Hong Kong protester shot & dozens arrested as some in Hong Kong and China celebrate 70th anniversary of Communist Party, Intl. Human Rights Org Responds
A pro-democracy protester was shot and at least 30 were arrested as violent clashes rocked Hong Kong streets Tuesday as China celebrated the 70th anniversary of communist rule. While Beijing marked National Day and “national rejuvenation” with a military parade and fireworks, Hong Kong demonstrators held a “national grief” march. Hundreds of black-clad protesters clashed with police who fired water cannons and tear gas into the crowd.
First death in HK
It was the first time a protester has been shot as part of the unrest, which began in June of this year. The protester's condition was not immediately known. SCMP reports that the protester, a 17-year-old student, was taken to a hospital and was undergoing surgery.
In recognition of the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) held a Hong Kong forum on Capitol Hill in September. The event featured speakers ranging from Senator Ted Cruz to artists to frontline activists (some who spoke in disguise to maintain their anonymity) detailing first-hand accounts of the turmoil. VOC stands in solidarity with the protestors in Hong Kong.
VOC’s Executive Director, Marion Smith is based in Washington, D.C. See a clip of him discussing the Hong Kong protests on CSPAN's Washington Journal. See the oped he wrote for USA Today this August: America must show leadership in Hong Kong and China conflict. Some of his points are below.
Hong Kong and China key points
- VOC continues to stand with the protestors who are mourning that in 70 years of Communist Party rule, the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and China are being denied.
- More than one million people have taken to the streets in Hong Kong to protest a proposed law that would allow Beijing to extradite Hong Kong residents and foreigners across the border to stand trial in mainland China. The massive and historic demonstrations happening right now in Hong Kong are rightly called a ‘last fight’ because if the Chinese Communist Party can efficiently extradite those who offend Beijing, civil rights in Hong Kong are doomed. Communist China has already victimized tens of millions of people in its 70 year history. This extradition law would only add to that number.
- The extradition law represents a direct threat to the rule of law and to the autonomy of Hong Kong. The ‘one country, two systems’ framework continues to be eroded by Beijing as it continues to restrict free speech, crush dissent, and co-opt Hong Kong's institutions.
- This proposed law is the latest offense of many. Since the 2014 Umbrella Movement, the Chinese Communist Party has jailed protestors, side-lined pro-democracy and pro-independence voices, and expelled foreign journalists. A city where civil rights and fundamental freedoms have been a model in Asia is now being taken captive by the single-party dictatorship of Xi Jinping. Now the Communist Party wants to finish the job and absorb Hong Kong.
- The people of Hong Kong are standing against this suppression of their freedom, and so must the United States and the rest of the free world.
- Hong Kong also sent a strong message to Beijing earlier this summer as 180,000 people gathered for the annual vigil to commemorate the victims of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Beijing still denies that this massacre took place, but the people of Hong Kong know what China’s communist regimes stands for – and they want no part of it.
VOC's work on Hong Kong and China
VOC's work has long been committed to calling out China's human rights violations. In June 2016, computer hackers supportingChina's Communist government shut down VOC's website during an international online meeting highlighting the 1989 Tiananmen massacre in Beijing.
In December 2016, when the Miss World pageant - largely sponsored by Chinese companies, silenced Chinese beauty Queen Anastasia Lin, a critic of China, at a U.S. competition, VOC sponsored the premiere of her film and stood by her side. In July 2016, VOC released its annual Captive Nations Report on North Korea in which they rebuked China for failing to curb North Korean aggression.
Marion authored this oped in the Washington Post this past April: Buying stock in these Chinese companies makes you complicit in terror on Uighurs. See his piece in the WSJ remembering the lives lost in Tiananmen for the 30 year anniversary: The Tiananmen Mothers Never Forget. Read his opeds in The Hill: Is America serious about human rights in China? and Hong Kong still needs America's help.