Thousands of Hong Kong students turn out to protest extradition bill
Robie de Guzman • August 23, 2019 • 249
Thousands of secondary school students gathered at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong on Thursday (August 22) to call for political reforms amid turmoil and chaos in the city.
Many of the students said they joined the rally as the government has not answered any of the protesters’ five demands, while others, who are in their senior years, praised the high-school students for ‘sacrificing’ their summer holiday to come out on Thursday.
Hong Kong has been gripped by anti-government protests in recent weeks, with China accusing Britain and other Western countries of meddling in its affairs.
The unrest has been fuelled by broader worries about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula adopted after 1997 but not enjoyed on the Chinese mainland, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest. (Reuters)
Pro-Beijing supporters gathered at an upscale Hong Kong shopping mall to display the Chinese flag and chant slogans supporting the Hong Kong police on Thursday (September 12), before being heckled by pro-democracy protesters.
Demonstrators supporting Beijing sang the Chinese national anthem and “Ode to The Motherland” in a flashmob-style protest at the IFC mall in the morning. Video also showed them waving China’s national flags.
Pro-democracy protesters soon arrived and chanted “return to the mainland”.
Hong Kong residents had been gathering to sing a popular protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” at malls, football stadiums and on the streets in the past week. More peaceful pro-democracy protests are scheduled over the next few days alongside the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. (REUTERS)
Tourism workers in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) staged a protest on Tuesday by driving buses slowly, calling on social stability and economic recovery.
Over 60 tour buses gathered at Shing Kai Road in Kowloon on Tuesday morning and the protest began at around 10:30.
The tourism industry in Hong Kong is experiencing a chilly winter with sluggish business, as the city is losing inland tourist arrivals due to weeks of violence.
“My drivers have gained nothing for three consecutive months,” said Chou Chih-hsiung, a bus operator.
“I hope things could be quenched as soon as possible so as to restore peace in Hong Kong. Then our tourism industry could resume business operation as soon as possible. We should promote Hong Kong and recover it as before, so that people would feel that Hong Kong is the safest city and the best destination of tourism,” said Wen Kuan-ch’eng, a tourism worker.
According to the data released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, inbound tourists to Hong Kong dropped by about 40 percent in August year on year. Recently, Hong Kong’s tour bus drivers, tour guides and other tourism workers have earned less and even experienced laid-offs.Hong Kong tourism practitioners are eager to see the society returns to peace as soon as possible.
“This industry is indeed hit heavily. All of us. Even mine is a medium-sized travel agency, it still has few tour groups to handle,” said Chuang Hui, a tourism worker.
“The most important thing is that this is not our will. We don’t like these riots to destroy the society. We hope the things are quenched as soon as possible, and then we will do some work to rekindle tourists’ confidence to come to Hong Kong,” said Dicky Yip, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Practitioners’ Union.
Now “ending the chaos and restoring order” has become the broadest consensus and strongest desire of all walks of life in Hong Kong. Timothy Chui Ting-pong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association, pointed out that as long as the social order could be restored, Hong Kong still could see a long-term development in tourism.
“We have confidence in our tourism industry. We hope that through the adjustment this time, our Hong Kong’s tourism industry could work more for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” he said. (REUTERS)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday (September 6) that the Chinese government unswervingly safeguards ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong people’.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel raised Hong Kong with Chinese premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday, saying a peaceful solution is needed.
Li said Beijing supported the Hong Kong government “to end the violence and chaos in accordance with the law, to return to order, which is to safeguard Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.”
The extradition bill, which would have allowed people in the former British colony to be sent to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party, triggered mass protests that have since widened into a backlash against the Hong Kong government and its political masters in Beijing.
Hong Kong is bracing for more demonstrations this weekend, with protesters threatening to disrupt transport links to the airport, after embattled leader Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill failed to appease some activists. (REUTERS)
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