The Chinese University of Hong Kong was a focus for protesters as around 30,000 students boycotted classes on the first day of the new academic year. At a rally they could be heard chanting slogans to reinforce their demands—for the government to fully withdraw the highly divisive extradition bill that is now suspended indefinitely, the resignation of leader Carrie Lam, to have an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, the removal of the June 12 protest as a riot, amnesty for those arrested, and more democratic freedom.

After a weekend of violent clashes with protesters at transit centers across the city, students on Monday, Sept. 2, laid down their textbooks and refused to attend classes to make their voices heard even louder.

Protesters hold up the lights on their phones as they gather at a demonstration by civil servants in Hong Kong on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Protesters plan to return to the streets again this weekend, angered by the government's refusal to answer their demands, violent tactics used by police, possibly in coordination with organized crime figures. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Protesters hold up the lights on their phones as they gather at a demonstration by civil servants in Hong Kong on Aug. 2, 2019. (Vincent Thian/AP)

In support of students, 40,000 city workers from dozens of different sectors supported the students’ demands as they began a two-day strike with a rally. “If the government does not respond to the five major demands before the deadline on Sept. 13, we will make a decisive escalation, including but not limited to longer strikes,” a spokesman said.

“We also appeal to more Hong Kong people to continue to come out and speak out on behalf of Hong Kong, without fear of this white terror,” he added.

The Hong Kong Bar Association has called for the government to reply to growing public concern and demand for complete withdrawal of Beijing’s proposal to allow extradition to China, and address “the frustration felt by the general public about its continued silence” amid “strong demand for constructive engagement to resolve the current crisis,” reported Bloomberg. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam agreed to suspend the bill, however, protesters will not rest until it is completely removed.  

An ominous warning was issued to protesters through China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency in an editorial, “The end is coming for those attempting to disrupt Hong Kong and antagonize China.”

Armored personnel carriers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pass through the Huanggang Port border between China and Hong Kong, on Aug. 29, 2019. (Yuan Junmin/Xinhua via AP)

 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Monday, “The Chinese central government supports Chief Executive Carrie Lam to lead the SAR government in administering in according to law, and also supports the Hong Kong police to stop the riots and restore order following law.”

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung has warned there will be arrests made after the weekend riots, and many protesters will be easy targets for arrest, as water cannons used by riot police on the weekend contained blue dye, making it easy to identify students after they left the scene.

“We are reviewing comprehensively with an open attitude on what could be used,” he said. “Once calm’s restored, society’s back to normal, then we can go forward,” Cheung said, as reported by Bloomberg. “Law and order must be restored ASAP, without further ado. No nonsense. We are all yearning for law and order.” 

One middle-aged protester, M Sung, 53, a software engineer said he has been at every protest since June. “We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems,’ otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,” he said.

“If we keep a strong mind, we can sustain this movement for justice and democracy. It won’t die,” he added.

FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping participate in a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

President Trump has urged China to treat Hong Kong “humanely,” and has indicated a deal to break the trade war between the two countries may not be possible if the Chinese Communist Party resorts to violence against the protesters.

“I think it would be very hard to deal if they do violence [in Hong Kong],” President Trump said. “I mean, if it’s another Tiananmen Square, I think it’s a very hard thing to do. I really do believe that if [China restraining itself from violence] weren’t part of the [trade] deal, possibly something would have happened already a long time ago.”

 Mak Chin-ho, assistant commissioner of police for operations, told reporters on Monday, “The behavior of the rioters is like a plague. They have lost their rational minds.”

The signs are ominous that the Chinese government is gearing up for military intervention. Another Tiananmen Square massacre would see the Communist Party crumble, the world would not be sympathetic toward the regime. 

 

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