Hong Kong: From Protest to Rebellion to Revolution? *China is ready…

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6 October 2019

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Hong Kong military garrison warned protesters on Sunday they could be arrested for targeting its barracks in the city with laser lights.

In the first direct interaction between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and protesters, the PLA raised a yellow flag with the arrest warning written in large letters, said a Reuters witness.

As a few hundred protesters shone laser lights on the barrack walls, troops in fatigues on the roof of the building shone spotlights at protesters and used binoculars and cameras to monitor protesters.

Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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Excerpts from:

Filed 

Last month, Beijing moved thousands of troops across the border into this restive city. They came in on trucks and armored cars, by bus and by ship.

The state news agency Xinhua described the operation as a routine “rotation” of the low-key force China has kept in Hong Kong since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997. No mention was made of the anti-government protests that have been shaking the metropolis since June.

It was a plausible report: China has maintained a steady level of force in the territory for years, regularly swapping troops in and out. And days earlier, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters, embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam had told local businesspeople that China had “absolutely no plan” to order the army to put down the demonstrations.

A month on, Asian and Western envoys in Hong Kong say they are certain the late-August deployment was not a rotation at all, but a reinforcement. Seven envoys who spoke to Reuters said they didn’t detect any significant number of existing forces in Hong Kong returning to the mainland in the days before or after the announcement.

Three of the envoys said the contingent of Chinese military personnel in Hong Kong had more than doubled in size since the protests began. They estimated the number of military personnel is now between 10,000 and 12,000, up from 3,000 to 5,000 in the months before the reinforcement.

As a result, the envoys believe, China has now assembled its largest-ever active force of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops and other anti-riot personnel and equipment in Hong Kong.

Significantly, five of the diplomats say, the build-up includes elements of the People’s Armed Police (PAP), a mainland paramilitary anti-riot and internal security force under a separate command from the PLA. While Reuters was unable to determine the size of the PAP contingent, envoys say the bulk of the troops in Hong Kong are from the PLA.

PAP forces would be likely to spearhead any crackdown if Beijing decides to intervene, according to foreign envoys and security analysts. These paramilitary troops are specially trained in non-lethal tactics and methods of riot suppression and crowd control.
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Until now, the PAP’s presence in Hong Kong has been limited to a small advance detachment nestled discreetly within existing PLA facilities, according to one of the diplomats. The new deployment marks the first significant entry of the PAP into Hong Kong. It wasn’t mentioned in official accounts of the rotation nor in the state-controlled press.

The combined deployment of the PLA and the PAP follows months of official statements denouncing the protests and dramatic signaling to Hong Kongers. This included news reports and footage showing anti-riot drills by both the PLA and the PAP, released by the military on social media. Last month, hundreds of PAP troops conducted extensive exercises in a football stadium in Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong. Troops in the area could also be deployed to Hong Kong if the crisis deepened, foreign diplomats said.

 

For the full article:
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/china-army-hongkong/

What is this considered? A rebellion?

Video shows thousands declare interim Hong Kong government

Hong Kong protesters read aloud declaration of ‘Hong Kong Provisional Government Manifesto’

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam imposing a ban on protesters wearing masks at all public gatherings on Friday (Oct. 4), thousands of Hong Kong protesters read aloud a manifesto declaring a provisional government.

Thousands gathered at the New Hong Kong City Centre in Ma On Shan on Friday and read aloud the “Hong Kong Provisional Government Manifesto.” The 900-word long declaration rejects the current “troglodytic and authoritarian” government and calls for a new form of leadership that provides “freedom, democracy, and human rights.”

The manifesto draws from the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence, which uttered the famous line of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” emphasizing that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The document states the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government is “under the influence of the Chinese Communist Party,” and “there is no longer any Separation of Powers nor rule of law in Hong Kong.”

The writers of the manifesto go on to state that because they no longer have faith in the SAR government, they have officially “unseated and dismissed” Lam and her administration “in effect immediately.”

The following is the full text of the manifesto:

In order for mankind to continually improve and evolve, changes to the old system must be made, or even overthrown. This is the same for governments that are troglodytic and authoritarian. Hence, we the Hong Kongers hereby establish the Hong Kong Provisional Government, a government that pledges to give its people freedom, democracy, and human rights. We solemnly swear that this government is a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

We the Hong Kongers strongly believe in the following lines, which are enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” These are doctrines that shall not be trampled upon by anyone, or anything.

