China’s violent crackdown on pro democracy protesters in Hong Kong continued today as riot police cleared out an airport that had been shut down as a result of a sit-in. Video shows riot police senselessly beating unarmed protesters and even drawing guns on them.
The protests, which have been going on for weeks, are in response to a bill that would make it easier for the Chinese government to extradite accused criminals to mainland China. The government claims that the amendments, which would also apply to Taiwan and Macau, stem from a murder in which the suspect is thought to be hiding out in Hong Kong. The Chinese government can’t extradite him and wants the ability to do so for those accused of crimes that carry a penalty of 7+ years in prison. Citizens of Hong Kong say this is a violation of the city’s semi-autonomous status and critics worry that the law will be used to extradite political opponents.
Hong Kong citizens have also grown wary of mainland China’s influence on them. The people don’t have the ability to elect their own leader. Instead, a leader is selected by a committee that reports to Beijing. In addition to that, the people have begun to resent China due to the rising price of property, a direct result of mainland Chinese citizens buying it up. Concerns about increased pro Beijing media censorship and the jailing of political leaders have also added fuel to the fire.
The bill is currently tabled but protesters aren’t satisfied. They want the bill withdrawn completely, and are currently enraged over Triad connected attacks in Yuen Long. Demonstrators say that the police are working with local gangs in order to attack them, and that is the main cause of the current wave of protests.
The world is increasingly becoming concerned that China will use its military to crack down on the Hong Kong protesters. Video that emerged yesterday showed a large column of Chinese military vehicles entering Hong Kong from Shenzhen. The Chinese military group has allegedly set up a base of operations at Shenzhen Bay Sports Complex, located roughly 25 miles from Hong Kong. This has been reported by U.S. intelligence agencies and was alluded to in a tweet by President Trump.
As the violence in Hong Kong continues to escalate, some protesters have been seen waving the American flag. Demonstrators at a July 27th protest in Yuen Long district could been seen embracing the flag. Police refused to issue a permit for the event but the protests went on anyway.
Demonstrators could also be seen waving the flag and singing the National Anthem in Hong Kong.
The current protests are expected to continue tomorrow and the world is hoping that a repeat of Tiananmen square doesn’t occur.