Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Yet another eventful day in troubled Hong Kong

Flowers and other tributes for a dead protester

Among the first bits of news I received this morning was of an anti-extradition bill protester contemplating suicide at Admiralty.  With the help of social workers, pro-democracy politicians and other concerned individuals, he was found and saved -- at least for the time being.  Perhaps in response, a group of volunteers later went to that area to give out free hugs.  But while gestures like shouldn't go unappreciated, the point to make here is that there appears to be a real mental health crisis out there, with there also being more suicidal messages being posted on social media and appeals for people to hurry over to various parts of Hong Kong to look for suicidal individuals over the course of the day.  

With nerves already frayed, those who care for their fellows feel their hearts breaking a little more upon learning of one more such desperate and depressed individual on the brink of giving up on life itself.  Adding to all this is the sense that the latest government and police actions are going to push more anti-extradition bill protesters to the brink as well as see them being punished as criminals; with the arrest of eight individuals for online doxxing and unlawful disclosure of police officers' personal data earlier today and plans to carry out city-wide raids to hunt down and arrest hundreds of protesters who stormed into, and trashed, the Legislative Council Complex on Monday signalling what appears to be the start of a major government crackdown.

Rather than compel many anti-extradition bill protesters to give up, however, I actually think that all this would make them just more indignant, angrier and more stubbornly opposed to Carrie Lam, her administration and -- especially if there is a sense that all this is now being done on the orders of Beijing -- China itself (which, hitherto, has actually had less ire directed at it than the local Hong Kong authorities).  After all, these are the people who, rather than be less reluctant to protest after the police fire tear gas and more on their fellows, turn up in greater numbers to do so at the next opportunity!  

This is all the more so since, despite my fears that it would be otherwise after what happened at the Legislative Council Complex on July 1st, it would seem that the majority of Hong Kongers remain on the side of the protesters.  And so too, for the record, is the last Governor of Hong Kong -- who I have little doubt remains more highly regarded by most Hong Kongers than any of the four Chief Executives that Hong Kong has had since 1997!    

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