“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is now under the influence of The Chinese Communist Party. The Hong Kong SAR Government has continually failed to listen to its people’s demands and has stripped its people of their rights. The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, enacted the “Anti-mask law” by use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, in order to bypass all regular legislative procedures. There is no doubt that there is no longer any Separation of Powers nor rule of law in Hong Kong.

We the Hong Kongers no longer have any faith in the SAR Government, and we do not recognise it as the governing body of Hong Kong. We hereby announce the Chief Executive and all her Secretaries, Chief Secretaries for Administration, and heads of all departments unseated and dismissed, in effect immediately.”

The document then details the steps that are to follow, including an immediate end to the current Hong Kong government and implementation of procedures to select a democratically elected provisional government. Among the points mentioned, the provisional government is to have a five-year term, mention is made of a “president,” and an election for a provisional legislative council is slated for March, presumably next year.

The following are seven key points announced by the Hong Kong Provisional Government:

1. All departments originally belonging to the SAR Government shall be taken over by the Hong Kong Provisional Government.

2. The positions of Chief Executive, Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries for Administration shall be vacant indefinitely, until replacements are democratically elected.

3. All policies enacted by the SAR Government from 2018 onwards shall be indefinitely suspended. Employees of government departments shall ensure that the departments run smoothly, until further notice.

4. The Hong Kong Provisional Government shall be in term for five years or when a President and officials are nominated and elected by the public. The Hong Kong Provisional Government must start organising an election of the basis of universal suffrage within one year of its establishment, and the election shall be completed within three years.

5. Officials of The Hong Kong Provisional Government shall not be allowed to take up any other governing roles in the Hong Kong Government once their term ends.

6. All current Hong Kong laws shall be effective until a new set of laws are introduced by The Hong Kong Provisional Government.

7. The Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council shall be dismissed immediately. An election shall be held in March to elect the Hong Kong Provisional Legislative Council. The Hong Kong Legislative Council shall be elected within a year. The Hong Kong Provisional Legislative Council shall have seventy seats; Hong Kong Island and Kowloon West shall have twelve seats, Kowloon East ten seats, New Territories West and East shall have eighteen seats.

Videos showed thousands reading the interim government declaration aloud in Cantonese:

 

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3791091

Excerpts from:

Rebellion – Four Corners – ABC

 

https://www.abc.net.au › 4corners › rebellion

 

Rebellion in Hong Kong

For these Hongkongers this is a battle of freedom versus authoritarian rule.

阅读中文版本

Updated 
Published 

All over Hong Kong young people leave their homes, some of them making up lies to their parents about where they are going.

They duck into side streets and change into black T-shirts as they rush to join the frontline.

“Please don’t show my face. I told my mum I was going out for dinner!” yells one young man as he changes his shirt.

In many ways, Hong Kong resembles a city in open rebellion.

What started as a protest against a proposed new law, which would see people extradited from Hong Kong to mainland China to face Beijing-style justice, has now turned into a battle for the future of Hong Kong.
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These are the “frontliners” in the democracy movement and they’re backed by a brigade of self-organised medics, scouts, fire teams and supply runners.

They’ve formed a formidable force that communicates and organises through the use of encrypted apps and spontaneous street huddles.

‘It’s about my future’

Twenty-four-year-old “Tom” spends his days in a suit working as an engineer on Hong Kong island, but at night he dresses in black and joins the frontline, facing off directly with police.

Like most frontliners, Tom covers his face to hide his identity and carries supplies in a backpack. He packs spare clothes so he can quickly change in side streets when he’s running from the elite police Raptor unit.

“That’s the most scary thing to do, because you’re very afraid of meeting a cop on the street when you’re going back home with a backpack full of the equipment,” he told Four Corners.
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On the ground, decisions need to be made quickly, so frontliners often stage quick group meetings under the cover of umbrellas to work out which locations they should target next.

 

For the whole article and videos:

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-02/on-the-frontline-of-hong-kongs-democracy-protest-movement/11439810


Excerpts from:

JACOBIN

The Rebellion in Hong Kong Is Intensifying

AU LOONG YU

Massive demonstrations in Hong Kong have forced the government to shelve a bill that could muzzle dissident voices. But the protesters are still on the streets — and they’re demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive.

 

Hong Kong’s ongoing protests are a dramatic reminder that mass street demonstrations can defeat seemingly undefeatable legislation.

Last month, the million-strong marches forced the Hong Kong government to shelve its China extradition bill, which critics say would allow Beijing to muzzle dissident voices in the former British colony. Unsatisfied with mere suspension, protesters have demanded the bill’s complete withdrawal and the resignation of Hong Kong’s Beijing-approved chief executive, Carrie Lam.

