Saturday, July 27, 2019

Protesters calling for 'free Hong Kong' converge on airport

26 July, 2019

HONG KONG — Several hundred protesters calling for democracy and some chanting "free Hong Kong" converged on the Chinese-ruled city's airport on Friday (July 26) as neighbouring Singapore advised its citizens to avoid parts of the territory.

Airport authorities said operations would not be affected, but advised passengers to arrive early given the risk of disruption.

The former British colony of Hong Kong, which returned to China in 1997, is embroiled in its worst political crisis for decades after two months of increasingly violent protests that have posed one of the gravest populist challenges to China's leader Xi Jinping since he took office.

The demonstrations, mushrooming up almost daily, saw the defacement of China's main representative office last weekend, triggering warnings from Beijing this was an attack on China's sovereignty.

What started as an angry response to a now-suspended extradition bill, which would have allowed defendants to be sent to the mainland for trial, now includes demands for greater democracy, the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and even keeping mainland Chinese tourists out of Hong Kong.
[Interesting. In this blogpost (link), it was asked what would be the "victory" conditions for the protesters. Two conditions were envisaged (based on the protests and demands then):
Whether the protesters win or not, is ultimately irrelevant. Say they win. And "win" is defined as
1) The extradition bill is scrapped, not just "suspended".
2) Carrie Lam resigns. 
Then what?
Well, this answers the "then what?" Now they want PRC tourists out of HK, greater democracy, and "free Hong Kong", whatever and however that is meant.]

Some protesters, dressed in helmets and seated on the ground of the arrivals hall, held up signs calling on the government to withdraw the extradition bill completely, while chants of "Free Hong Kong" reverberated around the building.
"The world has been watching us in the past few weeks," said Jeremy Tam, a former pilot and lawmaker who helped organise the protest with other aviation sector employees.

"We simply believe that the airport is the most direct way for all tourists to explain what is happening in Hong Kong."

Singapore urged its citizens in a travel advisory on Friday to avoid parts of Hong Kong where protests may be taking place, noting the airport demonstration.

"If you are already in Hong Kong, you should take all necessary precautions to ensure your personal safety," it read.

"Protests which are meant to be peaceful may still have the potential to turn violent with little or no notice."

Some protesters handed out flyers explaining the city's crisis to tourists.

Others condemned the failure of police to protect citizens and protesters from a frenzied attack by armed men at a train station last Sunday that shocked the city. Police sources say some of these men had triad backgrounds.

Members of the public, tourists and pilots, flight attendants and other aviation workers signed a petition urging the Hong Kong government to prosecute the attackers.

The Flight Attendants' Union for Hong Kong's main carrier Cathay Pacific had earlier urged its members to "stand up for our human rights and be connected with the rest of the HongKongers" on its Facebook page.

"United Hong Kong Stands!" it added.

An investment banker at a US bank told Reuters he had rescheduled his flight from Hong Kong to Beijing to another day, over concerns flights possibly being grounded should the protest escalate. 

[It is sad. I am sad for Hong Kongers. But their demands are unrealistic. Look at Taiwan. It is de facto an independent country with the capability to at least put up some defence of its soverignty. It has it's own independent government, and armed forces, and can put up a credible defence. 

And China still claims it as a "rogue province" to be re-unified at some future time, with force if necessary.

Then there is HK. No Military. No truly independent government. And whatever concessions granted to HK since 1997, is time-limited (50 years), and will run out in 2047.

A HKer born today will be a young adult when HK reverts wholly to China's rule. China MAY extend the Special Administrative Region status of HK beyond 2047, but it is under no pressure to do so. 

If HKers harbour unrealistic hopes of being "Free Hong Kong", they should look to Tibet, look to Xinjiang, and think again. 

They have no bargaining chips and the best a HKers can hope for, is to migrate before 2047.

With global warming, most of HK may well be underwater by then.]

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