Wednesday, Oct 30th

Joshua Wong and Carrie Lam, Protest Updates, and HK's Press Rebels

In the space of a few hours on Tuesday, new polling numbers came out showing Lam’s approval rating is nearing single digits, and Joshua Wong was disqualified from running for District Council. The stated reason for Joshua Wong’s disqualification was over Demosistō’s advocacy of self-determination, which an election official decided was incompatible with the Basic Law. Demosistō doesn’t mean ‘self-determination’ the way the government is saying they do or the way the term is usually used (i.e., the creation of an independent nation-state). They mean it precisely the way HKEx’s CEO used it today: a democracy by, of, and for Hong Kongers. I write about it a bit more here. Put simply though, what is delf-determination if not the ability to remove leadership only 1 in 10 citizens has any confidence in?

On the DQ itself: The arguments used were bad, there isn’t a lot of faith in HK courts right now, counter-protesters turned out to call him a “race traitor,” and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said his DQ "ensures the seriousness and fairness." On how Lam is going forward:

Today’s Rubber Bullets & Resistance:

  • Lam Remains, Joshua Wong DQ’d

  • What to expect tomorrow.

  • Protest updates

  • Press Revolt

What to Expect Tomorrow

Tomorrow, October 31, is both Halloween and the anniversary of [whatever the hell happened] at Prince Edward MTR on August 31st.

  • Prince Edward MTR closes at 2pm and other stations, like Central, will shut down by 9pm. Stations across the city are looking like this now. One Prince Edward MTR exit that has been used as a shrine for months now looks like a giant HVAC.

  • Jerome Taylor: “Hong Kong is now a place where police (off record) brief that you are allowed to wear a mask if you’re celebrating Halloween but if you chant protest slogans while wearing a mask on Halloween you will be asked to remove it.”

  • Ocean Park canceled its famous haunted house event. This came after threats of a staff walkout because of censoring “Hong Kong, add oil.” [the RTHK link is down].

  • There will be sit-ins at MTR stations and a “Masquerade Haloween Party” marching from Victoria Park to Lan Kwai Fong starting at around 8.

Protest Updates

Sunday’s Kowloon Protest

Last Friday I predicted that this weekend would be relatively uneventful compared to the previous Sunday. On one hand, this seems true in that I think the turnout was probably less than half – and yet somewhere between 50-100k people turned up in Tsim Sha Tsui for little other reason than it was a Sunday and things remain unresolved and bad. “See you next weekend” graffiti in Mong Kok proved true.

You can read a short thread of my experience here. Towards the end of the night, I got locked inside a pharmacy while buying more N95 marks when the shutters went down. I saw a baby suffering from tear gas exposure when I walked out. This is what happened to the other people in my small group after we got split up.

Tuen Mun Citizens Complain About Gas; Get Gassed

Everyone from parents to animals shelters complained about a tear gassy smell and associated symptoms on Monday. They came out to complain, police denied they were testing tear gas, so promptly gassed them. At least one round of gas landed inside a commercial residence.

They’re at it again as I write this. Police are pepper spraying random residents, stormed a restaurant and arrested the staff, and are now trying to get inside an apartment complex. [follow-up: as many as 40 people have been arrested tonight]

Press Revolt

I mentioned in the last update that the attacks on the press are now relentless and brazen. Freelance journalists Amy Ip led a media walk-out of the Monday HKPF press briefing. Among the complaints was an SCMP reporter shot in the foot, an RTHK reporter who had his mask taken off and accused of holding a brick and the use of ‘flashlights’ police shine at the press and protesters that are actually lasers.

Follow Up / Etcetera

  • Races now need a letter of no objection?

  • Junius Ho was stripped of his honorary doctorate.

  • More drama in Vancouver.

  • NYT reports on American universities not adequately protecting Hong Kong students.

At Emerson [University], Ms. Hui said an administrator had reached out to make sure she felt safe. But when she requested a public statement condemning the threats against her, none came.”

  • The University of York asks Hong Kong students to take down Lennon Wall

  • “Blitzchung” has a new VR game? [follow-up]

  • More famous pro-gov opinion writers and leaders are turning on Carrie Lam.

  • Lam is mobilizing the entire government against the protesters, using very CCP-esque political language

  • Both HKU and HKDI students are getting very upset with their administration, and St. Pauls College is turning on its students. Riot cops showed up at HKDI today.

  • Former Chief Exec CY Leung is trying to get domestic helpers to turn their employees in.

  • Reuters has a really good article up on Wong Tai Sin, one of the biggest (and most unexpected!) hot spots in all this. And where angry residents live next door to the police that gas, arrest, and shoot them. Here’s SCMP’s story from the night it began.

  • Hong Kong Free Press goes inside an underground hospital in Hong Kong. HKPF have arrested at least five people at Hong Kong hospitals who checked in for protest-related injuries)

    In another case, a male patient reportedly received a facial fracture on his upper right cheek after he was hit in the abdomen by a rubber bullet and fell to the ground, giving officers time to capture and beat him around the head with a blunt object.