Unlike Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement, which had multiple spokespersons, the youthful protesters reject any leadership and show no interest in channeling their anger into electoral directions. Instead, they have escalated their direct actions, fighting pitched battles with police, momentarily occupying the Legislative Council, and protesting inside the Hong Kong International Airport.

The Chinese government has warned the protesters of touching its “bottom line” of “one country, two systems” (the principle, first devised by Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s, that treats Hong Kong as part of China but gives it a measure of autonomy). Beijing has even hinted at possible military intervention. Thus far it has refrained from more direct involvement, but the threat of a serious crackdown hangs over the increasingly physical battles, with forty-four protesters just charged with rioting for the first time in two months of demonstrations.

Neither Hong Kong and Beijing nor the protesters show signs of backing down. And given the widespread anger among ordinary citizens of Hong Kong — who still lack the ability to choose their chief executive without Beijing’s involvement — it is not certain that even Carrie Lam’s resignation would resolve the impasse.

Jacobin contributor Kevin Lin spoke to longtime socialist and author Au Loong Yu about the intensifying demonstrations, the ideological composition of the protest movement, the role of unions in the upsurge, and the effect that various geopolitical relationships (Beijing and Hong Kong, United States and China) are having on the simmering rebellion.

Since the mass rallies in June, we have seen more militant actions by groups of protesters targeting the Hong Kong authorities. What should we make of this escalation?

Within the “yellow ribbon” camp — those who support democratic reform — there are two factions: the radical youth (who play the vanguard role) and adult supporters and pan-democrats (the liberal opposition since the 1980s that has pushed for universal suffrage while maintaining the “free market” of Hong Kong). The young generation is more determined than the older generation to demand the government withdraw the China extradition bill. There is strong anxiety and bitterness among them — and fear that, if they cannot win this time, they will lose forever.

Since July 6 there have been three big protests in different districts. We have also seen cycles of violence between the two sides, although it is always the police who are much more provocative and violent. Despite the violence, the young people are still widely supported by the broader yellow ribbon camp. How big is the yellow ribbon camp? The turnout on June 9, June 16, and July 1 was 1 million, 2 million, and half a million, respectively. In contrast, the pro-Beijing “blue ribbon” camp mobilized no more than 150,000.

There is also growing anger among older citizens now. Not only were they duped into believing Beijing’s promise of universal suffrage, but also their children may end up with the same disappointment and face even worse social mobility.

We have the most absurd situation: everyone knows that it has been Beijing’s decision to rush through the bill, but both Beijing and Carrie Lam continue to pretend that it is entirely the latter’s decision and that the former is just being supportive.
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It is a reasonable guess that Beijing is setting traps for the protesters. The July 1 occupation of the legislature is quite suspicious — the police retreated in the face of a besieged legislature, allowing the youngsters to break in. Again, after the big march of July 21, there was a call out of nowhere for continuous marching to the Liaison Office. Yet, before the procession arrived, the police guarding the office had been evacuated, allowing the protestors to spray paint and graffiti on its wall. The same night, mafia indiscriminately attacked passengers in the Yuen Long West Rail. And then another youth suicide occurred that night as well. All these developments have further antagonized the yellow ribbon camp and may further radicalize the movement.

The CCP has a long record of provoking a premature uprising among people just to legitimize the later bloody crackdown. We should watch closely whether this is the case. The more worrying side of the story is that if Beijing’s regime remains stable, a Hong Kong people’s uprising probably will not end well.

 

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/08/hong-kong-protest-china-carrie-lam-umbrella-movement-extradition-bill-xi-jinping

Nectar Gan @Nectar_Gan
One of Mao’s most famous lines is now a rallying call for HK protests “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely & gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous.”
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Excerpts from:

‘Prepared to Die’: Hong Kong Protesters Embrace Hard-Core Tactics, Challenge Beijing

The resistance, which has mainstream support, is the biggest rebellion against China’s government since President Xi took power

HONG KONG—In 2014, a protester named Chloe camped out on city streets, chanted slogans and planted “seeds of hope,” part of a 79-day occupation of major roads. The protesters’ demands for greater democracy were ignored.

This summer, the civil servant, who is in her 20s, has zip tied metal barriers together to block roads and dug bricks out of sidewalks to throw at police. Her primary role is to be “arrest support”—ready to hire lawyers for detained protesters and help their families with an emergency plan.

“Some of them are prepared to die for the movement,” said Chloe. “I am also willing to die for it.”

