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Hong Kong: Police again use tear gas against demonstrators


Once again there have been clashes between protesters and police. The US and China have been arguing over a diplomat.

Also on Saturday, thousands have demonstrated in Hong Kong against the Beijing-loyal government of Carrie Lam. The demonstrators gathered for several rallies in the city. Partly it came thereby to clashes with the police. The security forces used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators after they blocked an intersection.

For the second day in a row, hundreds of government opponents have once again occupied the arrivals hall of the airport. Already on Friday about 1,000 protesters had peacefully protested there. With a sit-down strike, they had tried to make international passengers aware of their protest. The action did not affect flight. Further protests at the airport are scheduled for Sunday.

Protests since June

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on since June. While they were initially mainly carried by students, many older citizens have now joined their cause. "We are very angry that the police arrested our young people," said a senior journalist from Reuters news agency. She had come to the rally because she was worried about the growing clashes between police and demonstrators. The demonstrators had just tried to protect themselves against the police, she said. A week earlier, police officers arrested 20 people after protesters put fires in front of a police station and blocked a tunnel.

The protests have meanwhile also brought about an international conflict. The US has accused China of deliberately endangering a US diplomat in Hong Kong. The diplomat met with anti-government activists in Hong Kong. China protested after Hong Kong media reported on the meeting. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called on the US to clarify the purpose of the meeting and "immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs."

The US, however, condemned China's dealings with the incident. The government in Beijing is said to have passed on a photo of the diplomat and personal information and names of family members to the media. This approach was "no longer irresponsible, but dangerous," wrote US Foreign Office spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Twitter. According to the Vienna Convention, China is obliged "to treat diplomats and consular officials with due respect" and to do everything possible to prevent attacks on their person, freedom or dignity. China denied initiating the publication of personal information.

"Who plays with the fire, deals in it"

The cause for the protests was a planned law that would allow defendants to be extradited to China in certain criminal cases. After several weeks, the government suspended the legislative process, which Lam described as "dead." However, the government renounced formally withdrawing the law. The demonstrators fear that it could be reactivated at a later date. In addition to a formal rejection of possible future deliveries to China, many of them also demand the resignation of Lam. The government of the city-state has clearly opposed the protesters. They would undermine the "social order".

The Chinese leadership in Beijing called the demonstrators "criminals" after a general strike. The Chinese military had released a video demonstrating its ability to quell an urban uprising. "Whoever plays with fire, is in it," said a spokesman for the Chinese State Council.

Since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the former British Crown Colony is a Special Administrative Region with autonomous rights. Under the slogan "One country, two systems", the provision was made, according to which China should allow for a period of at least 50 years freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Hong Kong. But democracy activists accuse the government in Beijing of undermining these rights and increasingly rigorously controlling Hong Kong. In the long run, so the fear of the government critics, Hong Kong could lose all liberties.

Hong Kong - Further clashes between police and protesters Police have again deployed tear gas and barricades at demonstrations. Meanwhile, older citizens participate in the protests. © Photo: Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Source: zeit

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