Anti-government protesters are sprayed with a water cannon during a demonstration in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: REUTERS
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Hong Kong police fire tear gas, water cannons at petrol-bomb throwing protesters

40 Comments
By Jessie Pang and Alun John

Hong Kong police fired water cannon and volleys of tear gas to break up protesters throwing petrol bombs and bricks near the Legislative Council building and central government offices on Sunday, the latest in weeks of sometimes violent unrest.

Some protesters threw bricks at police outside the nearby Chinese People's Liberation Army base in the city and tore down and set fire to a red banner proclaiming the 70th anniversary on Oct. 1 of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

One water cannon caught fire after being hit by a petrol bomb. The water cannon fired blue jets of water, used elsewhere in the world to help identify protesters later.

"Police warn the protesters to stop their illegal acts and leave the scene immediately," police said in a statement.

The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by more than three months of clashes, with demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city's affairs despite a promise of autonomy.

On July 1, the anniversary of the city's 1997 return to China, protesters wearing hard hats, masks and black shirts laid siege to the Legislative Council building and swarmed inside.

Earlier in the day, protesters gathered peacefully outside the British Consulate, calling on Britain to rein in China.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong's future after its return to China in 1997, a "one country, two systems" formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.

"Sino-British Joint Declaration is VOID," one placard read in the protest outside the British Consulate.

"SOS Hong Kong," read another.

"One country, two systems is dead," protesters shouted in English under umbrellas shielding them from the sub-tropical sun, some carrying the colonial flag also bearing the Union Jack. "Free Hong Kong."

Violence has broken out on previous weekends with protesters trashing metro stations and setting fires in the streets. The police have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon.

The spark for the protests was planned legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The protests have since broadened into calls for universal suffrage.

China says it is committed to the "one country, two systems" arrangement, denies meddling and says the city is an internal Chinese issue. It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.

Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by the 1984 declaration.

Hong Kong island was granted to Britain "in perpetuity" in 1842 at the end of the First Opium War. Kowloon, a peninsula on the mainland opposite Hong Kong island, joined later, after the Second Opium War.

The colony was expanded to include the New Territories, to the north of Kowloon, on a 99-year lease, in 1898.

Britain returned all of the territory to China, which never recognized the "unequal treaties", in 1997.

"The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago," a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said in June.

"As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position."

But it was not immediately clear what Britain could or would want to do to defend that position. It is pinning its hopes on closer trade and investment cooperation with China, which since 1997 has risen to become the world's second-largest economy, after it leaves the European Union at the end of next month.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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May wanna go easy on the petrol bombs there. It’ll play right into the hands of CCP propaganda machines. Smart, civil, nonーviolent action is the best approach. Even when dealing with thug regimes.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Smart, civil, nonーviolent action is the best approach.

Except it never works. Nobody comes to anybody's non-violent rescue. The authorities either laugh at you or beat you over the head. MLK would have gotten nowhere without Malcolm X threatening to turn Black America into an army...not to mention King got shot to death before real change happened....and the U.S. is a far cry from China. And Ghandi would have gotten nowhere without the Japanese threatening the British Empire.

If the people of Hong Kong want freedom, they are going to have to shoot their way into it. I hope they can get the armaments to do so. They better look to Taiwan....another fine example of what it takes to be free.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

If you use violence, you’re going to get crushed. 

Respond to harmful behavior with non-violent civil disobedience as much as possible against a military superior opponent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agree, the minute the enemy of China is anarchy and not democracy it’s game over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ CrazyJoe

What military superior opponent are you talking about?

The opponent is a super power insidious propaganda brainwashing and people control machine.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

PRC.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you use violence, you’re going to get crushed.

Getting crushed in front of the world's cameras might be their only hope, as sad as that sounds. HK could lose their freedom, their prosperity, or both. I have no idea how this will end.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Except it never works. Nobody comes to anybody's non-violent rescue.

I'd like to think you're wrong, but I really don't know.

One problem with violent protest, when looking from afar, as most of us are probably doing, is not knowing the level of support for the protesters, and also not knowing exactly what they are fighting for.

