Hong Kong Protests Turn Violent On China’s National Day

Leslie Chen, Staff Writer

In a dramatic escalation of events, for the first time ever, Hong Kong police fired live ammunition directly at protestors, injuring one. This first act of violence happened to occur on China’s National Day, Oct. 1, or its 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule.

Tsang Chi-kin, an 18-year-old student, became the first protester to be shot with live ammunition on the front lines of the Hong Kong protest movement that began since early June. In a now viral video, an officer was seen shooting a protestor, who was wearing a helmet and had been weilding a baton at the officer. Chi-kin was taken to a hospital and as of now, was out of surgery in stable condition. Thomas Chan, a cousin, told Wall Street Journal that he was “never afraid to speak his mind and would put his words into action.” 

Chi-kin is one of the tens of thousands of black-clad protesters that took to the streets on China’s National Day. Pro-democracy protesters of all ages defied police orders and took on the streets, chanting anti-Chinese slogans. Some even carried Chinese flags, defaced with a black cross to show resistance against the Communist Party. The day became even more violent as protesters started throwing petrol bombs, running at officers, and starting fires. Police fired back, using huge amounts of tear gas, water cannons filled with blue dye, and baton charges in an attempt to clear the streets. 

Hong Kong police commissioner Stephen Lo reported that police had arrested more than 180 protesters, bringing the total arrested since June to nearly 2,000. A total of 25 officers were injured during the violent demonstrations. Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority also issued a statement, saying that at least 74 people were injured, and two were in critical condition.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, the Chinese government celebrated the country’s National Day in a large military parade. President Xi Jinping was in attendance, and oversaw the display of military tanks and marching troops in Tiananmen Square, where pro-democracy movements 30 years ago led to a brutal massacre. In his speech, Jinping told the crowd that the military would assure China’s sovereignty and help maintain world peace. “No force should ever shake China, or stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward,” he said.

With the increasing pressure from Hong Kong not going away soon, it’s unclear whether China will directly act out or not. No matter the case, it’s certain that there is no clear end to this situation in the near future.

Photo courtesy of HERALDANDNEWS.COM