Hundreds of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists today rallied outside the British Consulate, urging the city’s former colonial ruler to emulate the US and take concrete actions to support their cause.
Waving British flags, the activists urged Britain to ensure that Hong Kong political dissidents do not suffer the same fate as Simon Cheng, a former British Consulate employee in the city who says he was detained and tortured by Chinese secret police.
The rally came a day after US President Donald Trump signed into law two bills to support democracy and human rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Protesters wearing masks depicting Simon Cheng, a former British Consulate employee, hold banners as they attend a rally outside the British Consulate General in Hong Kong on Friday. They urge the UK to emulate the US and stand up to Beijing
Anti-government protesters wave British flags as they gather for a rally outside of the British Consulate in Hong Kong today
Pro-democracy protesters carry British flags during a rally in support of Simon Cheng outside the UK Consulate in Hong Kong
The activists today urged Britain to ensure that Hong Kong political dissidents do not suffer the same fate as Simon Cheng
‘The UK should enforce similar laws and should have done even more’ to support the protest movement, said a masked rally organiser who identified herself only as Dawn. Activists handed a petition to a British Consulate official before leaving.
Beijing denies torturing Cheng and says he was held for soliciting prostitution during a business trip to mainland China in August.
Cheng says he agreed to confess to avoid harsher charges. He says he was hooded, beaten and chained to a metal frame as Chinese secret police sought information on activists involved in the protests and on Britain´s purported role.
Cheng has left the consulate and is in hiding.
‘The UK should enforce similar laws and should have done even more’ to support the protest movement, said a rally organiser
Last month, more than 170 Parliamentarians urged the UK government to back the protests in the former colony and potentially provide citizenship for its residents should the situation deteriorate. The House of Lords debated on the matter
Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen, claimed he was shackled to a steel ‘tiger chair’, hung spread-eagled on a ‘steep X-Cross’ and beaten while he was detained for 15 days in August in Shenzhen. Chinese police denied the allegations to state media
Beijing has claimed that Cheng was held for soliciting prostitution during a business trip to mainland China in August
Hong Kong police are considering using projectiles that are more powerful than rubber bullets to quell upcoming protests, it has been revealed.
The anti-riot officers may use wooden bullets against anti-government demonstrators in potential clashes, according to police.
The news came after protesters yesterday held a ‘Thanksgiving’ march to show their gratitude for US President Donald Trump.
It also came as police today ended their two-week siege of a university campus that became a battleground with pro-democracy protesters while activists vowed to hold fresh rallies and strikes in the coming days.
Hong Kong’s new police chief has revealed that his force may start using wooden bullets against protesters. Pictured, officers fire rubber bullets towards protesters during a demonstration in the Tseung Kwan O residential area in Kowloon on October 7
Protesters have been demanding the city’s leader Carrie Lam set up an independent enquiry to investigate alleged police brutality. Pictured, activists react to tear gas fired by the police during a rally in the Mong Kok district on October 27
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday approved two bills aiming at backing pro-democracy activists, enraging Beijing
Chris Tang Ping-keung, the newly appointed chief of Hong Kong police, revealed the plan yesterday during a meeting with reporters, according to Sing Tao Daily.
Mr Tang previously told the press that the city’s 31,000-strong force could not end the chaos on its own.
Police in the Asian financial hub have faced wide-spread criticism for allegedly using excessive violence while dealing with protests.
Activists have been demanding the government set up an independent inquiry to investigate anti-riot police’s conduct, but the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has firmly refused the demand.
Officers have so far employed tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons mounted on trucks to disperse crowds while activists have catapulted homemade petrol bombs, fired flaming arrows and hurled bricks at police
Three young demonstrators, between the age of 14 and 21, have been shot with live rounds during clashes by police since the unrest began at the beginning of June. One of them lost a kidney and part of his liver as a result.
Police have so far used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon trucks to disperse crowds since the unrest erupted in June
The city is preparing for more protests and strikes in the coming days after its government refused to budge. Pictured, students gesture and chant slogans during a lunchtime flash mob rally in the Cheung Sha Wan district in Hong Kong today
Wooden bullets, together with rubber bullets, are classified as ‘less-Lethal’ weapons. The impact of both types of projectile on the human body is designed to cause an immobilising trauma, according to a report from Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
While the United Nations (UN) calls rubber coated metal bullets ‘particularly dangerous projectiles’ in its guidelines on less-lethal weapons in law enforcement.
The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations prohibits the use of rubber bullets by UN police personnel because of the risks of serious injury or even death from their improper use, the guidelines say.
Hong Kong police have faced widespread criticism over their treatment of protesters, with many accusing them of carrying out violence against activists. Pictured, police beat an arrested protester in the city’s Wan Chai district on October 1
Critics have condemned Hong Kong police’s intention to escalate their crowd-control measures.
Chris Whitehouse, political advisor to non-governmental organisation Stand With Hong Kong, said: ‘This would be an absolute disgrace and would bring shame on the Hong Kong Police Force, and Carrie Lam personally.
‘There is grave international concern already about the excessive brutality used by the police in Hong Kong against largely unarmed protesters. Such a move, if taken, would cause outrage, not only in Hong Kong, but globally.’
