The Hong Kong pro-democracy protests continued on Dec. 20 after Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech emphasizing China would never allow foreign forces to interfere in its special administrative regions, including Hong Kong, as he swore in a new pro-Beijing government for the gambling hub of Macau.
The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of Macau’s handover to Chinese rule, with Xi Jinping praising the former Portuguese colony for its patriotism and loyalty to Beijing.
Xi pointedly did not refer to the almost seven-months of protest in that other nearby island: Hong Kong. But did warn that the regions were China’s territory, no one else’s.
Just after the speech, hundreds of people in Hong Kong’s Central business district staged a protest opposing the police’s freezing of $9 million in funds for anti-government protesters raised by activists.
“Well I think the more you push for these patriotic teachings, it’s just going to cause even more uprisings,” said Michael, a Hong Kong citizen.
“If you’re throwing away their freedom and you’re not aligned to, or you’re promising one thing and doing another thing then most citizens won’t uphold patriotic values and they will revolt against the country.”
Michael said the Chinese regime has always been flexing its financial muscle overseas, and interfering with others’ internal affairs.
“When other countries want something on their behalf about their interests in China, in Hong Kong, in Macau, in Taiwan, they say it’s foreign interference. We have a very very blatant double standard here,” Michael said.
In Macau, residents said they were satisfied with the city’s stability, but Candy Hao said she was afraid to voice her demands.
“We may be afraid of… maybe because in mainland China, there were cases in which people are arrested after they voiced their political opinion,” Hao said.
Meanwhile, thousands of Hong Kong protesters gathered outside a detention center on Friday night, demanding the release of arrested activists, with more rallies set for the weekend.
Reporting by NTD News.
Reuters contributed to this report.