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Asia Minute: Politics and Violence in Hong Kong

AP Photo/Vincent Yu
Pro-democracy lawmakers protest as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center right, arrives at chamber of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

Saturday will mark the 20th weekend in a row that protestors in Hong Kong take to the streets of the city. It follows another week of political controversy – both in Hong Kong and in the United States.

This was the week that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam went to the Legislative Council to give her annual policy address.

But it did not work out according to her plan.

When she entered the chamber, some lawmakers played a recording of gunshots and screams of protestors — which they said represented the “hardship and pain” suffered by Hong Kong residents over the past four months.

When Lam started her speech, she was heckled, interrupted, and eventually gave up — leaving the Legislative Council and later delivering her remarks by video.

Hours after that speech, the leader of one of Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy groups was attacked on the street.

The South China Morning Post says four or five men beat Jimmy Sham of the Civil Human Rights Front with hammers and wrenches. Sham was taken to the hospital, bloodied, but conscious after the second attack he’s suffered since August.

In Washington this week, the House passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” which would end the city’s special trading status with the U.S. unless the State Department certifies each year that authorities are respecting human rights and the rule of law.

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong indignation” at the action — warning that China would take “strong measures” if the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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