Hong Kongers stand up for freedom on Chinese Communists’ ‘National Day’
Every year, the Chinese Communist Party celebrates National Day, the anniversary of its takeover of China. It’s become an occasion for protest in Hong Kong — and freedom-lovers didn’t let 2020 stop them Thursday.
Though Beijing has imposed a “national security” law that criminalizes the dissent that is every Hong Konger’s right under the treaty that put the mainland government in charge, and despite a ban on public gatherings larger than four people (supposedly to fight COVID-19), supporters of democracy turned out big-time.
Not as many as in the past, no: Beijing’s pawns in the local government deployed thousands of riot cops, who manned checkpoints and carried out stop-and-search procedures, and as Hong Kong journalist Alvin Lum tweeted: “For every half an hour, police would accuse passers-by of violating social-distancing rules.”
Dozens of democracy supporters who managed to demonstrate anyway were arrested. And other Hong Kongers found inventive ways to make their voices heard.
A teenage boy played popular protest tunes on a recorder at a crowded intersection as some demonstrators sang along; a man in black proudly displayed a yellow balloon — evoking the yellow umbrellas that became a symbol of the movement long ago.
Others stood in the streets of the Causeway Bay shopping district, holding up copies of Apple Daily, the pro-democracy newspaper owned by billionaire Jimmy Lai — papers turned to the full-page slogan “Protect the children, hold on to your conscience.”
In many minds were the 12 Hong Kongers in criminal detention on the mainland for this last month, held for the awful offense of trying to sail to independent Taiwan. Aged 16 to 32, the 12 face up to a year in prison for attempted “illegal boundary crossing”; the two organizers could get seven years. And the trial’s likely to be in the mainland kangaroo courts.
They were held for weeks with no contact with family or lawyers. And the relatives and legal counsel who do speak out for the 12 all risk becoming the next targets.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam hailed the island’s “return to stability” — the stability of repression, we guess — pretending it lets islanders “continue to enjoy their basic rights and freedoms.”
“Lam” is well on its way to being a synonym for “lying toady to tyrants,” much like “Quisling,” because Thursday made it epically clear that Hong Kongers retain neither their basic rights nor their freedom.
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