Tuesday, October 22

Yuen Long 7/21 Anniversary, Extradition Bill Saga, and District Council

Things went about as I expected in Yuen Long last night, at least for the ‘resist!’/反抗 stage of this movement on the three-month anniversary of 7/21 [see: RTHK documentry]. There was little planning on protester’s side, but police showed up with just enough manpower to try to impose an unofficial curfew once the barricades went up just before 9 p.m. Their crackdown, of course, produced more shocking pictures that went viral.

In today’s Rubber Bullets and Resistance

  1. The impact of the 7/21 attacks on HK public opinion

  2. Recap of 7/21 anniversary protests in Yuen Long last night

  3. Taiwan said they won’t take the fugitive that started this whole mess

  4. District Council candidates aren’t DQ’d today, but HKPF just made it easier to rig the vote


A Note on 7/21 and Public Opinion

Two dates catapulted this movement into what it became: 6/12 and 7/21. Outrage over what happened on June 12th doubled the estimated 1-million turnout the weekend before to 2-million on June 16th. July 21st, in turn, was the night the bottom fell out in terms of trust in HKPF and the HKSAR government. A lecturer at the University of British Columbia went over recent polling data and concluded that any talk of ‘polarization’ is just a media narrative. The data shows a rapid and massive change of public opinion in a single direction.


10/21 Yuen Long Protest

  • HKPF reports that things began with residents in Yuen Long, Tseung Kwan O, Tai Koo, and Tuen Mun staging “a sit-in at MTR stations… at 7 pm on Monday to commemorate the July 21 incident.” A photo from Causeway Bay MTR.

  • Predictably, protesters in Yuen Long began building barricades by 7:50 p.m. The black flag (tear gas warning) went up, and police made their first arrest of the night, around 30 minutes later, and a pro-Beijing counter-demonstration got hostile with an Apple Daily reporter at about the same time.

  • Tear gassing started just before 9:30. Things devolved from there with generally chaotic policing:

    • Police shouted to reporters: "Look at you! Look what you look like! A pile of rubbish!"

    • Cops bullied a young girl and a social worker: “What were u saying? Weren’t u so mighty before?”

    • Cops chased after random people walking down the street.

We’re seeing younger and younger people come out to the streets. Reporters interviewed an eleven-year-old in Yuen Long who came out for the first time because his mother wasn’t home. These children are at a much higher risk than any other participant - and I doubt they understand it. Like ‘chalk girl’ in 2014, the government’s standard practice after arresting under-age participants is to put them in foster care. At least 105 minors have been arrested this year.


HKSAR vs. Taiwan Dispute Over… Extradition.

An expected news development concerns the fate of the murderous chaos monkey that set this entire revolution in motion: Chan Tong-kai. Carrie Lam proposed the Extradition Bill amendment specifically for this one boyfriend who killed his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan before flying back home to Hong Kong. We learned yesterday that he decided to surrender himself to Taiwan authorities, but today we learned Taiwan might not accept him.

HKFP reports that Taiwanese authorities accuse “Hong Kong of ‘demeaning its sovereignty’ because it refused to pass evidence onto the island’s prosecutors. Hong Kong’s lack of official cooperation was a sign that the city does not treat Taiwan as a separate jurisdiction from China.” Jerome Taylor captured how I think most observers in Hong Kong reacted:

Taiwan is still insisting on formal mutual-assistance talks, which is a non-starter, as we already discovered earlier this year. Why they don't just say "If Mr Chan would like to fly himself to Taoyuan there will be a welcoming team with handcuffs waiting" is beyond me

From Taiwan, William Yang responded:

… from Tsai Ing-wen and DPP’s perspective, simply agreeing to receive Chan would be viewed as a weak political move, especially after they have so openly used the #antiELABhk to label themselves as the best option to “safeguard #Taiwan’s sovereignty.”

RTHK is now reporting that Taiwan denies that there’s any such dispute.


District Council Elections

Both hopes and concerns are surrounding the District Council elections a month from now. For the first time in recent memory, pro-democracy candidates are competing in every district. The candidates range from high profile Joshua Wong to Eddie Chu’s coalition of grassroots-focused pro-democracy candidates.

  • There have been rumors that the government will try to cancel the elections by claiming a security risk since Josua Wong entered the race.

  • Pro-democracy candidates have been assaulted in recent weeks.

  • There are concerns that the government will, again, try to disqualify (DQ) candidates. Candidates are already being questioned about what「光復香港,時代革命」means [explainer].

    • All of Eddie Chu’s coalition of candidates appear to pass the first round of DQ screening.

    • Eddie Chu himself (!) just passed the first round.

  • Today, the Junior Police Officer’s Association, which has become almost an independent branch of the HKSAR government, won a legal challenge over District Council voter data. Sum Lok-kei notes that “the registry has been a tool for media and interested parties to look out for vote-rigging. Electoral Affairs Commission admits the registry can be misused for doxxing but said there is no evidence so far.”


Etcetera

  • Carrie Lam was denounced by a pro-Beijing columnist "for showing the first signs of cutting ties with police officers who committed wrongdoing, saying ‘you have hurt the hearts of countless officers.’"

  • Michael Tien, a moderate pro-Beijing lawmaker, blasted MTR for lying about the extent of damage and using that excuse for the ‘soft curfew.’

  • A reporter asked the Secretary of Food and Health: “Will we be arrested for wearing a mask during peak flu season?”

  • Michael Chugani’s brother, Mohan, was ‘smurfed’ by the water cannon outside the Kowloon Mosque on Sunday and said he was pressured to keep quiet about it. He filed a police complaint today.

  • Interview with “Protect the Children” activist. These are mostly retirement-age people who get between frontliners and police.

  • NYT interviewed a frontliner about the goodbye letters they write before heading out to a protest.

Outside Hong Kong

  • Benjamin Hass has an essay out about polarization in the HK diaspora community in London.

  • China Minister of Foreign Affairs today: “There are foreign forces which are encouraging this sort of violence in the streets with the aim of destabilizing Hong Kong, sowing chaos… to wipe out the historic progress made since the one-country-two-systems policy was applied.”