Elections and More Mass Demonstrations in Hong Kong

In the last quarter of 2019, protests in Hong Kong did not show any sign of abating. On 1 October, China’s National Day, the city was shaken by the biggest demonstration since the protests began in late April. Shortly afterwards, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked colonial-era emergency powers to ban face masks, which the protesters were using for anonymity and to protect themselves from the tear gas used by the police. On 8 November, the death of Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old university student who had fallen from a car park while police carried out a dispersal operation nearby, further escalated tensions between protesters and the police, with university campuses becoming new battlegrounds. Mounting clashes on campus, which culminated in the siege of Polytechnic University, resulted in universities suspending classes or even shutting down for the remainder of the semester, while non-local students fled Hong Kong. Despite ongoing turmoil, district elections were held on 24 November as scheduled. The pro-democracy camp won 392 out of the 452 seats, enabling them to control 17 out of the 18 districts. On 27 November, US President Trump signed into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Back in mainland China, however, authorities arrested suspects involved in protests in Hong Kong, including a Taiwanese national in late October and a citizen of Belize in late November. On 8 December, hundreds of thousands of protesters returned to the streets in Hong Kong while Carrie Lam was meeting with senior officials in Beijing, who acknowledged her firm stand on the principle of ‘one country, two systems’. NLiu


(Sources: BBC; Bloomberg; CNN; Financial Times; Hong Kong Free Press; Reuters; South China Morning Post; Sydney Morning Herald; Xinhua)

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