This article is from the source 'guardian' and was first published or seen on . The next check for changes will be

You can find the current article at its original source at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/28/hong-kong-protest-take-democracy-struggle-uk-politicians

The article has changed 5 times. There is an RSS feed of changes available.

Version 3 Version 4
A very modern protest: Hongkongers take democracy struggle to the UK A very modern protest: Hongkongers take democracy struggle to the UK
(12 days later)
Chris, one of thousands who have been protesting in Hong Kong over the past seven weeks, is on what he calls the “keyboard frontline”. The twentysomething Hongkonger, who uses an alias for security reasons, is fielding phone calls on the final version of an advert he and other protesters are placing in a paper the next day. He looks over the final cut of a video, going out in 20 minutes. He has two phones, one for his daily use and another that he takes to the protests in case it gets damaged in the chaos.Chris, one of thousands who have been protesting in Hong Kong over the past seven weeks, is on what he calls the “keyboard frontline”. The twentysomething Hongkonger, who uses an alias for security reasons, is fielding phone calls on the final version of an advert he and other protesters are placing in a paper the next day. He looks over the final cut of a video, going out in 20 minutes. He has two phones, one for his daily use and another that he takes to the protests in case it gets damaged in the chaos.
Chris is part of a group that calls itself StandwithHK, which has launched a media blitz aimed at the UK, calling on British residents to defend their country’s former colony, Hong Kong. Full-page adverts appeared in major British newspapers, including the Guardian, while videos were launched on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. A flashmob was held in Trafalgar Square. An online petition automatically sends a letter to one’s MP, based on the postcode given. On Sunday, protesters plan to hold rallies around the UK.Chris is part of a group that calls itself StandwithHK, which has launched a media blitz aimed at the UK, calling on British residents to defend their country’s former colony, Hong Kong. Full-page adverts appeared in major British newspapers, including the Guardian, while videos were launched on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. A flashmob was held in Trafalgar Square. An online petition automatically sends a letter to one’s MP, based on the postcode given. On Sunday, protesters plan to hold rallies around the UK.
StandwithHK is a loose group of protesters who describe themselves as “concerned Hongkongers from around the world”. Chris sums up their goal: “The question that we would like to ask UK politicians is: ‘Why haven’t you been doing more? Why?’”StandwithHK is a loose group of protesters who describe themselves as “concerned Hongkongers from around the world”. Chris sums up their goal: “The question that we would like to ask UK politicians is: ‘Why haven’t you been doing more? Why?’”
The group’s slickly produced ads and videos focus on a historical document signed by Margaret Thatcher and the former Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang in 1984, called the Joint Declaration. The goal is to remind the UK of its legal and moral responsibilities to Hong Kong, a British colony for 156 years before it was returned to Chinese control in 1997.The group’s slickly produced ads and videos focus on a historical document signed by Margaret Thatcher and the former Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang in 1984, called the Joint Declaration. The goal is to remind the UK of its legal and moral responsibilities to Hong Kong, a British colony for 156 years before it was returned to Chinese control in 1997.
The Joint Declaration promised Hong Kong could keep the legal and political system inherited from the British. Under the agreement, Hong Kong would maintain a “high degree of autonomy” through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as: “One country two systems.”The Joint Declaration promised Hong Kong could keep the legal and political system inherited from the British. Under the agreement, Hong Kong would maintain a “high degree of autonomy” through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as: “One country two systems.”
But, over the years, Chinese influence over Hong Kong has grown, with its government and legislature tilted in favour of Beijing. Education, publishing and the media have all come under pressure.But, over the years, Chinese influence over Hong Kong has grown, with its government and legislature tilted in favour of Beijing. Education, publishing and the media have all come under pressure.
After a bill was put forward to allow extradition to China, a change that critics say would undermine Hong Kong’s judicial system and leave anyone up for grabs by the Chinese state, relatively moderate Hongkongers, a group Chris once counted himself among, came out to the streets.After a bill was put forward to allow extradition to China, a change that critics say would undermine Hong Kong’s judicial system and leave anyone up for grabs by the Chinese state, relatively moderate Hongkongers, a group Chris once counted himself among, came out to the streets.
“I would face 100 charges here rather than face a single charge in China,” he said. “I basically have no confidence in the Chinese legal system. They could do anything to me.”“I would face 100 charges here rather than face a single charge in China,” he said. “I basically have no confidence in the Chinese legal system. They could do anything to me.”
Earlier this month, someone floated the idea of targeting the UK and its role as a signatory to the Joint Declaration. In less than a day, they raised approximately £320,000 from 9,519 donors and, within a few weeks, the campaign was launched. The group has writers, designers, social media managers, animators, accountants and lawyers to advise on Hong Kong and UK law.”Earlier this month, someone floated the idea of targeting the UK and its role as a signatory to the Joint Declaration. In less than a day, they raised approximately £320,000 from 9,519 donors and, within a few weeks, the campaign was launched. The group has writers, designers, social media managers, animators, accountants and lawyers to advise on Hong Kong and UK law.”
