Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, according to Yahoo News, to deliver a message to the United States consulate: please help us “liberate” Hong Kong from the Chinese.
The American flag has appeared regularly as part of the massive demonstrations that have occupied Hong Kong’s streets since mid-June, and protesters have often suggested that an American-style democracy is what they want — in stark contrast to their Chinese-controlled government.
This weekend, however, the protesters specifically called upon President Donald Trump to intervene in the governmental crisis, demanding that “the US … pressure Beijing to meet [protesters’] demands and for Congress to pass a recently proposed bill that expresses support for the protest.”
— AFP news agency (@AFP) September 8, 2019
A bill, which would have allowed China to investigate and eventually force the extradition of “political dissidents” and other persons of interest living in Hong Kong, sparked the protests earlier in the summer, and millions of Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets to resist increasing Chinese control over the city-state’s central government.
Around a thousand Hong Kong residents have been arrested, and police action has been ramping up as Hong Kong’s leaders face pressure from China to quell the demonstrations.
Last week, the Hong Kong government officially dropped their support for China’s extradition bill, but the decision came too little too late for the city-state’s residents, and many are demanding that Hong Kong’s leadership, including the city-state’s Chinese-backed chief executive, Carrie Lam, step down. Many demonstrators are now also calling for an end to a 50-year agreement forcing Hong Kong to operate as a Chinese territory.
Protesters say they need outside, foreign help in order to force the change.
“More than 1,000 protesters have been arrested. We can’t do anything but come out onto the streets, I feel hopeless,” one protestor to AFP/Yahoo news. “I think aside from foreign countries, no one can really help us.”
So far, that help hasn’t been coming. President Donald Trump, when asked about Hong Kong, has mostly demurred. The United States is currently locked in trade negotiations with China, and it’s possible Trump Administration officials feel taking a hard line on the Hong Kong protests could imperil talks and force a trade war. Instead, President Trump has called upon China to handle the protests peacefully.
The Chinese government has responded to international attention on the Hong Kong protests by claiming the demonstrators are being organized and paid by foreign countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Both countries deny any involvement.
The protests, of course, show no signs of abating. In addition to Sunday’s demonstration, marches are planned for the next several weekends, and organizers are hoping to turn out millions of Hong Kong residents again on October 1st, which marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Hong Kong authorities say they’re ready.