We’ve developed an understanding that though our strategies may differ, we will never walk alone
Last week images of Hong Kong citizens storming the Legislative Council dominated the international press. Global audiences love a revolution, especially when it fits neatly into a David and Goliath narrative: Goliath, in this case, is the authoritarian Chinese state, the ineffectual chief executive and her government, and the police, whose excessive use of force was found by Amnesty International to be a violation of international law.
The protesters’ objective: oppose the government’s proposed amendments to a law that would allow any person in Hong Kong to be extradited to and face trial in China, a country whose legal system has been criticised for pervasive human rights abuses and procedural unfairness. They also demanded that the government retract the designation of a previous protest as a “riot”, hold the police accountable for their unreasonable use of force, and enact universal suffrage and democracy. Brian Leung, the only protester to take off his mask, read out these demands in the form of the Admiralty declaration. On 9 July, Carrie Lam announced in a press conference that the extradition bill was “dead” – but she has been criticised for failing to invoke a formal legal procedure of withdrawal and to meet the protesters’ other demands.
We know that we will only succeed if we can survive as a collective