Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Photo: REUTERS file
politics

Hong Kong leader to visit Japan after huge rally, night of violence

23 Comments

Hong Kong's embattled leader, Carrie Lam, leaves for a visit to Japan on Monday as the Chinese-ruled city struggles to recover from a night of violence in which tens of thousands took to the streets, with further protests planned later in the day.

Lam is to attend Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony in Tokyo's imperial palace on Tuesday and return home that evening.

Early on Monday, Hong Kong embarked on a massive clean-up after a largely peaceful protest degenerated into violence across districts on the Kowloon peninsula, where protesters torched stores and sprayed graffiti on roads, amid skirmishes with police.

After two weeks of relative calm in the five-month long political crisis, Sunday's large turnout reflected strong support for the anti-government movement despite police branding the march illegal, because of concerns over public safety.

Families and the elderly took to the streets of the Asian financial hub in what began as a peaceful march, many wearing masks or carrying umbrellas to shield their faces, despite the threat of being arrested.

However, a more radical faction of mainly young protesters later clashed with riot police.

They targeted banks and other businesses perceived to be linked to China, damaging some store fronts and setting fires on the prime shopping and commercial street of Nathan Road in the heart of the Kowloon peninsula.

The events followed an annual policy speech last week by Beijing-backed Lam in which she did not address protesters' demands, but sought to ease tension with measures aimed at resolving a chronic housing shortage.

Protesters say they will keep up pressure on the government to act on their demands for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into police behavior, amnesty for those charged, and an end to describing protesters as rioters.

Metro operator MTR Corp said it would shut the rural Yuen Long station by 2 p.m., ahead of a protest planned there later on Monday.

Several subway entrances and exits would also be shut, and the entire network would close by 10 p.m., or two hours early, to allow time for the repair of facilities, the operator said.

In Sunday's clashes, police used water cannon trucks to disperse protesters, spraying jets of blue dye into the crowds and sending hundreds fleeing.

In one instance, a water cannon fired a jet towards the front gate of the Kowloon mosque, Hong Kong's most important Islamic place of worship.

Blue dye still smeared the road as worshippers gathered for prayers on Monday, with many saying they did not understand why police had targeted the mosque as there had been few people nearby.

The mosque entrance and front gate had been accidentally sprayed, police said in a statement.

"Police respect religious freedom and will strive to protect all places of worship," they added.

The mosque incident is the first time the protests have affected religious groups, but the unrest has hammered much of Hong Kong's business, retail and tourism sectors.

Visitor numbers have plummeted as tourists stay away, further hampering an economy facing its first recession in a decade.

The government was trying its best to support small and medium sized enterprises as the economy has been hit hard, Hong Kong's financial secretary Paul Chan said on Sunday.

"We are studying the launch of the third round of relief measures," he wrote on his blog.

Businesses will probably have to foot the bill for the vandalism, as few had insurance for riot damage, industry insiders said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
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Caught in the Goliath -David struggle Lam may find the Emperor's enthronement ceremony a reprieve.

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4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why Japan ???.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She should not be welcomed.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan should stand with Hong Kong!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Japan should stay with Hong-Kong but not with a leader not wanted by its own people. She only represents China's position that's it. Why Japan? No reason for her to come here unless running from China and seeking political asylum.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Why is Japan welcoming a despot for goodness sake?

This is a woman who would blatantly see people from Hong Kong forcibly removed and disappeared somewhere in mainland China!

What is Japan thinking?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What is Japan thinking?

That sticking fingers in its ears is not how diplomacy works. And if peace is going to have the slightest chance then diplomacy is the main tool.

Japanese officials have shaken hands just as bloody.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Look we all know how far we get when trying to retrieve even a semblance of opinion regarding difficult political matters in Japan. You can talk yourself blue in the face, go out of your way to make both side of any polarizing and pressing issue both accessible and easy to understand, but then when you offer up a choice in the hope of a personal opinion we all know the deal. Shutdown. The “soudesune” opinion.

A mate once said to me, “ Many of Japan’s weaknesses are at the same time their strengths”. Poignant and true. Having a non politically engaged populace does however makes the social strata easy, and in fact having Lim here may even be a chance for her to talk with high ranking people from around the world. She may get some advice from many that don’t want to see her country fall into ruin. In that sense, Japan may be the perfect place for her right now. Under the quiet sophistication of the Japanese royal family here’s hoping she gets some ideas on how to get out of this mess.

