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The extradition bill has been withdrawn.
But Hong Kong’s resistance movement
has only begun. 

 

On September 4th, 2019, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam officially announced the government’s withdrawal of the extradition bill. This announcement came long after nearly 2 million marched on the streets against the corrosion of democracy in Hong Kong, long after the first Hong Kong public suicides committed in protest to the extradition bill. So why are protestors still on the streets? 

 

The puppet government in Hong Kong has withdrawn the extradition bill in order to falsely pacify the protest movements. It is an attempt to distract Hong Kong citizens from the government’s continued encroachments on Hong Kong democracy. Although the bill has been withdrawn, global support is necessary to prevent the erosion of power of local pan-democratic political forces which emerged in response to the puppet government of Hong Kong. Despite the withdrawal of the bill, Hong Kong faces enormous challenges to its political democracy ahead, and the fight for resistance against CCP authoritarianism is far from over. Your awareness and support can help. 

 

 

 

 

Freedom of Speech is Under Threat

 

The government’s withdrawal of the extradition bill reveals the success of Hong Kong’s civic protests in capturing global attention and support for Hong Kong’s democracy movement. But the systemic infringements upon the state of democracy which fueled this resistance movement are far from gone.

 

Under a democratic system people have the right to freedom of expression in public spaces. In the past 17 weeks, more than 1600 protesters have been arrested, undergoing brutal and excessive force by police. Some of the arrested protesters were detained in San Uk Lan Holding Centre, where the right to legal counsel and visits from family members were denied. Reports showed that some protesters have suffered from unusual injuries, including severe bruises and major bone fractures; yet injured protestors were not given proper medical treatment until hours later. Female protesters have been sexually harassed and assaulted by police during their detainment. Despite the severe allegations against the police issued by numerous protestors, the police ignored requests from lawmakers and judicial officers to grant to right to families and lawyers to visit the San Uk Lan Holding Centre. The lack of means of Hong Kong citizens to respond to widespread police brutality has fostered even more distrust between protestors and the government, and the dangers of protesting in the street are mounting. 

 

Known as the Prince Edward station incident, on August 31st, 2019, riot police stormed into an MTR train compartment with batons and pepper spray, indiscriminately attacking innocent passengers returning home after dinner. Multiple civilians were injured; some were even beaten unconscious and blood-covered. The station was closed shortly after the attack; all journalists and medical responders were denied access. 

 

At least 9 HKers have committed suicide as a form of political protest against the violent suppression of Hongkongers’ rights; 2 young professionals suffered permanent blindness and damage to their eyes due to police brutality, and some professionals have lost their jobs because of their political stances. 17 weeks of blood and sweat have exposed HK’s darkest, ugliest threats to civil society. Hongkongers will not back down until our demands are met. 

 

Germany’s role for Hong Kong

Why should Germans be concerned about this seemingly distant conflict? While Germans may take pride in their democratic state and Constitution, its economic interests are deeply entangled with the current political situation of Hong Kong, as seen by Angela Merkel’s recent September 2019 visit to Beijing in order to foster a long-term trade relationship with China. This year China became the biggest German trading partner, and Chinese companies have started to invest money into Germany.

 

One instance of Chinese investment in Germany is China’s biggest battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), which was given approval to build a giant battery cell factory in the German state of Thuringia in July 2018. The battery cell factory is slated for completion in 2021. Daimler has already signed a multi-billion euro contract with CATL, and BMW announced it would buy four billion’s worth of battery cells from the new factory. A report from the New York Times suggest that the battery factory, while praised for bringing jobs to the economically suffering area of Arnstadt, is part of a long-term Chinese state policy to dominate the German market with Chinese battery products as electric cars and sustainable energy sources become critical to the Germany’s markets. Analysts warn that the German economy will be susceptible to Chinese monopolies and pose a great threat to local businesses and German energy companies. 

 

For years, China has been using its economic weight to influence Hong Kong politics. As Chinese investments in Germany grow, Germany becomes increasingly susceptible to Chinese political influence through trade policy. WIR FÜR HONGKONG is sending a message to Berliners: Hong Kong is at the global frontline of the battle against authoritarianism. As Mandela said, “We know there is no easy road to freedom (…) we must, therefore, act together as a united people”.  We hope our friends in Berlin will join us in global solidarity and support the democracy protests in Hong Kong.

 

Five Demands, Not One Less

As part of the Hong Kong democracy movement, WIR FÜR HONGKONG supports the five demands and not one less. The five demands are:

  1. The full withdrawal of the extradition bill.
  2. A commission of inquiry into alleged police brutality.
  3. Retracting the classification of protesters as “rioters”
  4. Amnesty for arrested protestors.
  5. Universal suffrage for both the Legislative Council and Chief Executive. 

A government is there to serve its people. The only solution to a political crisis is to respond to its people.  These are the demands of the people.

 

The Role of EU and Germany

WIR FÜR HONGKONG demands the German government leverage its influence in the European Union to:

1.  Prohibit the sale of non-lethal crowd control equipment to Hong Kong.

2. Offer the right of mobility to those arrested for protesting in Hong Kong,
ensuring that visa applications or immigration approvals will not be
negatively impacted by an arrest record.

3. Provide political asylum to individuals who have been beaten,
harassed or otherwise abused by the police.
4. Reaffirm support for “One Country, Two Systems”. The EU should defend and facilitate the people of Hong Kong in their long-term fight for human rights and democracy. 
5. Continue to address human rights issues of Hong Kong in Sino-EU trade talks. 
6. Safeguard the freedom of expression and assembly of EU-based Hong Kong citizens.

In 2014, the world witnessed the beginnings of the Umbrella Movement. 
What we are demanding today is the same as five years ago, universal suffrage.

Hong Kongers all over the world have no way of turning back to the free Hong Kong they have grown up in and known all their lives.  Join us in our fight for our right to the freedom of speech and freedom from fear. In this critical moment for democracy, we need your solidarity.