Hong Kong’s evening stayed relatively quiet on Sunday following a day of mass arrests and protests over the changes to their Basic Law. RTHK reported protesters and police clashed several times during the evening hours with multiple people either led away in handcuffs or ticketed.
In Tsim Sha Tsui, police said dozens of protesters had gathered at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre to chant slogans in apparent violation of the government’s gathering ban.
Officers gave chase and subdued many of the protesters. Around a dozen were taken away.
The online news outlet, Stand News, said a female journalist who was filming the apparent arrests was grabbed from behind by an officer and pushed away.
There was also a brief standoff in Mong Kok outside the Langham Place mall between a group of protesters who set up a wall of umbrellas as officers ordered them to disperse.
Some people also scattered Styrofoam boxes on the street, while a group chanted anti-government slogans inside the shopping centre.
Police stopped and searched some people, handing some HK$2,000 penalty tickets for apparently violating the ban on public gatherings of over eight people.
At least two young men with their hands tied behind their backs were taken away by police after being searched on Nelson Street. Later, a young man was led away in handcuffs by Langham Place mall.
The Hong Kong government, never one to let the crisis go to waste, blamed protesters for the entirety of the violence with a spokesperson claiming the events of Sunday were proof more Chinese government involvement was needed. Like that would calm things down given the powder keg about ready to explode in the current climate.
The rhetorical war remained strong in Hong Kong, as well, as government entities and allies attempt to justify the incursion on Hongkongers’ rights.
“The new national security law will finally resolve the inability of the Hong Kong government to legislate Article 23 in the Basic Law for almost two decades,” Alex Lo at South China Morning Post squawked on Sunday. He once attempted to get both sides to come together and talk but now openly roots for China. “It will neuter the anti-government/anti-China protest movement and compel potential pan-democratic candidates to adopt a more moderate platform in running for the Legislative Council elections in September.”
Chinese authorities also promised to draw Hong Kong completely under its power. Via SCMP:
“Don’t underestimate Beijing’s determination. When the decision is made, we will implement it till the end,” the delegation’s deputy convenor, Wong Yuk-shan, quoted [Vice-Premier Han Zheng] as saying. “Han stressed that the move was made after careful deliberation, taking into account the long-term interests of Hong Kong, and more importantly, of the state and the nation.”
State broadcaster CCTV reported Han as saying the law would target only a small faction of people who advocated Hong Kong independence and the “dark forces” behind them. The term is used by Beijing to refer to supposed overseas support for the anti-government movement.
According to sources from the meeting, Han said only three groups would be affected – pro-independence activists, violent radicals and protesters seeking to derail the city’s economy with a mentality of “if we burn, you burn with us”.
Ah, the old “if you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about” routine. Worked extremely well with the Patriot Act in America.
There is a theory amongst Hongkongers desiring universal suffrage that China planned this years ago when it negotiated its treaty with Great Britain regarding the expiring lease of Hong Kong. From Hong Kong Free Press:
When it was promulgated in 1990, China’s then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping hailed the Basic Law as a “masterpiece” of constitutional drafting. Observers indulged the veteran leader’s enthusiasm for the project he had overseen.
But in retrospect, maybe Deng was right after all. Because it contains so many grey areas and opt-out clauses, Hong Kong’s Basic Law constitution can easily be manipulated to serve both the appearance of autonomy and the reality of cross-border integration currently underway.
The world is currently watching the run-up to “what’s next” in Hong Kong: carnage, totalitarianism, and the death of freedom.