It started with the veiled lie that Hong Kong would be a safe haven for criminals unless its government passed extradition laws giving China’s Communist Party the ability to seize them. The very idea that communist rulers could exert power over pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong the way it throws them into dark holes in mainland China prompted hundreds and the thousands to take to the streets. Recent reports indicate government forces have fired at least one bullet at unarmed citizens.
When the peaceful rallies began, Hong Kong police immediately barricaded streets and strapped on full riot gear to quell the pro-democracy movement. The world took notice as this show of force was accompanied by false propaganda.
“I reiterate that it is not a clearing operation,” senior police superintendent Kong Wing-Cheung said. “Our goal is to rescue those who are trapped.”
The only people trapped would be people fighting for their freedom if China secured the right to take them in the dead of night — or worse, open fire on citizens the way China’s crack communist military did in Tiananmen Square, or the invasion of Tibet, or the way it holds Taiwan captive under threat of bloodshed and stripping that democratic nation’s ability to self-govern.
“The proposed changes to the extradition laws will put anyone in Hong Kong doing work related to the mainland at risk,” Human Rights Watch’s Sophie Richardson said. “No one will be safe, including activists, human rights lawyers, journalists, and social workers.”
The growing tensions in Hong Kong are indicative of China’s hostile aggression toward freedom. Even in groups as large as 10,000, pro-democracy advocates risk their lives.
“We will absolutely not accept any action aiming at eliminating national sovereignty, and we reject any transfer cases that were based on the extradition bill amendments,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in support of Hong Kong residents.
Protestors have been forced to mask their face due to China utilizing facial recognition technology to identify agitators. After Hong Kong police violently attacked their political protests, they didn’t back down. Much like Americans in War for Independence, they armed themselves with inferior tools such as bamboo sticks to fend off pro-China attacks.
The communist regime in Beijing views any call for democracy as an existential threat to its authoritarian rule. They are acutely aware that pro-democracy rallies in the former Soviet Union helped lead to the downfall of communism and birth of self-government. With that in mind, China’s military has been mobilized to potentially invade Hong Kong and slaughter protestors if necessary.
“A huge amount of that (military footage) is clearly intimidation, but potentially they could also use them,” Prof Steve Tsang of the Soas China Institute said. “If they truly see what’s happening in Hong Kong as a color revolution, they will do whatever it takes, which is why I feel we are on much more dangerous ground than a few weeks ago.”
Beijing has posted videos of troops and military equipment being positioned on the outskirts of Hong Kong. It’s a clear and concise intimidation message for pro-democracy leaders to abandon the push for free elections or face the same consequences of Tiananmen Square.
Often referred to as the 1989 Democracy Movement in China, people around the world remember the iconic image of a single, unarmed citizen halting a tank in its tracks. But what the world did not bear witness to was military hardliners being called in to murder hundreds, possibly thousands of pro-democracy protestors. Many political refugees fled to Hong Kong, which was under British rule until 1997.
From day one of the peaceful pro-democracy marches, police have used aggressive force including water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and the first gunshot has been fired. Officials are already claiming they had no choice, given the freedom protestors decided to stand their ground and fight back against government oppression.
Pro-democracy people in Hong Kong recognize that the extradition measure that would have put them under China’s communist boot is only the beginning. The regime is expected to double its efforts to clamp down on free speech and dissent. That’s why Hong Kong residents are now calling for complete and total independence from China. The only question that remains is whether the next gunfire comes from the Chinese Red Army.