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China’s Great Firewall No Barrier to Ugly Online Battles Over Hong Kong Protests

Sarah Zheng  reports: Hong Kong’s summer of protests looks very different from inside and outside the Great Firewall that encircles the internet in mainland China.

On Monday morning, the top trending topic on Weibo, China’s highly regulated version of Twitter, featured a Shanghai tourist who was “harassed and beaten” during a massive pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on Sunday evening. It racked up 520 million views. A prominent video on the topic from Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily showed the man, surnamed Ma, telling reporters about protesters accosting and accusing him of photographing their faces, under the tagline: “Is this the ‘safety’ that rioters are talking about?”

But in Hong Kong, where there is unfettered access to the internet, the focus was on the peaceful Sunday demonstrations, which organisers said drew 1.7 million people despite heavy rain. On LIHKG, the online forum where Hong Kong protesters discuss and organise their action, one hot topic celebrated Weibo posts on Ma that mentioned a taboo – Beijing’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The topic cheered the “first time China’s Weibo allowed public discussion of June 4th”, referencing posts about Photoshopped images of Ma in a shirt calling for justice over the crackdown.

An estimated 1.7 million people took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Robert Ng
An estimated 1.7 million people took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Robert Ng

Since the protests began in Hong Kong in early June, triggered by a now-shelved extradition bill, there has been a clear dichotomy between how the movement has been portrayed online, inside and outside China. Read the rest of this entry »

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Riot Police Storm Hong Kong Airport as Protesters Force Second Day of Flight Cancellations 

Hong Kong International Airport has canceled all remaining flight departures for the second straight day due to protests.

Riot police stormed the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday as protests by thousands of anti-government demonstrators forced flights to be canceled for the second straight day.

Travelers at one of the world’s busiest airports were advised that check-in had been suspended and hundreds flights were cancelled, and that they should leave the terminals as quickly as possible and contact airlines for more information.

The clashes appeared to represent an escalation 10 weeks after the protest’s massive, peaceful beginnings in early June, when hundreds of thousands marched in the semi-autonomous city against a now-suspended extradition bill. A Chinese official said Tuesday that protesters “have begun to show signs of terrorism,” and China appeared to be weighing a crackdown on the democratic movement.

Bolstered by anger over the crackdown by Hong Kong police, the protests has grown more confrontational in recent weeks and reached new levels last Monday with a city-wide strike that disrupting traffic and hundreds of flights.

PHOTO: A tourist gives her luggage to security guards as she tries to enter the departures gate during another demonstration by protesters at Hong Kongs International Airport on Aug. 13, 2019.
A tourist gives her luggage to security guards as she tries to enter the departures gate during another demonstration by protesters at Hong Kong’s International Airport on Aug. 13, 2019.

After weeks of issuing warnings, but deferring to Hong Kong authorities to quell protests, Beijing has hinted at a more assertive posture. Chinese paramilitary police were seen in video released by the state holding exercises in Shenzhen, China, which sits across the border from Hong Kong. Images circulated online showing a convoy of armored personnel carriers from the People’s Armed Police traveling to the site. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Protests Disrupt Flights and Subways as a Strike is Called 

At least 100 flights were canceled and subway service widely disrupted in Hong Kong on Monday as a pro-democracy movement called for a general strike.

Cathay Pacific and other domestic carriers such as Hong Kong Airlines were the most affected by the flight cancellations, public broadcaster RTHK said. Airport express train service was also suspended.

A citywide strike and demonstrations in seven districts in Hong Kong have been called for Monday afternoon. They follow a weekend of clashes with police on the streets. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Hong Kong: Merry ‘I Want Genuine Universal Suffrage’ Christmas

HK-xmas-suffrage

“I Want Genuine Universal Suffrage” at times square, causeway bay.

(source; SocRec @ 25dec14)

 


79 Days That Shook Hong Kong

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TIME

Hong Kong authorities on Monday began tearing down the last of the city’s pro-democracy camps, bringing a quiet end to two and a half months of street occupations that constituted the most significant political protest in China since 1989’s Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing.

By Tuesday, all three protest sites — in the Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay districts — will be gone. The streets will be tidied up and returned to traffic, office workers and shoppers.

The protesters are leaving the streets with few tangible results. Beijing has rejected their insistence that Hong Kongers should have the right to freely elect the head of the city’s government without a pro-establishment committee first handpicking the candidates.

The Hong Kong government has also made it clear that it sees itself as a local representative of the central government, and is unwilling to convey the democratic aspirations of many of its…

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Hong Kong’s Final Protest Site Has Been Cleared

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TIME

The 79-day occupation of Hong Kong’s streets by pro-democracy protesters met a rather lackluster end on Monday morning, as police cleared the last of three protest sites in a matter of hours.

The clearance of the Causeway Bay camp, a small street occupation that was partly set up to accommodate the spillover from the main camp in the Admiralty district, began at around 10 a.m. with a 20-minute warning from police telling the protesters to clear out.

The authorities moved in soon after, and hurriedly cleared barricades, tents and protest artwork in a process devoid of the drama of the Admiralty clearance four days earlier or the conflict that accompanied the removal of the Mong Kok protest site across the harbor in Kowloon the week before that.

The Causeway Bay site, over the course of the past few weeks, had dwindled to a hundred-meter stretch of road held down by…

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