Here is the second contribution in our #soapbox blog series from members of our church congregation, in the spirit of #Peterloo
Hong Kong has been in the spotlight of international news in the past few months because of its weekly large scale protests. It all started with a demand to withdraw a bill that, if passed in the parliament, would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China. Many fear that this new law would be an easy way for the communist party to lay their hands on dissidents in Hong Kong. One protest saw as many as two million people on the streets, that is more than a quarter of the whole population.
In recent weeks, the world saw some very disturbing scenes at the end of the protests. Members of gangs stormed into an already closed metro station to beat protesters returning from the protests with rods. In a press conference later that day, the chief executive of Hong Kong (equivalent to the British Prime Minister) denounced the protesters’ defacing of the national emblem of China, before denouncing the horrific act carried out by the gangs in the metro station. A week later, policemen were seen storming into the same metro station, doing exactly what the gangs did, beating the unarmed passersby.
The police has also fired tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds, at protesters, although they were already trying to leave the vicinity. They also fired teargas at reporters during the protests. Helmets and shields have now become the normal dress code for protests in Hong Kong, and reporters are geared up as if they were reporting in war zones.
Five people have already committed suicide because they saw no hope in the situation, and with at least 50 protesters seriously injured after every protests, the protests in Hong Kong will soon match that of the Peterloo massacre in casualties.
I find it deeply upsetting that, two centuries on from the Peterloo Massacre, the demand for a better parliamentary and governmental representation in a modern and civilised city is still met with blatant aggression from those in power. I am even more disappointed by the silence from the leaders of the Hong Kong Anglican Church.
May the people of Hong Kong stand with ever greater fortitude behind this great movement, which, stage by stage throughout the protests, is to impose a new political order upon society. We are showing the world that we will not kowtow to institutional injustice, and may our protests inspire a new generation of youth that is not afraid to speak truth to power, and demand justice and freedom from the oppressor.