Wouldn't organizing a labour strike be more effective than street protests? If you can't get others to strike, that might indicate the support is not so strong. (Just thinking aloud here. And also worrying about the consequences of throwing petrol bombs.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The UK needs to send in the troops!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

kurisupisu: The people in HK were treated the dame by the British; they had no voting rights and when they protested against British rule, they were quelled by the British army. Learn some history.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

How do the police react in any nation against petrol throwing rioters? How do the police react in any nation against violent, infrastructure damaging rioters?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If you use violence, you’re going to get crushed.

Ahh China talking about violence even though they’ve never reckoned with their violence at Tiananmen Square.

China used violence then. Does this mean China will be crushed Akie?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How does any police force react against petrol bomb throwing rioters? The police reacted appropriately against RIOTERS that attacked them with metal bars, bricks, concrete and damaged public infrastructure. In which nation do the police stand by and allow this rioting? We keep hearing about "peaceful" protests but these are violent riots, not just attacking the police but other members of the public. About time China took control and stopped being intimidated by the West and its media. China should follow how India took control of Kashmir.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The people in HK were treated the dame by the British; they had no voting rights and when they protested against British rule, they were quelled by the British army. Learn some history.

Then you can understand why they would not want a repeat with China.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wonder if we’ll have a part two to the Tiananmen Square massacre, in Hong Kong. Will China execute more protestors in the streets for fighting for freedom, like they did at Tiananmen Square?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

kurisupisu:

Should the British also send troops to Kashmir, France, Greece, South African and the other African nations? There are riots in all these nations. What about the protests in England?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Throwing molotovs and bricks at public buildings?

What should HK police do, oh yeah, show restraint and allow the rioters to burn down the city.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What should HK police do

Join their people in the fight for freedom instead of bowing to their CCP overlords.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Strangerland:

So the police all around the world should join RIOTERS when the RIOTERS disagree with the law? Is this what happens where you live; when the people disagree with a particular law they just riot and the police join them? Let us all know in which nation this happens. Not in the US, not in Spain, not in France, not in India, not in South Africa, not in Greece, not in the UK. Independence should have been discussed at the time the UK handed back HK to the Chinese, but, in fact, the people of HK were glad to see the back of their UK masters. Again, I recommend reading the history of HK during British rule.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Terrorists are terrorists. Arrest one if there is one, arrest two if there are two, as simple as that. Protecting terrorists, promoting terrorists, supporting terrorists, defending terrorists, are all wrong and crimes against humanity.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Join their people in the fight for freedom instead of bowing to their CCP overlords.

And throw deadly molotovs into offices where innocent people are working.

The rioters are no different from the crazy guy who started the fire in the Kyoto anime building.

The HK police have a duty to protect the occupants from being burned to death.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Terrorists are terrorists. Arrest one if there is one, arrest two if there are two, as simple as that. Protecting terrorists, promoting terrorists, supporting terrorists, defending terrorists, are all wrong and crimes against humanity.

There would be a lot of mainland agitators in Hong Kong jails.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And throw deadly molotovs into offices where innocent people are working.

The rioters are no different from the crazy guy who started the fire in the Kyoto anime building.

The HK police have a duty to protect the occupants from being burned to death.

These are mainland Chinese agitators.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Will this be another Tiananmen squirted massacre? Will the CCP again execute protestors in the streets for fighting for their freedom?

Why do our CCP supported avoid answering these questions? Hmmm?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Terrorists are terrorists. Arrest one if there is one, arrest two if there are two, as simple as that. Protecting terrorists, promoting terrorists, supporting terrorists, defending terrorists, are all wrong and crimes against humanity

So do you think the CCP should step in and execute these protestors in the streets as the CCP did at Tiananmen Square when they murdered all the protestors there? They executed thousands of protestors in the streets that time. Should they also execute thousands of protestors in HK?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I recommend reading the history of HK during British rule.

Are you suggesting that HK has no right to freedom simply because they haven’t previously had it? I’m not seeing the logic in that statement.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Strangerland: "Are you suggesting that HK has no right to freedom simply because they haven’t previously had it?"

The ring leaders of these RIOTS still have the freedom to travel the globe (the US, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Germany, England..) trying to rally support for their insurrection. They still have the freedom to speak out against the Chinese authorities and they still have the freedom to vandalise public infrastructure, attack police, ignore the law, damage private properties and interfere with normal public life, so it is unclear what freedom they want. No nation gives its citizens freedom to do has they see fit and to selectively choose which laws they obey. Lets not  forget that  Chelsea Manning was, and is again in goal, for exercising her freedom of speech and denouncing US war crimes. Lets not forget that Snowdon and Julian Assuage are being chased around the globe by the US for exercising their freedom of speech and exposing US war crimes.  And let not forget that the US has a extradition agreement with HK.

