It was a day of emotion in Hong Kong on Sept. 11, as protesters halted any action aimed at gaining democracy for themselves, and instead sang songs of protest and formed human chains, out of respect for those who died in the 9/11 terror attacks that struck New York City, the Pentagon, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania.
After protesters said on Sept.10 there would be no action for the following day, they followed up on Sept. 11 with groups gathered in major shopping malls, singing the new anthem for their movement, “Glory to Hong Kong,” the demonstrators also sang the English version of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” While some formed human chains and waved lights in the air, others chanted “Reclaim Hong Kong!” and “Revolution in our time!” and “Stand With Hong Kong!”
Their response came on the heels of a report from the Chinese Communist Party-backed newspaper China Daily, which in an attempt to frame the protesters, posted claims they were planning terror attacks to coincide with the Sept. 11 anniversary, as reported by RFA.
The movement is committed to maintaining good relationships and understandings with their international allies. “We condemn the Chinese Communist Party-sponsored media trying to use the aforementioned rumors to trigger the emotions of the American people,” some protesters wrote in a statement posted to Facebook on Sept 10. “The rumors are … written by the Chinese Communist Party and the HK government, trying to defame HK protesters and to disintegrate the whole movement.”
The protesters have increased their response to the violence being used by riot police, and although they have resorted to methods such as vandalism, the statement continued, “Nonetheless, we have never used any kind of irrational violence against innocent citizens of our city,” it said. “[Having suffered] indiscriminate terrorist attacks [from riot police], we know the evil of it and we would not choose such a method even against our shameless government.”
The protests that began as a peaceful movement, have moved into a more forceful demonstration as they struggle to continue against the police brutality. “We hereby condemn any sort of terrorist attack,” it said. “It is the government, the police and triad members mobilized by them who have been attacking citizens since the beginning of the revolution.”
A letter to chief executive Carrie Lam voiced the concerns of 27 high-profile people in Hong Kong and was signed by former Welfare Minister Stephen Sui, former transport official Yau Shing-mu, telecom entrepreneur Ricky Wong, and the outgoing CEO of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Shirley Yuen. The group requests an independent probe into the handling of the anti-extradition movement, and expressed their abhorrence at the use of violence by riot police against unresisting protesters, calling it “horrifying,” as reported by RFA.
Rev. Yuen Tin-yau, who also signed the letter, spoke to RFA. “The violence that the police have been using against demonstrators has exceeded what would be deemed necessary by disciplined forces,” he said. The letter came amidst concerns over the long term effects of the tear gas on the general public that is being used by riot police, as more than 2,000 tear gas canisters have been utilized against protesters.
Research has been directed at the more than 170 reporters in the frontline exposed to the gas, and more than 90 percent reported persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood, while others suffered rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, and swollen eyes, according to RFA.
Chemical engineer Michael Lee is concerned for the safety of children exposed to the gas, as it can travel a fair distance and contaminate playgrounds, parks, and other areas where children go. Many children, the elderly, and pets have already suffered side effects from the gas, which can contaminate areas for up to three weeks. “We are worried that the gas chemicals may stick on those facilities in public areas. A child or those elderly doing exercises will be contaminated by the CS … harming their health,” Lee told reporters in a news conference streamed online by the Apple Daily newspaper.