Hong Kong police confiscate a shopping cart filled with makeshift weapons after dispersing a crowd of illegal protesters in Causeway Bay on Sunday night. Photo: Wang Cong/GT
As US politicians continue to fan the flames in Hong Kong, Sunday‘s mass rally, aimed at pushing the US into passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, showed how protesters broke the bottom line, observers noted.
The protest followed a series of violent clashes over the past few nights when mobs vandalized subway stations and other facilities, engaged in arson on the streets and violently charged police officers.
At about 2:40 pm, hundreds deviated from an assembly point in Chater Garden and moved toward the US Consulate General located in Central Hong Kong.
Some bus services were suspended and public places in the vicinity were closed.
Black-clad individuals with their faces covered in black masks attended the scene.
Some held iron sticks, a common makeshift weapon used by radicals over the past few weeks.
Many protesters held US flags and some held photos of US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
On one of Trump‘s photos, he was pictured alongside guns.
More English slogans such as “Free Hong Kong” could be seen than in those of previous protests. Some protesters also called for the US to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. UK and German flags could also be spotted on the scene.
“The Americans will not ‘free‘ Hong Kong, but will only destabilize China, including Hong Kong, so as to hit hard their perceived competitor,” said Chan Yung, vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
Clear-minded Hong Kong citizens must say ‘no‘ to selling Hong Kong this way, Chan told the Global Times on Sunday.
Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University in Beijing and an expert on Hong Kong studies, believes the appeal by Hong Kong protesters is evidence that they collude with external forces to jeopardize Hong Kong‘s international status and fundamental interests.
The city government announced on Wednesday a four-action plan to start dialogue with all walks of life to ease the current situation.
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But US politicians have continuously fanned the flames. Both Republican and Democratic members of the US Congress are pushing for the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as soon as possible. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin are among those sponsoring passage of the bill.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is an amendment to the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 which allows the US government to afford Hong Kong trade and business privileges.
One of the most important provisions of the proposed bill is that officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government who are found suppressing Hong Kong‘s democracy, human rights or citizen freedoms can have their assets in the US frozen and be denied entry to the US.
On Twitter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi posted “If we don‘t speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out elsewhere,” referring to the introduction of the act and bipartisan consensus around it.
Regarding the statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said at Friday‘s media briefing that China deplores and firmly opposes US senators‘ attempted move to push the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as interfering in China‘s internal affairs.
Tian said the US-proposed act is an evident show of interference in China‘s domestic affairs which violates international law and international relations principles.
However, it is very likely that the US will pass the bill, Tian noted. “After the trade issue, the next card the US is to play is Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs,” said Tian.
Tian also suggested China should prepare for financial risks and the possible change of Hong Kong‘s financial status amid US interference, speed up development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and further expand its support for Hong Kong.
A view of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) special section at the China International Financial Expo in Guangzhou, South China‘s Guangdong Province. Photo: IC
“China can take countermeasures against the US, by imposing sanctions to the congressmen who passed the bill and ban their families to do business with Chinese companies. It can also list them as unwelcome people and ban them from entering Chinese territory,” Tian noted.