Burning banks and torching shops on the other end, you will be playing right into the hawks in China, so although we understand the underlying frustrations it’d be good to keep things as civil as possible if there is to be any real dialogue or progress. Calmer heads on both sides must be at least in a position to be able to talk. Right now do we see that? The free world is with you Hong Kong, just do it smart. Plenty of examples in the 20th century of non violent civil action that moved mountains.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

WHY ???????????!!!!!!!!!

Don't come to Japan !!!!....

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Beijing installed HK leaders need to be shunned by the world on all levels.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lam is allowed to come as a courtesy only, along with dozens of politicians. She is a Communist puppet who despises freedom and democracy, and won't be welcomed.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

putting aside animosity of the West & Commie China, HK frustrations run deep way in the British era, a colony

with no universal suffrage but a governor appointed from far away UK, a colony dictated by real estate moguls, property tycoons and run by puppet, the run away housing prices make affordability a distant dream for many youngsters. An almost 20+ years stagnant wages for many new graduates, a functional democratic runned by malfunctioned constituents who opposed or malevolent-in-nature to anything commies. China did provide best opportunities in priority to HK, but it's the HK who turn their back and stab them. SAD

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Poor woman is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

May HK be a wakeup call to Taiwan, as their next election is around the corner.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not a good idea at all. Having this person in your country is worse than having trump visit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, how dare we mere mortals question the "correct" version of history emanating from the Middle Kingdom?

Are you not all aware that the Communist Party of China derives its mandate..er...from the Mandate of heaven?!

Let's see, this is 2019. What Carrie Lam is serving today, is merely an appetizer.

In 2047, all pretension of freedom and democracy in HK will be as dead as the Dodo!

Welcome to the "peace loving" PRC!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I really hope Japan doesn't kiss arse just for doing business with Hong Kong!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lam is allowed to come as a courtesy only, along with dozens of politicians. She is a Communist puppet who despises freedom and democracy, and won't be welcomed.

Perfect!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a puppet of China,as Lam is,Japan is effectively condoning Chinese policy in Hong Kong carried out by Carrie Lam

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kurisupisu - Not to be argumentative but as a logical extension of your argument should Japan also dis-invite Chinese representatives? I totally understand your feelings on the issue but part of international relations is to have to deal with those with whom you disagree.

I remember the Tibetan issue in the U.S. in the 80s and early 90s when many in Congress wanted to dis-invite or exclude China from certain events (which did not happen). I also remember when Obama had the Dalai Lama visit the White House but he had to enter and exit from the back door.

https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/The-Vote/2010/0219/At-White-House-the-Dalai-Lama-sidesteps-trash

The world has been kissing China's A$$ for decades and will continue to do so. In the west it is done purely out of greed. In the east I believe it is done for other reasons.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lam to slaughter. She's not a leader; she's a pawn.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Burning banks and torching shops on the other end, you will be playing right into the hawks in China

But the whole point of an uprising is to ruffle their feathers and if they still don't get the message, then just ratchet up to a revolution and twist the beaks and clip the wings of these mangy vultures who prey on the people's decency and goodwill.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

having Lim here may even be a chance for her to talk with high ranking people from around the world. She may get some advice from many that don’t want to see her country fall into ruin. In that sense, Japan may be the perfect place for her right now. Under the quiet sophistication of the Japanese royal family here’s hoping she gets some ideas on how to get out of this mess.

Actually, I agree with this. It's a good opportunity to get her our of Beijing's grip for even just a little while and even though Japan has it's problems it is still generally a functioning liberal democracy with checks and balances built into the constitution...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tokyo-Engr

Thank you for your comments.

I understand your points and would tend to agree but when dealing with China what is the best option?

Is it a stick or carrot approach?

Had Carrie Lam been invited to a forum on democratic values and human rights then I would unequivocally agree with her presence.However, the occasion is to mark the investiture of a new emperor in Japan.

Carrie Lam is Chinese and she represents a government which is opposed to hereditary royalty.

Didn't the Chinese government also imprison their own emperor?

Maybe her invitation was the Japanese being ironic?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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