What started off as a demonstration against a controversial extradition bill has become a series of massive protests with broad political demands. Here is why so many Hong Kongers keep taking to the streets in a leaderless movement and whether their goals can be achieved.
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A 15-year-old girl is believed to have become the youngest Hong Kong protester ever to seek asylum in the UK. Called "Aurora," she joins a growing list of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists fleeing the territory in the wake of Beijing's increased crackdown on dissidents. But how open are the UK and other countries to accepting such asylum claims from Hong Kong protesters? Hong Kong supporters of President Donald Trump are changing their Twitter avatars to show support President Trump and protest the censoring of his Twitter Account.
Hong-Kong'ers are connecting with the president saying they have been the victims of violations and suppressions of their right to free speech by the Chinese Communist Party.
Twitter permanently suspended the Presidents account on Saturday after the protests on the Capitol.
Twitter said that the President's Tweets violate Twitter's policy against the glorification of violence.
One Twitter user told the local media,
"I think [Twitter's banning of Trump] is not acceptable," adding
"Why has the company not banned other accounts also appearing to spread fake news or incite violence?"
The Global Times called out Big Tech Companies in the U.S. for allowing Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong to continue to use their platforms, while suspending the presidents platform for what they call ‘a lesser offence'
"The Hong Kong rioters who were actively inciting violence far outnumbered the U.S. protesters, and lasted longer, why didn't they ban them? Those platforms will lose their moral high ground of advertising freedom of speech forever," said a user of China's Weibo microblogging platform quoted approvingly by the Global Times — which forgot to mention that Weibo exists because China's authoritarian regime bans Twitter for everyone except Communist officials, who freely use the platform to disseminate propaganda and disinformation in the outside world. As China's President Xi Jinping consolidates his power, scrapping a two-term presidential limit and cracking down on voices opposed to him, he has taken a firmer grip on the northwestern region of Xinjiang and self-governing Hong Kong.
His next focus could be the island of Taiwan. Xi has gone as far as saying it is an "inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people".
Plus: A failed decades-old policy of unfettered free-market economics. What is next for Chile as the people redefine the economy to eliminate inequality?
And, Argentina plans to tax the rich to pay for the pandemic. A court in Hong Kong has sentenced leading pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong to a total of 13-and-a-half months in jail for charges related to last year's anti-government protests. Mr Wong and two other pro-democracy protesters pleaded guilty to charges including inciting an illegal assembly. After those mass protests last year, Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in June. Critics say the new law is being used to further silence dissidents. Speaking through his lawyer, Joshua Wong said the fight for democracy and freedom would continue in prison.
- [Reporter] Since June, Hong Kong has seen a lot of action. Non-stop demonstrations against the controversial extradition bill, violent clashes between protesters and police, chaos at the city's airport, and massive peaceful marches in which organizers said nearly two million people walked in pouring rain. The movement doesn't have clear leaders and many people meet anonymously online to organize action. But their demands have grown and become a unifying force for millions of Hongkongers. - The public seeks the government's direct response to the five major demands. - Five demands. - The five requests. - [Reporter] So what exactly do protesters want? It all started with one demand, the withdrawal of the extradition bill. It would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to China for trial. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong has some autonomy from Beijing, like its own judiciary and legal system. But the proposed bill sparked concerns about China's growing influence in the city, propelling millions of people, young and old, to come out. Bowing to public pressure, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the bill just six days after the first mass protest, but didn't shelve it. As a result, people continue to demand it be withdrawn completely. The leader of Hong Kong responded with this. - The bill is dead. - [Reporter] As the government keeps refusing to formally withdraw the bill, people continue taking to the streets, fearing it could be resurrected. On June 12, tens of thousands of protesters blocked the entrance to the Legislative Council Building. Police responded to the huge congregation with tear gas and rubber bullets. It shocked the city. The incident was designated a riot. Lam says accusations of rioting won't be used against peaceful protesters. But this term is controversial because it could label a rioter as anyone who is in the vicinity of the clashes. Those found guilty rioting could face up to 10 years in jail. Protesters are demanding that the designation be dropped. They also want amnesty for those who've been arrested. Since June, police have made over 700 arrests. The government argues amnesty would weaken the rule of law if prosecutions weren't followed through. Protester are also demanding an independent inquiry into the police handling of the protests. Officers have shot not only the projectiles at close range and liberally fire tear gas in residential and tourist areas, even in subway stations. This has become one of the biggest rallying cries. In one of the latest skirmishes a young woman was hit in the eye. She's become a symbol of the movement against police brutality. Lam says an inquiry into police actions would be bad for officers' morale and insisted that a government watchdog group led by civilians would do as much of a good job. The fifth demand is greater democracy and the biggest ask. Under the current governance system with China, Hong Kong's leaders and some members of the lawmaking body are groups loyal to Beijing. So protesters are calling for universal suffrage, that each person gets a vote that actually counts in choosing their leader. But most experts and even Hongkongers think this last demand is unattainable in the short-term, given Beijing's toughening stance on any form of dissent. As momentum for the movement has grown, so have protesters' demands. But the government has refused to recognize any since mid-June. Diplomacy is critical in a deadlock. But the movement's mostly leaderless nature means that not one particular group or person can speak on behalf of everyone. Lam has promised to work on dialogue with different groups of people from all backgrounds and political platforms to find a way out for Hong Kong. Some of these are big asks, nonetheless, many protesters hope the government will make some concessions. Until then, public discontent is unlikely to go away.