Featured image by: user/AznSW/ Literally it translates to “Hong Kong Add Oil!” Add oil is a Hong Kong English expression used as encouragement and support. It can be roughly translated as “Go for it”.
Lawrence and Season Lee were marching on a highway with their 3-year-old daughter, who tottered along in pink galoshes. Mr. Lee said he knew that violence was always a possibility with the protests, but he felt Sunday’s march was too important to miss.
“We can’t take it anymore,” he said. “The government hasn’t given any response.”
It was especially important, the Lees said, that their daughter come along to see what was happening.
“We tell her we are all doing this for your future,” Mrs. Lee said.
What are the protests about?
What are 2019 Hong Kong protests about?
The 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests are a series of demonstrations in Hong Kong and other cities around the world, demanding the withdrawal of the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 proposed by the Government of Hong Kong.
Explanation from The Guardian:
The protests were initially focused on a bill that would make it easier to extradite people to China from the semi-autonomous city. But the authorities’ harsh policing of the protests, coupled with a refusal by Hong Kong’s leader to completely withdraw the bill, mean protesters have returned to the streets time and again.
Explanation from The New York Times:
The protests began in June over a Hong Kong government proposal that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. That legislation has been shelved, though not completely withdrawn, and the demands of the protesters have grown to include expanded direct elections and amnesty for arrested protesters. Many protesters have complained about the use of force by the police and have accused the authorities of not aggressively investigating thugs who have attacked demonstrators.
“This protest started because we didn’t agree with a government policy, but as time went on we discovered many bad things about the police and the criminals and other things that make us want to speak up,” said Paul Lam, 25.
The Civil Human Rights Front, the group that organized the gathering, issued a long statement criticizing what it called “Chinese-style repression” by the Hong Kong police, and called for top officers to step down.
“Today’s assembly continues the will of the two million people who marched on June 16 against brutality,” it said. “We want to gather the most Hong Kongers, and, using peaceful, rational and nonviolent means, unite in spirit and action to express our indignation against police brutality, as well as display Hong Kongers’ firm resolve.”
How can people in the US help?
1. Spread the news, images, and videos to people around you.
- “Don’t let it lose coverage. The only weapon and protection Hong Kong protesters have is the media. Once they lose that they literally have nothing.”
- Follow the r/Hong Kong Reddit feed for live news from Hong Kongers
- Follow Joshua Wong on Twitter. He has been the most prominent pro-democracy Hong Konger for years now.
2. Read information related to Hong Kong’s extradition law amendment bill, the reason that they are fighting against the government.
- What is the problem with anti-extradition bill? It is feared that the bill would cause the city to open up to mainland Chinese law and that people from Hong Kong could become subject to a different legal system.
- What is the extradition bill? The proposed bill would amend two existing laws and allow Hong Kong to transfer suspects to countries that it currently lacks a formal extradition agreement with. Crucially, one of those jurisdictions would be mainland China
- Why are people concerned? Opponents worry that if the bill passes, anyone who irks Beijing could be targeted and potentially sent to the mainland, including dissidents.
- Though the bill excludes political crimes, critics point out that China frequently charges dissidents, including religious leaders and human rights activists, with criminal offenses like “running an illegal business” and “picking quarrels.”
- If the bill becomes law, foreign residents and even visitors transiting through the regional hub could also be detained and sent to the mainland, a move that will potentially spook investors and send tycoons packing.
- If the law passes, critics warn it will end the city’s independent judiciary, and open the floodgates to China’s restrictive political system.
- Many Hong Kongers fear the law would be used by authorities to target political enemies and that it would signify the end of the “one country, two systems” policy, eroding the civil rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents since the handover of sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997. – The Guardian
- Legal professionals have also expressed concern over the rights of those sent across the border to be tried. The conviction rate in Chinese courts is as high as 99%. Arbitrary detentions, torture and denial of legal representation of one’s choosing are also common. – The Guardian
- Who opposes it? Opposition to the law spans socioeconomic and ideological divides, unifying even groups and organizations that do not typically participate in the city’s political sparring.
- The bill is suspended, so why aren’t the protests over? As long as the bill is suspended and not canceled, protesters fear the approval process could resume. If the bill were put to a vote, it would almost certainly pass as the legislature is controlled by pro-Beijing lawmakers
- Information from Worth View
3. Reach out to your congress representatives/senators/local politicians
- Suggest them to grant help Hong Kong activists to gain political asylum in our country.
- Suggest they support the Commissioners Reintroduce The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act
- Introduced by U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Chair and Cochair respectively of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), along with CECC Commissioner and former Chair, U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ).
- It’s a reintroduction of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, bicameral and bipartisan legislation that reaffirms the U.S. commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when these freedoms and Hong Kong’s autonomy are being eroded through interference by the Chinese government and Communist Party.
- It makes clear that visa applicants shall not be denied visas on the basis of the applicant’s arrest, detention or other adverse government action taken as a result of their participation in the nonviolent protest activities related to pro-democracy advocacy, human rights, or the rule of law in Hong Kong.
- It would require the President to identify persons responsible for the abductions of Hong Kong booksellers and journalists and those complicit in suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, including those complicit in the rendition of individuals, in connection to their exercise of internationally recognized rights, to mainland China for detention or trial, and to freeze their U.S.-based assets and deny them entry into the United States.
- Read more on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China
- Suggest them to support the Hong Kong Policy Reevaluation Act of 2019
- Introduced in Senate (06/12/2019) sponsor: Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX]
- This bill directs the Department of State to report to Congress on China’s activities in relation to Hong Kong.
- The report shall assess how the Chinese government extradites or coercively moves foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, from Hong Kong to mainland China. It shall also describe how China uses Hong Kong to avoid U.S. export controls, duties on imported goods, and sanctions.
- The State Department shall report on China’s use of Hong Kong security agencies to (1) conduct espionage against foreign nationals, (2) conduct influence operations, and (3) violate civil liberties protected under Hong Kong law.
4. Donate to The Hong Kong Free Press
- A local online-only newspaper that publishes Hong Kong news in English. Unlike the majority of media companies in HK, which people from management are connected to China government officials or from pro-China camps in HK, this newspaper roots for democracy and reveals the unbiased truth of what’s happening in Hong Kong to people who don’t read Chinese.
5. Sign the White House petition: Extradition Law Amendment in Hong Kong – Threat to Personal Safety and Freedom
Media of the protests
Hong Kong protesters let an ambulance go through the massive protestpic.twitter.com/IN61ZnJ9fZ
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) June 16, 2019