Johnny Patterson, Director of UK-based group Hong Kong Watch, called the news ‘profoundly disturbing’.
He said: ‘The greatest fuel of discontent in the last six months has been police brutality, as repeatedly the Hong Kong Police Force have violated human rights standards through their policing.
‘A recent poll said that more than 50 per cent of the Hong Kong public rate their trust of the police force at zero out of ten, an escalation of force will only reinforce this complete breakdown of trust.’
Hong Kong protesters have renewed calls to hit the street after Beijing and Carrie Lam refused further political concessions despite a landslide victory for pro-democracy parties in local elections last weekend.
Sunday’s district council polls delivered a stinging rebuke to the financial hub’s pro-Beijing establishment and undermined their argument that a silent majority were tired of the nearly six months of increasingly violent protests.
Hong Kong protesters have renewed calls to hit the street after Beijing and Carrie Lam refused further political concessions
Demonstrators are continuing to urge the government to respond to their five pro-democracy demands. Pictured, people hold up their hands to signify the five demands as they attend a flash mob rally in the Cheung Sha Wan district today
The Asian financial hub has been rocked by anti-government protests sparked by an extradition bill for nearly six months
They also ushered in a rare period of calm following weeks of spiralling unrest, with no clashes or tear gas battles between protesters and police for more than a week.
But the calm spell looks set to end as public anger grows once more over the lack of response to the election results by Beijing and Hong Kong’s leaders.
In China this week, state media has sought to downplay and discredit the weekend ballot while Lam, who boasts record-low approval ratings, has acknowledged public dissatisfaction but ruled out further concessions.
‘I have every confidence that Hong Kong can bounce back as we always do,’ Lam told reporters on Friday during an official visit to Thailand.
But online forums used to organise the mass movement have filled with calls for a major rally on Sunday and a strike on Monday targeting the morning commute.
A man wears a Winnie-the-Pooh mask to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping as he joins others in a lunchtime flash mob rally
Protesters hold pieces of paper to show their dissatisfaction towards their leader Carrie Lam during a lunchtime flash mob rally in the Taikoo area today, saying the Chief Executive cannot match Trump who approved law to help the city
‘If the communist Hong Kong government ignores public opinion, we will blossom everywhere for five or six days straight… We have to set a deadline,’ read one post on the Reddit-like LIHKG forum, which got heavy approval from users.
The calls raise the spectre of a return to the kind of weekly political chaos that has battered Hong Kong for nearly six months and helped tip the city into recession.
Hundreds of office workers held flashmob rallies during their Friday lunch break in multiple locations across the city, prompting the deployment of riot police but the protesters dispersed peacefully.
Police said they were closing the book on one of the most violent chapters of the protest movement – the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Pictured, a Chinese flag is seen lying amid debris inside the trashed university campus today
A university staff member walks through debris at Hong Kong Polytechnic University today after police took off the cordon
Earlier in the day police said they were closing the book on one of the most violent chapters of the protest movement – the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The sprawling red-brick campus became a battleground on November 17 between police and protesters armed with bows and arrows as well as Molotov cocktails.
The standoff settled into a tense stalemate during which hundreds fled the campus – some making daring escapes, others caught and beaten by officers during failed breakouts – leaving a dwindling core of holdouts surrounded by police cordons.
Thousands held a peaceful Thanksgiving themed rally in Hong Kong on Thursday night after Washington showed its support
Hong Kong’s deeply unpopular leader Carrie Lam has acknowledged public dissatisfaction but ruled out further concessions
After university leaders said almost all protesters had left, police teams moved in on Thursday to gather more than 4,000 Molotov cocktails and other weapons left behind after the occupation.
On Friday afternoon police removed the cordons surrounding the campus and departed, ending the 13-day siege.
The university now faces a mammoth clean-up task with vast swathes of the campus ransacked, filled with broken glass, barricades and rotting food.
In a letter to students on Friday, university officials called on people to stay away.
‘The campus is still unsafe, and will continue (to) be closed,’ officials said.
But members of the public still made their way onto campus.
‘All the images of the battle came right back to my mind when I saw all the debris,’ one lady told Apple Daily in a live broadcast, bursting into tears.
Pro-democracy protesters take part in a ‘Thanksgiving Day’ rally at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong last night to thanks Trump
A pro-democracy protester holds a placard showing a U.S. flag during a rally in Hong Kong after Trump signed the bill
Hong Kong’s protests are fuelled by years of seething anger over China’s perceived erosion of liberties in the semi-autonomous city.
Millions of Hong Kongers marched in protest rallies throughout the summer after Lam’s government introduced a bill allowing extraditions to the authoritarian mainland.
It was belatedly withdrawn under public pressure, but by then violent clashes between police and protesters had become the norm and the movement had snowballed into wider calls for police accountability and fully free elections.
More than 5,800 people have been arrested and nearly 1,000 charged according to government figures while police have fired more than 12,000 tear gas canisters.
Beijing denies stamping out Hong Kong’s liberties and has portrayed the protests as a foreign-backed ‘colour revolution’ aimed at destabilising mainland China.