Hong Kong’s protests against the mainland government’s increasing reach are emerging as bigger, more frequent and more violent than previous pro-democracy movements. In a contrast to 2014, when demonstrations were largely led by students, the current action has been embraced by a broader cross-section of Hong Kong society—including civil servants, pop stars, doctors, shopkeepers and people of all ages. And those taking part in more radical acts of civil disobedience are finding wider support.

Hard-core current protesters have largely rejected the strategies of veteran leaders, whose approach is seen to have failed. Actions are mostly organized by anonymous leaders of small groups. In 2014, named student leaders became well known figures.

The shift in attitude means Hong Kong’s resistance has become the biggest open rebellion against China’s ruling Communist Party since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

“There’s a feeling among many that there’s no other option, that some physical confrontation is the only way for the regime to listen to the voices of Hong Kongers,” said Jeffrey Ngo, chief researcher at pro-democracy group Demosisto. Mr. Ngo said he doesn’t use violence himself in the current protests, but understands why some have resorted to it.

Residents have become increasingly dissatisfied as the government has dug in its heels and police have cracked down. Police on the front lines have embraced the use of tear gas—even in residential neighborhoods. Officers have beaten protesters with batons and stormed into shopping malls and subway stations to bring demonstrators to heel. Since June 9, 420 people have been arrested, and some have been charged with crimes that carry up to 10-year prison terms.

Beijing has endorsed the way the police have handled the protests and has sent signals it is losing patience with the unrest. Last week the Chinese army’s Hong Kong garrison released a video showing soldiers performing riot drills and taking part in mock street battles.

Protests across the city continued over the past weekend, the ninth in a row, some with violence, including in tourist and residential areas. On Monday a protester-led strike disrupted the subways and airport, and kept thousands home from work.
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The intensity of the protests has alarmed Beijing. Chinese officials responsible for Hong Kong have issued rebukes and urged the city’s leaders to punish violent demonstrators, calling a return to law and order Hong Kong’s “most pressing priority.”

Chinese army officers have said they are ready to step in if needed, though Hong Kong’s government has dismissed the possibility of calling in troops, a move that would evoke comparisons to the killing of hundreds of protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Chinese officials have at times blamed the crisis on foreign influences.

The uprising is a test of Beijing’s position that Hong Kong must not be used as a base to undermine China’s ruling Communist Party. Mrs. Lam, in her comments Monday, said some extremists’ call for a revolution—a common chant on the streets in recent weeks—has changed the nature of the protest and are a challenge to China’s sovereignty.

In recent years, Mr. Xi has consolidated his power and taken action against dissidents at home, including an iron fist policy in the Muslim-majority Northwest region of Xinjiang. A national security law passed in 2015 empowered the government to make more arrests of rights lawyers and suppress criticism on social media.

Hong Kong citizens have raised the high-profile crackdowns as reasons to distrust the Chinese system.
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The protests have largely been mobilized through the encrypted Telegram messaging app,Facebook and a Reddit-like website called LIHKG. When prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, a leader in the 2014 demonstrations, was in prison during the first two weeks of the current protests, his friends ran his social media accounts on his behalf.

People familiar with the Hong Kong government’s strategy say Mrs. Lam plans to wait out the unrest, betting that as students return to school in September the crisis will be contained. Mrs. Lam has made no public effort to reach out to the myriad groups that make up the movement.

Protesters say they have no such timeline and will retreat only if the government responds.

The willingness to use violence during the Hong Kong protests was a fringe idea only five years ago. Since the handover, protests have largely consisted of peaceful marches that ended at sunset, or orderly candlelight vigils. In 2014, the so-called Umbrella Movement protests became large and long-lasting, but the few tussles with police were quickly condemned by the broader movement. Tear gas was used once.

Chloe, the civil servant, said more aggressive protests are the only way to advocate for their cause.

She describes herself as someone who would rather go shopping and buy makeup than be out all night in the stifling summer heat to battle police officers. Now, like many protesters, she gets geared up before each protest: umbrellas to shield against pepper spray and gun-fired bean bag rounds; eye goggles to help reduce the effects of tear gas; a helmet; and face mask to hide her identity from police and media cameras. She often changes out of sight of security cameras, or behind comrades’ umbrellas.

Justin, another protester on the front lines, talks less about ideology. The 19-year-old unemployed school dropout was radicalized after he choked on tear gas in the first major protester clash with the police on June 12. That day’s images of riot police pointing rubber-bullet guns at protesters and chasing them down city streets shocked city residents.

