08/01/2019, 13.26
HONG KONG – CHINA
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An appeal from Hong Kong's middle class against the extradition bill

by Paul Wang

Hundreds of people have signed an appeal, including entrepreneurs, artists, lawyers, pilots, employees, teachers, etc. The extradition bill has been rejected by people from all walks of life. Chen Daoxiang, commander of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, makes veiled threat.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – A middle class group has launched an appeal and an online petition, notingWe cannot witness with folded arms as the teenage protesters are injured or arrested for seeking democracy, freedom and justice [. . .]. We shall not tolerate in silence anymore.”

The group calls on the authorities to withdraw the extradition bill, stop describing the clashes between protesters and police as an ‘uprising’, release all detained protesters, conduct an open and independent investigation into the action of the police and the events in Yuen Long (where police is suspected of collusion with the triads against the young protesters), and fully implement universal suffrage in the territory.

Posted online yesterday, the appeal has already gathered hundreds of signatures by this morning, including entrepreneurs, artists, lawyers, pilots, employees, teachers, etc. As evinced by the recent large-scale protests of more than two million people, the extradition bill has been rejected by all Hong Kong social groups, as it seen as an attack on the freedom enjoyed in the territory and guaranteed by the principle "one country, two systems".

As solidarity towards protesters grows, Chen Daoxiang, commander of China’s Hong Kong-based military garrison, yesterday said that violent clashes will no longer be tolerated and that the army is determined to protect China's sovereignty over the territory. Following the moderate statement by Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, his words sound like a threat.

Here’s the appeal.

We are a group of Hong Kong middle class. Unlike the stereotype of how the general public imagines protesters to be, we have the assets, social status or knowledge to ignore Hong Kong's current plight or even emigrate. We, however, treat Hong Kong as home. We cannot witness with folded arms as the teenage protesters are injured or arrested for seeking democracy, freedom and justice, which are the core value of Hong Kong aside from economic development. Teenage protesters are a beacon of hope under the joint-tyranny of the lying government, pro-Establishment camp and police force. We shall not tolerate in silence anymore.

The Anti-Extradition Bill Movements have taken place for several months. The government still turn a blind eye on peaceful protests, million marches and political suicides. Chief Executive Carrie Lam's standstill motivated more protesters to go to the frontline to face increasingly abusive police force. Triad members terrorized Yuen Long with the support of delayed police operation. The chain of events has clearly shown that it is the malicious government who has been inciting Hong Kong citizens, who are lying. It is the government who destroys Hong Kong's emphasis on sensibility, professionalism and the rule of law.

While some may say that protesters have also deployed increasingly forceful means to counter the police, it cannot be denied that such tension would not have been triggered had the government responded to the citizens' demands, had the police authorities operated without excessive force. No teenagers are willing to spend all of their time and energy to take to the street. No one would like to sacrifice one's future.

We would like to enjoy the fruits of our labour, yet democracy, freedom and justice are fundamental to such a life. Without these core values, Hong Kong would degrade into a second-tier city. Now, our home is no longer safe, our government is no longer just. We cannot remain silent.

We could use our assets and privileges to support the movement, as well as joining the general strike. For those of us who are at the management level, we could safeguard our staff's rights to join the general strike without any consequences. More industries should work hand in hand to prevent more bloodshed from teenagers.

We also call for companies and enterprises to continue employing political prisoners and protesters who are charged with offenses during social justice movements. To stand up to white terror, we would also safeguard our young employees' future by disregarding their political advocacies in terms of job performance.

It is not a crime to fight for Hong Kong.

Reinstating our five demands:
1. Withdraw the Extradition Bill;
2. Retract the characterisation of the violent clashes as “riots”;
3. Lift charges on protesters arrested during the clashes and free them unconditionally
4.Inquire fully and independently into the actions of the police and the recent Yuen Long Terror;
5. Implement universal suffrage

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