- Millions of Hong Kong people were supposed to vote for the Legislative Council on September 6 this year
- In response to the scheduled demonstrations in Kowloon, thousands of police officers were deployed in Jordan and Mong Kok.
- As of Sunday evening, a total of 289 people were arrested, of which 270 were charged with illegal assembly.
After hundreds of people in Hong Kong were arrested by the police during a demonstration last Sunday, experts believe that as Beijing expands the scope of arrests through the Hong Kong National Security Law, Hong Kong will enter a difficult period. Hongkongers were supposed to vote for the Legislative Council in elections on Sunday.
The government, however, decided to postpone the election for one year. To this end, Hongkongers held another demonstration Sunday to protest the postponement of the election, and other controversial measures implemented by the Hong Kong government since July this year.
In response to the scheduled demonstrations in Kowloon, thousands of police officers were deployed in Jordan and Mong Kok. They kept intercepting and searching for people passing by.
Some demonstrators loudly condemned police violence, while others shouted “Recover Hong Kong, Revolution of the Times,” a slogan that has been banned since the National Security Law came into effect. A woman was arrested for shouting the slogan.
In some places, the confrontation between the demonstrators and the police turned into violent clashes. The demonstrators threw umbrellas and water bottles at the police. The police responded with pepper balls and subdued several demonstrators on the ground, including a 12-year-old girl.
Activist Huang Zhifeng tweeted the video of the 12-year-old girl being thrown to the ground by several policemen, and tweeted, “In our country under the national security law, even if you just go shopping, you will encounter Police violence.”
As of Sunday evening, a total of 289 people were arrested, of which 270 were charged with illegal assembly. Some well-known activists, such as Liang Guoxiong, Huang Haoming, Chen Haohuan, and others are also among the arrested.
A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said that the demonstrators ignored police warnings and blocked roads with rocks in many places. The authorities also accused some demonstrators of throwing stones at the police and chanting slogans for Hong Kong independence.
The Liaison Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China also condemned the demonstrators’ choice to organize a demonstration on September 6th, the original election day of the Legislative Council.
The Liaison Office of the Central Committee stated that “a small group of anti-China chaos in Hong Kong, launched an illegal demonstration.” This practice “is a blatant provocation to relevant laws and the will of the state.”
Changes in the Territory of Hong Kong’s Struggle
Some experts pointed out that the recent incidents in Hong Kong are actually a repeat of the anti-government protest movement since last year. But in some respects, things have changed drastically. “Last year, there were still some cases where demonstrations were approved.”
Hua Zhijian, a professor of the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine, said:
“The reason given is the new coronavirus epidemic, but the epidemic in Hong Kong is not serious at present. The police turned a blind eye to other gatherings, and at the same time did not provide room for other negotiation options, such as actions to maintain social distancing.”
Hua predicts that even if the Hong Kong police permit some demonstrations in the future, the number of participants will be much lower than before. In addition, Sunday’s demonstrations were relatively small, but the number of arrests was higher than those of the larger events last year.
Galileo Cheng, Social Affairs Officer of the Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association, told reporters that those who participated in the Sunday demonstrations, knowing that they were deterred by the National Security Law and the restrictions on gatherings.
“As long as the demonstration is not approved, there will be such a temporary rally, as long as someone is willing to come forward to organize,” he said. “However, the epidemic and the ban on gatherings still deter many peaceful demonstrators.”