BEIJING — Hong Kong continues to experience chaos as approximately 3.38% of the territory take to the streets to protest the controversial extradition bill that threatens the liberty of all its citizens.
As the protests, which first began 31 March, 2019, rage on, harsher and more frequent violence against the protesters is being reported by those present. Most recently, protesters have posted testimony, photos, and videos of large crowds of masked people wearing white shirts, sometimes called Wumao, ambushing protesters and violently beating them, allegedly at the behest of the Hong Kong police and government. Protesters note that police officers were seen leaving the scene shortly before the attacks in the Yuen Long area of Hong Kong.
In one instance, prominent member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, Junius Ho, was seen warmly greeting the ‘white shirts’ on the streets. Ho, elected in 2016, has a history of advocating violence against activists. In response to activists promoting independence from China, Ho said:
“If those who are pro-independence lead to the subversion of the fate of the country; with Hong Kong and the 1.3 billion people in the motherland having to pay a huge price, why shouldn’t these people be killed?”– Junius Ho
“The behavior of some radical protesters challenges the central government’s authority, touching on the bottom line principle of ‘one country, two systems,’” said Colonel Wu, in reference to the unique system of governance that separates Hong Kong from the direct control of mainland China. “That absolutely cannot be tolerated” He continued.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the bill “dead” and all work on it a “total failure” on 9 July. However, the protests rage on as Lam has yet to officially withdraw the bill. Protesters worry that her words are meant as a distraction to quell the activists, so that the bill may be passed quietly without dissent.
Hong Kong is embroiled in a fight for its soul. The protesters are seeking liberty, and resisting the seemingly all-powerful pull of Mainland China, and the dystopian, authoritarian future it promises to the people of Hong Kong if this bill is passed.