In Hong Kong, protesters again clashed with police on Nov. 10, a day after a calm Saturday that saw roughly 100,000 hold a candlelight vigil to commemorate the death of a college student that was related to police action.
Alex Chow Tsz-lok, 22, a computer science student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), died from cardiac arrest on Nov. 8.
Days prior on Nov. 3, Chow fell one story from a carpark in the Tseung Kwan O area, sustaining severe brain injuries.
Prior to his fall, local police had fired tear gas into the carpark, reportedly in reaction to protesters throwing bottles and bricks from the building. Police have said they have nothing to do with his death and that closed-circuit footage showed Chow walking by himself shortly before his fall.
The fire department said that an ambulance assigned to Chow was delayed in arriving on the scene due to a traffic jam. When the ambulance approached the area, paramedics had to walk on foot to get to Chow because a road near the carpark was blocked, according to local media. It is unknown why the road was blocked, while police have denied that they caused any delay in Chow receiving medical assistance.
Wei Shyy, president of HKUST, has called for a “thorough and independent investigation” into Chow’s death, while the police have recommended for a coroner’s court to investigate his death.
Though the circumstances of Chow’s fall remain unclear, his death has become a new rallying cry for Hong Kong protesters, angered at what they see as the police’s violent and heavy-handed tactics in handling protests since June.
On Saturday evening, a candlelight vigil was held in Tamar Park, located next to the government offices. Locals also paid tribute to Chow by laying down white flowers and putting up paper cranes at the walls of the parking lot where he fell.
On Nov. 10, protests broke out in several districts, including Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin, and Causeway Bay, in and around shopping malls, after an online call to action to “go shopping.”
At around 3:30 p.m. local time, police fired tear gas at an overhead bridge in Tsuen Wan, injuring a female journalist working for local media Now TV.
An hour later, at the shopping center Citywalk, also in Tsuen Wan, police fired pepper spray at protesters in response to umbrellas and bottles hurled their way.
Plainclothes police also made several arrests inside the Festival Walk shopping center located in Kowloon Tong, according to Hong Kong media, where protesters had gathered to chant slogans. Demonstrators began brawling with the plainclothes officers, with at least one officer sustaining injuries.
Eventually, riot police arrived and fired pepper spray to disperse protesters.
At least five arrests were also made at the Jat Min Chuen public housing estate, located in Sha Tin, as police looked for protesters who had earlier gathered at a nearby park.
As the night unfolded, police began to confront protesters gathering in the streets of Tsuen Wan by firing multiple rounds of tear gas, according to RTHK.
At around 8:45 p.m. local time, police deployed a water-cannon vehicle to disperse protesters who took up the streets of Mong Kok.
While protests were ongoing, Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting was holed up inside the city’s legislative council (LegCo) building, refusing to voluntarily surrender himself to the police.
Lam was among seven pro-democracy lawmakers accused of violating article 19 of the Legislative Council Ordinance, which deals with assault and obstruction of LegCo members. The police issued arrests in relation to an incident on May 11, when several lawmakers got into a scuffle while debating the since-withdrawn extradition bill that ignited the protests.
Lawmaker Eddie Chu was arrested by the police on Friday, while five others—Au Nok-hin, Raymond Chan, Gary Fan, Kwok Ka-ki, and Leung Yiu-chung—voluntarily showed up at police stations on Saturday after they were notified of their pending arrests.
At least three of them, Kwok, Leung, and Fan, are scheduled to appear at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Nov. 11.
Tanya Chan, convener of LegCo’s pro-democracy camp, has accused the Hong Kong government of using the arrests as a means to stir up public anger, so that the upcoming district council elections on Nov. 24 would be canceled.
Hong Kong’s constitutional and mainland affairs secretary, Patrick Nip, has responded by saying the arrests have nothing to do with the election.
U.S. lawmakers also voiced their concerns about the arrests.
“It seems the #CCP [Chinese Communist Party] & HKSAR [Hong Kong special administrative region] Govt would rather subvert Hong Kong’s elections than live up to their promises,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Twitter.
There are new signs that Beijing could tighten its grip on Hong Kong, following a recent CCP conclave where top Beijing officials discussed the need for “perfecting” Hong Kong’s “legal system and law enforcement mechanism,” according to the communique.
A lengthy article written by Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office within the cabinet-like State Council, was recently published in a series of books about the conclave. The Office’s official website also published the article on Saturday.
In the article, Zhang says the Hong Kong government’s failure to enact a controversial law, called Article 23, was the main reason behind “Hong Kong independence and local radical separatist forces” becoming more intensified in recent years. The Chinese regime has consistently pushed the narrative that the city’s ongoing dissent is fomented by Western countries encouraging locals to advocate for Hong Kong’s independence.
Article 23, an anti-subversion law that many feared would impinge on civil liberties, was scrapped following a mass protest in 2003. Though some pro-Beijing officials in Hong Kong have vouched for the bill to be reintroduced, it has not yet happened.
Zhang added that strengthening Hong Kong’s “law enforcement power” was an urgent task for the Hong Kong government.
Speaking on a radio program on Sunday, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative to a committee that leads China’s rubber-stamp legislature, denied that Beijing was putting pressure on Hong Kong government to pass Article 23, according to RTHK.
However, Tam added that if there was a need for Article 23, then it must be put into place.
Hong Kong bureau of the Epoch Times contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times