Socialist Worker

Protester shot in Hong Kong on China anniversary

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2674

Protesters on the streets ahead of the day of grief

Protesters on the streets ahead of the 'day of grief' (Pic: Studio Incendo/Flickr)


Police shot an 18 year old man during angry pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Some 51 people had been hospitalised following the protests as Socialist Worker went to press.

Two were in a critical condition.

Cops have used live rounds previously to try and disperse protesters. But it was the first time they had shot a demonstrator with live ammunition.

The protests took place as the Chinese state marked 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic.

While officials staged lavish ceremonies for China’s national day, protesters dubbed it a “day of grief”.

“It’s national day but there’s nothing to be happy about in Hong Kong,” said 17 year old protester Sarah Sze. “We’re under one party rule and the Communist Party controls our government. They suppress all opposition voices.”

Police had arrested dozens of activists on Monday evening and banned protests on Tuesday.

1949 — Mao & the Chinese revolution
1949 — Mao & the Chinese revolution
  Read More

Transport stations were shut in an effort to block protesters. Cops carried out stop and searches on the streets.

Yet at least seven protests took place across Hong Kong including in Tuen Mun, Wong Tai Sin, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Tsuen Wan.

Officials were forced to watch a flag-raising ceremony from behind closed doors in Hong Kong’s convention centre, due to “security concerns”.

Protest organiser Figo Chan said over 100,000 protesters marched from Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s main retail area, to the business district of Central.

Demonstrators shouted, “Reclaim Hong Kong—revolution of our times.”

Some threw eggs at a poster of China’s president Xi Jingping.

Leung Kwok-hung, who helped organise the protest, said, “We are willing to fight for democracy and freedom in Hong Kong and China.”

In Tuen Mun and many other places, police fired tear gas at protests.

Demonstrators threw petrol bombs at cops, who also fired live rounds and used water cannons.

Protesters built barricades to block traffic in Sha Tin while others occupied part of a road in Hong Kong’s financial district.

“We are hoping to get international support and this is giving us more energy,” said protester Mr Lee. Tuesday’s demonstrations followed big protests on Sunday, which were the 17th successive weekend of demonstrations.

The movement erupted in June against a new bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to mainland China.

Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has promised to withdraw the bill.

Radicalised

But the vicious state response to the protests has radicalised people.

On Tuesday’s protests many demonstrators held up outstretched fingers to represent their five demands.

These include the unconditional release of arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into police behaviour and genuine universal suffrage.

Protesters also want the authorities to stop denouncing them as “rioters”. They argue that the state has unleashed the violence that has escalated the protests.

As one demonstrator, James Ma, said, “The more they crack down, the more we need to come out because it’s our freedom to protest.”

China marked its anniversary by showing off new weapons and holding a huge military parade in Beijing.

President Xi threatened, “No force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese nation.”

The day marked a revolution in China in 1949 that dealt a serious blow to Western imperialism. But the revolution wasn’t made by ordinary people, and it didn’t bring about a socialist society under workers’ control.

China is a ruthless global power—but so are the Western states it competes with.

Looking to these to defend the interests of ordinary people, as some in Hong Kong have done, is a mistake.

Britain ran Hong Kong until 1997 after snatching it from China as part of imperialist battles in the 19th century. There was no democracy under British rule.

More protests and strikes are the way to win change.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.