched teargas canisters in indoor subway stations and even failed to protect civilians while gang members attacked them.
Why would a group of people continue to protest even if it means they must sacrifice their wellbeing? During late March of this year, an Extradition Bill was passed. This bill allowed fugitives from Hong Kong to be transferred to Beijing. Although many extradition bills do exists which deems this act as normal, many critics of this bill worry that the Chinese Government could use this as a loophole to accuse those challenging the government of false crimes. With this bill in place, citizens and leaders of Hong Kong will not be able to maintain their freedom of speech and expression due to the possibility that they may be accused of a false crime and sent to Beijing. In an attempt to defend their “First Amendment Rights,” Hong Kong citizens have been protesting since the passage of the bill, for four months.
Hong Kongers ask for help
By Alana Rabinowitz
Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers marched to the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong in the beginning of September seeking help from the United States, specifically President Trump.
The demonstrations began in opposition to the now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be taken to mainland China to stand trial in a court run by the Communist Party. The protesters desperately wanted Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act: a bipartisan bill that was introduced in June that would mandate an annual assessment of the city’s autonomy from Beijing and the cancellation of Hong Kong’s trading privileges if its autonomy is compromised.
As the Hong Kongers marched, they waved the stars and stripes on the United State’s flag, calling on America and Trump to support their months-long campaign for freedom and democracy. However, Hong Kong’s government warned the United States to “stay out of its affairs” and Trump said that he had “ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it.” The march quickly turned violent when protesters started to bust windows, vandalize, and set fires. The police responded by spraying tear gas at them.