The day’s clash also prompted Mrs. Lam to suspend the extradition bill. “They would ignore you unless you do something to show how firm you are,” Justin said. “Carrie Lam is the one that taught us this.”
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“If we ask for the sky, we’ll get a window,” said Justin. “If we just ask for the window, we get nothing.”
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In a challenge for authorities, most groups of more-radical protesters are self-organized and unpredictable, and coordinators avoid the limelight. Protests can spring up within minutes via encrypted message apps or even just among clusters of people on the streets. Participants sometimes have no idea what is occurring a block over. As many as 10,000 can gather quickly and occupy streets for hours, faced off against riot police, then disappear in a flash.
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The Civil Human Rights Front, an old-guard umbrella organization that comprises about 50 NGOs, pan-democratic parties and other organizations focusing on human-rights issues, has organized some of the biggest rallies over the past two months, including one that they said attracted two million people on June 16.

Bonnie Leung, the group’s 32-year-old vice-convener, said she now receives inquiries from citizens asking for help on how to organize their own marches: for example, how to apply for a permit or arrange field marshals. The group itself is also planning more protests.

“The people of Hong Kong have woken up in the past two months, and they know that this time it will take more to get the government to listen to us,” said Ms. Leung, whose group doesn’t advocate violence but said they understand why some feel it is necessary. “The government has left us with no choice. Until they address our demands, we will not stand down.”

Write to Natasha Khan at natasha.khan@wsj.com and Wenxin Fan at Wenxin.Fan@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/prepared-to-die-hong-kong-protesters-embrace-hard-core-tactics-challenge-beijing-11565038264

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Excerpts from:

The Rebellion in Hong Kong Is Intensifying

AU LOONG YU

Massive demonstrations in Hong Kong have forced the government to shelve a bill that could muzzle dissident voices. But the protesters are still on the streets — and they’re demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive.

Last month, the million-strong marches forced the Hong Kong government to shelve its China extradition bill, which critics say would allow Beijing to muzzle dissident voices in the former British colony. Unsatisfied with mere suspension, protesters have demanded the bill’s complete withdrawal and the resignation of Hong Kong’s Beijing-approved chief executive, Carrie Lam.

Unlike Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement, which had multiple spokespersons, the youthful protesters reject any leadership and show no interest in channeling their anger into electoral directions. Instead, they have escalated their direct actions, fighting pitched battles with police, momentarily occupying the Legislative Council, and protesting inside the Hong Kong International Airport.

The Chinese government has warned the protesters of touching its “bottom line” of “one country, two systems” (the principle, first devised by Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s, that treats Hong Kong as part of China but gives it a measure of autonomy). Beijing has even hinted at possible military intervention. Thus far it has refrained from more direct involvement, but the threat of a serious crackdown hangs over the increasingly physical battles, with forty-four protesters just charged with rioting for the first time in two months of demonstrations.

Neither Hong Kong and Beijing nor the protesters show signs of backing down. And given the widespread anger among ordinary citizens of Hong Kong — who still lack the ability to choose their chief executive without Beijing’s involvement — it is not certain that even Carrie Lam’s resignation would resolve the impasse.

Jacobin contributor Kevin Lin spoke to longtime socialist and author Au Loong Yu about the intensifying demonstrations, the ideological composition of the protest movement, the role of unions in the upsurge, and the effect that various geopolitical relationships (Beijing and Hong Kong, United States and China) are having on the simmering rebellion.

KL

Since the mass rallies in June, we have seen more militant actions by groups of protesters targeting the Hong Kong authorities. What should we make of this escalation?

ALY

Within the “yellow ribbon” camp — those who support democratic reform — there are two factions: the radical youth (who play the vanguard role) and adult supporters and pan-democrats (the liberal opposition since the 1980s that has pushed for universal suffrage while maintaining the “free market” of Hong Kong). The young generation is more determined than the older generation to demand the government withdraw the China extradition bill. There is strong anxiety and bitterness among them — and fear that, if they cannot win this time, they will lose forever.

Since July 6 there have been three big protests in different districts. We have also seen cycles of violence between the two sides, although it is always the police who are much more provocative and violent. Despite the violence, the young people are still widely supported by the broader yellow ribbon camp. How big is the yellow ribbon camp? The turnout on June 9, June 16, and July 1 was 1 million, 2 million, and half a million, respectively. In contrast, the pro-Beijing “blue ribbon” camp mobilized no more than 150,000.

There is also growing anger among older citizens now. Not only were they duped into believing Beijing’s promise of universal suffrage, but also their children may end up with the same disappointment and face even worse social mobility.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/08/hong-kong-protest-china-carrie-lam-umbrella-movement-extradition-bill-xi-jinping

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