What do theses RIOTERS want?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The ring leaders of these RIOTS still have the freedom to travel the globe (the US, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Germany, England..)

Of course that's not what I was talking about.

Again I ask, are you suggesting that HK has no right to freedom simply because they haven’t previously had it? I’m not seeing the logic in that statement.

Should the be denied democracy simply because they didn't previously have it? Should they be required to live under the tyrannical CCP simply because they used to be controlled by a different country?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Strangerland: I have given examples of the freedom they have to travel in an attempt to get support for an insurrection, and their freedom to create the havoc they have been creating. What more freedoms do they want? Why should China give them more freedoms than the US has given Manning, Snowdon and Assuage?

What freedom do they want?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

heh nice dodge.

What more freedoms do they want?

Freedom to choose their leaders of course.

Freedom from oppression of their human rights of course.

Do you feel that they should be denied these rights and instead be forced to bow to the CCP who will deny these rights to the people of HK?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And if the protestors don’t stop, do you feel they should be executed in the streets as the CCP did to the protestors at Tiananmen Square?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What more freedoms do they want?

The right to speak out, the right to dissent, the right to criticize their government, the right choose the path of life they want and how to live it undisturbed.

Why should China give them more freedoms than the US has given Manning, Snowdon and Assuage?

Assange is a completely different story. Manning and Snowden both US citizens committed acts of treason by selling/giving information to our adversaries, a treasonous act. The people in HK have done NO such thing. They are Not asking for anything other than for Beijing to leave them alone and not take away their way of life for almost 100 years. That’s what they want and should absolutely have.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

bass4funk said "The right to speak out, the right to dissent, the right to criticize their government, the right choose the path of life they want and how to live it undisturbed."

Use your right in your own territory, and respect international laws and other's rights.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Strangerland: "Freedom to choose their leaders of course."

And if the rioters are given a vote and don't agree with the outcome will they again have the freedom to RIOT?

The people in Puerto Rico don't get to vote for the US President; should they riot? Are you supporting their rights and freedoms?

"And if the protestors don’t stop, do you feel they should be executed in the streets as the CCP did to the protestors at Tiananmen Square?"

As any other nation does with RIOTERS, they should be arrested, charged and if guilty goaled.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Strangerland, if they don't stop violence, they break laws, and they are criminals.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Use your right in your own territory, and respect international laws and other's rights.

You mean, I should respect the mainlands forceful authoritative stance to stomp out peoples rights? I’m talking fundamentally about something every human being as the right to have.

if they don't stop violence, they break laws, and they are criminals.

Maybe if the Beijing wouldn’t come up with that foolish extradition law (which makes no sense) which the goal is to bring in any person Beijing feels is a threat to the political system can imprison them without due process or rights whatsoever. By the way, how’s it going with the Uyghurs and respecting their rights? What’s going on with that? If they start to treat the people of HK the way they’ve been treating the Uyghurs then I pray the people of HK don’t give an inch to Beijing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And if the rioters are given a vote and don't agree with the outcome will they again have the freedom to RIOT?

What does that have to do with the question? You keep asking questions, but never answer any.

So let us know:

1) Do the HKers not deserve to have the freedom to choose their leaders, and the freedom to be free of human rights violations?

2) If they do not stop protesting, should the CPP execute them in the streets as they did with the protestors at Tiananmen square?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Strangerland, if they don't stop violence, they break laws, and they are criminals.

If they don't stop the violence, break laws, and they are criminals, what? You didn't finish the sentence.

Do you mean that if the protestors don't stop the violence, break laws, and they are criminals, the CCP should execute them in the streets, in a repeat of the execution of the protestors in the streets by the CCP at Tiananmen square in 1989?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As any other nation does with RIOTERS, they should be arrested, charged and if guilty goaled

That’s not what ‘any other nation does’. In many countries, protests are illegal and dissenters, never mind rioters, are dealt with without due process. Are you supportive of this?

The ideal you are setting up sounds like rule of law. You are influenced by what many see as a ‘western’ idea of rule of law. Some cultural relativists see that as a ‘colonial’ mindset.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I suspect the petrol bomb throwers are mainland infiltrators.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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