Hong Kong New Year’s Celebration Turns Chaotic

  • "It's hard to utter 'Happy New Year' because Hong Kong people are not happy."
  • Protesters have kept up the pressure since the summer for their five demands.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has, on several occasions accused the United States of meddling in China's internal affairs.

A peaceful New Year’s Day march in Hong Kong, with tens of thousands of participants, turned into chaotic street battles as the region’s police forces used tear gas against the crowd. Some of the participants in the march responded with gasoline bombs, and many of the march’s participants ended up being drawn into violent street fights.

The 2019 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) movement, is an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government.

In the Wanchai bar district, black-clad protesters, some of them masked, smashed cash machines. “It’s hard to utter ‘Happy New Year’ because Hong Kong people are not happy,” said a man named Tung, who joined the massive march with his two-year-old son, mother, and niece. “Unless the five demands are achieved, and police are held accountable for their brutality, then we can’t have a real happy new year,” he added.

The protesters are demanding that the Hong Kong regime introduce full democracy and give amnesty to more than 6500 detainees. In addition to other demands, they are also demanding that the region’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, whom they regard as a Chinese puppet, should resign with immediate effect. Additionally, they also demand that police violence must be investigated, imprisoned protesters must be released, and the people must have broader democratic freedom, contrary to the current situation.

The march converted the New Year’s Eve celebrations into street fights in Hong Kong. Just minutes into 2020, police fired tear gas in the central Mong Kok district, where a small group of protesters had gathered. Shortly before, the police had also used water cannons in the district. In 2019, The Hong Kong region was rocked by the region’s biggest protests since the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.

“One country, two systems” is a constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), for the reunification of China during the early 1980s. He suggested that there would be only one China, but distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems.

The demonstrations in Hong Kong initially began in June, as a result of a controversial bill which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to China for prosecution. The bill never saw the light of day, and was later dropped, but the demonstrations continued nonetheless. Hong Kong belongs to China, as a special autonomous region which has partial autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has, on several occasions, accused the United States of meddling in China’s internal affairs and fueling the chaos being witnessed in Hong Kong. He did so again Friday in a telephone conversation with his American counterpart, Donald Trump. According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, Xi told Trump that China is deeply concerned about “the negative words and actions” of the U.S. in relation to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang province.

The U.S., under Trump’s presidency, has openly demonstrated it’s solidarity with the Hong Kong demonstrators. For instance, the U.S. Senate in November unanimously voted in support of legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid a crackdown on the pro-democracy protest movement that has gripped the Chinese-ruled Special Administrative Region for months.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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