With zero signs of abating, hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protestors lined the streets around Hong Kong’s financial and shopping districts on Sunday, demanding the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government fulfill their demands, reported Reuters.
The semi-peaceful protest, a drastic change from violent ones in the last several weeks that have been raging for at least six months, plunged the city into a dangerous recession in Nov., attracted at least 800,000 participants on Sunday, according to protest organizer Civil Human Rights Front. Though Hong Kong police said, approximately 200,000 showed up.
Reuters quoted protest chants as some said, “Fight for freedom! Stand with Hong Kong!,” while they marched across Victoria Park in the city’s shopping district and financial area.
A protestor, by the name of Lawrence,23, told Reuters that, “It’s Christmas time soon, but we’re not in the mood to celebrate anymore.”
The Wall Street Journal spoke with Johnny Tung, 41, who joined the march with his two sons. He said, “as a Hong Konger, it’s my duty to be here today. Our people have tried protesting peacefully, we’ve done it more violently, but again and again, we’ve been ignored. I just want the government to please just respond to the people so society can return to peace.”
China has become more vocal about Western powers interfering in the Hong Kong protests since the US signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act HKHRDA) into law last month. This allows Washington to impose sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong leaders responsible for human rights violations during the protests.
Beijing was furious when the US lawmakers passed HKHRDA, which they have vowed to retaliate with a no-entry list for US lawmakers behind drafting the bill, along with other government officials, though the true extent of the retaliation remains a mystery.
On Saturday, we noted that the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong was detained and then denied access to the neighboring Chinese city of Macau.
Protesters on Sunday had five demands for the unpopular Beijing-backed Carrie Lam government. Some of the requests include a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process, release and pardon of arrested protesters, and resignation of Lam.
Thousands on social media accounts documented the massive march with tons of video showing hundreds of thousands of protestors walking the streets.
NOW – #Hong Kong The organizers of the large-scale demonstrations which kicked off HKong’s months-long protest movement earlier this year are taking to the streets again Sunday, in a bid to maintain pressure on the city’s government following the success of pro-democracy groups pic.twitter.com/wsIjNYT9Rk
— -??????- (@Frolencewalters) December 8, 2019
If you made a bet on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement still bringing out huge crowds after six consecutive months of demonstrations, well done, please collect your winnings pic.twitter.com/rjs5uId9ST
— Rachel Blundy (@rachelblundy) December 8, 2019
VIDEO: Watch as thousands of Hong Kong protesters thronging the city’s streets create a display of lights by holding aloft their mobile phones pic.twitter.com/QD2K7jITJh
— AFP news agency (@AFP) December 8, 2019
The latest acceleration in social-economic turmoil in Hong Kong suggests that more unrest is coming for 1Q20. If China starts losing control of the city, then Beijing could be inclined to deploy PLA troops. It seems that this worst-case scenario might be realized sometime in 2020 if the escalation continues.
The question everyone is asking: With the Hong Kong bill passed into law — when do US lawmakers start sanctioning China and Hong Kong leaders over human rights violations?