The protests were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the Communist party controls the courts, but have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement.The protests were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the Communist party controls the courts, but have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement.
Public anger – fuelled by the aggressive tactics used by the police against demonstrators – has collided with years of frustration over worsening inequality and the cost of living in one of the world's most expensive, densely populated cities.Public anger – fuelled by the aggressive tactics used by the police against demonstrators – has collided with years of frustration over worsening inequality and the cost of living in one of the world's most expensive, densely populated cities.
The protest movement was given fresh impetus on 21 July when gangs of men attacked protesters and commuters at a mass transit station – while authorities seemingly did little to intervene. The protest movement was given fresh impetus on 21 July when gangs of men attacked protesters and commuters at a mass transit station – while authorities seemingly did little to intervene. 
Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment rather than by direct elections.Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment rather than by direct elections.
Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until their core demands are met, such as the resignation of the city's leader, Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into police tactics, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill. Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until their core demands are met, such as the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into police tactics, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.
Hongkongers have seen Beijing’s influence grow in recent years, as activists have been jailed and pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from running or holding office. Independent booksellers have disappeared from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges. Beijing’s influence over Hong Kong has grown in recent years, as activists have been jailed and pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from running or holding office. Independent booksellers have disappeared from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges.
Under the terms of the agreement by which the former British colony was returned to Chinese control in 1997, the semi-autonomous region was meant to maintain a “high degree of autonomy” through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as “one country, two systems”.Under the terms of the agreement by which the former British colony was returned to Chinese control in 1997, the semi-autonomous region was meant to maintain a “high degree of autonomy” through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as “one country, two systems”.
The extradition bill was seen as an attempt to undermine this and to give Beijing the ability to try pro-democracy activists under the judicial system of the mainland.The extradition bill was seen as an attempt to undermine this and to give Beijing the ability to try pro-democracy activists under the judicial system of the mainland.
Lam has shown no sign of backing down beyond agreeing to suspend the extradition bill, while Beijing has issued increasingly shrill condemnations but has left it to the city's semi-autonomous government to deal with the situation. Meanwhile police have violently clashed directly with protesters, repeatedly firing teargas and rubber bullets.Lam has shown no sign of backing down beyond agreeing to suspend the extradition bill, while Beijing has issued increasingly shrill condemnations but has left it to the city's semi-autonomous government to deal with the situation. Meanwhile police have violently clashed directly with protesters, repeatedly firing teargas and rubber bullets.
Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are “fanning the fire” of unrest in the city. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi has ordered the US to “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form”.Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are “fanning the fire” of unrest in the city. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi has ordered the US to “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form”.
Lily Kuo and Verna Yu in Hong KongLily Kuo and Verna Yu in Hong Kong
StandwithHK echoes the broader protest movement. It is not a formal group with any organisational structure – just people who volunteer to take charge of different tasks. Ideas are floated on online forums and Telegram groups, judged by the discussion they inspire or the amount of up-votes they get. Decisions are made quickly. If mistakes are made they move on. The ethos follows that of the movement, and the words of Bruce Lee: “Be water”.StandwithHK echoes the broader protest movement. It is not a formal group with any organisational structure – just people who volunteer to take charge of different tasks. Ideas are floated on online forums and Telegram groups, judged by the discussion they inspire or the amount of up-votes they get. Decisions are made quickly. If mistakes are made they move on. The ethos follows that of the movement, and the words of Bruce Lee: “Be water”.
More specifically, according to Chris, it operates like a neural network, “where every cell is independent and autonomous but as a whole there’s a collective intelligence that emerges from it,” Chris said.More specifically, according to Chris, it operates like a neural network, “where every cell is independent and autonomous but as a whole there’s a collective intelligence that emerges from it,” Chris said.
Six thousand miles away, Hongkongers studying and working in Europe are also playing a role in the campaign. They work across three time zones, the UK and Europe, the US and Hong Kong. “We have people everywhere,” Chris said.Six thousand miles away, Hongkongers studying and working in Europe are also playing a role in the campaign. They work across three time zones, the UK and Europe, the US and Hong Kong. “We have people everywhere,” Chris said.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Sam, another organiser, has been organised from the UK. In the corner of a busy cafe in central London, she explained how she and others were part of a very 21st century movement active across the world. Communication is maintained using social media apps with a high degree of anonymity. They speak mostly over Telegram, an encrypted platform. “It’s very horizontal. There are no clear leaders and we don’t necessarily know each other. We all use Telegram and communicate with each other to organise rosters for example or discuss what we do next,” Sam said.Born and raised in Hong Kong, Sam, another organiser, has been organised from the UK. In the corner of a busy cafe in central London, she explained how she and others were part of a very 21st century movement active across the world. Communication is maintained using social media apps with a high degree of anonymity. They speak mostly over Telegram, an encrypted platform. “It’s very horizontal. There are no clear leaders and we don’t necessarily know each other. We all use Telegram and communicate with each other to organise rosters for example or discuss what we do next,” Sam said.
