Hong Kong, one-third of the protesters arrested are under 18 years old
by Paul Wang

There are 750 young people, 104 of whom are under 16 years old.  The government has also released data on the destruction carried out by radical groups on the streets and in the Hong Kong subway.  Xinhua lays the blame at the failure of the Hong Kong education system.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - In the last four months of demonstrations against the extradition law in China, about one-third of those arrested are young people under the age of 18.  Government Secretary General Matthew Cheung Kin-chung told the South China Morning Post, calling the data "shocking" and "heartbreaking". 

The demonstrations that started in June against the law - withdrawn after three months - have grown as a pro-democratic movement continues its call for a response to "five demands", including an independent investigation into police violence and the implementation of universal suffrage for  elections in parliament and in choosing the chief executive.

The government's unwillingness to be moved on these issues has pushed fringes of demonstrators to acts of vandalism and to clashes with security forces of the order of ever increasing intensity.

Matthew Cheung said that of 2379 arrested so far, 750 are under the age of 18 and 104 of them are under the age of 16.

The government also gave figures of damage and destruction caused by the most radical groups of the movement: 42 km of road railings;  2600 square meters of sidewalks pavement;  a fifth of the traffic lights in the city. Added to these are added damage to subway stations: 2400 punching machines;  900 security cameras, hitting 83 stations out of 94.

On October 5, the government passed a security law that prohibits people from covering their face in public.  Many young people, fearful of face recognition by the police and to save themselves from tear gas and pepper sprays used by the police, have taken the habit of wearing masks in demonstrations and even at school.

Many boys and girls in junior and high schools participate in demonstrations in the city center and around their schools.  Local teachers have been criticized by China because they do nothing to stop them.  According to Xinhua, this shows the failure of the Hong Kong educational model.  For the Beijing government agency, the young Tsang Chi-kin, wounded in the chest by the police in early October, should be expelled from school.  The young man is accused of revolt and assault against two policemen.