While activists in Hong Kong have felt the sharp end of police tactics, those who are active in Britain and other countries are also wary. “It’s quite scary, even here. We know also that the Metropolitan police detained a Tiananmen Square dissident in London after pressure from China,” she said. Members of the group, whether in the UK or in Hong Kong, are always on high alert.While activists in Hong Kong have felt the sharp end of police tactics, those who are active in Britain and other countries are also wary. “It’s quite scary, even here. We know also that the Metropolitan police detained a Tiananmen Square dissident in London after pressure from China,” she said. Members of the group, whether in the UK or in Hong Kong, are always on high alert.
The group is not naive. “We’re under no illusions but Boris Johnson did say that he would back the people of Hong Kong every inch of the way, so we’ll be closely monitoring what he does,” she said. “We are focusing on Britain’s historical responsibility and unique, legal right to hold China to its promises under the Joint Declaration. We want the country to stand with us in our fight to protect our freedoms,” she said.The group is not naive. “We’re under no illusions but Boris Johnson did say that he would back the people of Hong Kong every inch of the way, so we’ll be closely monitoring what he does,” she said. “We are focusing on Britain’s historical responsibility and unique, legal right to hold China to its promises under the Joint Declaration. We want the country to stand with us in our fight to protect our freedoms,” she said.
Neither does Chris expect the UK to sanction China or Hong Kong uphold the Joint Declaration. Instead, Chris says, their work is from bottom up and hopefully more lasting.Neither does Chris expect the UK to sanction China or Hong Kong uphold the Joint Declaration. Instead, Chris says, their work is from bottom up and hopefully more lasting.
“This kind of large-scale leaderless movement and the sheer efficiency of it has captured the imagination of audiences everywhere,” he said. “So if we have left this little spark in people’s minds … then that’s our historical mark.”“This kind of large-scale leaderless movement and the sheer efficiency of it has captured the imagination of audiences everywhere,” he said. “So if we have left this little spark in people’s minds … then that’s our historical mark.”
Hong Kong: police fire teargas as thousands march in Yuen LongHong Kong: police fire teargas as thousands march in Yuen Long
In Hong Kong, Chris is preparing for a weekend of protests that have been declared illegal by the police, raising the chances of arrest and clashes. He spends his days scouting locations, ferrying supplies to drop-off locations, and scanning messages from dozens of groups on Telegram to see what needs doing.In Hong Kong, Chris is preparing for a weekend of protests that have been declared illegal by the police, raising the chances of arrest and clashes. He spends his days scouting locations, ferrying supplies to drop-off locations, and scanning messages from dozens of groups on Telegram to see what needs doing.
Sometimes he thinks about his life from the perspective of his sister, who lives in Hong Kong but is not as much of an activist as he is. Like many Hongkongers, she has gone on with normal life, going to work in an office. “She once said it’s like a parallel world. The protesters are fellow Hongkongers, but they live seemingly in a parallel dimension.” He quotes his sister: “‘How can they be protesting all the time? Their whole lives are full of these values, schemes … meanwhile, I’m thinking about lunch I should have.’”Sometimes he thinks about his life from the perspective of his sister, who lives in Hong Kong but is not as much of an activist as he is. Like many Hongkongers, she has gone on with normal life, going to work in an office. “She once said it’s like a parallel world. The protesters are fellow Hongkongers, but they live seemingly in a parallel dimension.” He quotes his sister: “‘How can they be protesting all the time? Their whole lives are full of these values, schemes … meanwhile, I’m thinking about lunch I should have.’”
Chris agrees, because his life was once similar. Now, he spends more time on the protests than on his real job, which he says is the case for many of his fellow demonstrators. “The past seems so distant,” he says.Chris agrees, because his life was once similar. Now, he spends more time on the protests than on his real job, which he says is the case for many of his fellow demonstrators. “The past seems so distant,” he says.
Hong KongHong Kong
The ObserverThe Observer
Social mediaSocial media
ProtestProtest
newsnews
Share on FacebookShare on Facebook
Share on TwitterShare on Twitter
Share via EmailShare via Email
Share on LinkedInShare on LinkedIn
Share on PinterestShare on Pinterest
Share on WhatsAppShare on WhatsApp
Share on MessengerShare on Messenger
Reuse this contentReuse this content