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We Must Demand Freedom for Hong Kong

Last updated on August 20, 2020

(Photo Credit: Anthony Kwan)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

Fighters. Activists. Soldiers. Criminals. Anti-government. Pro-democracy. Enemies of the Republic.

On March 15, 2019, one million Hong Kongers peacefully protested an extradition bill pushed by Hong Kong officials and Chinese politicians. However, because the demands of the protesters were not met, violent tensions between the one-party communist Chinese government and the limited democracy Hong Kong government increased.

Because Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, they have to abide by some of China’s laws and treat the President as their Chief of State. However, when the bill was proposed, thousands of Hong Kongers were against it because they feared the Chinese government would have extended power over Hong Kong’s citizens and government. Just months after the initial protest, the movement gained one million protesters and global attention.

On July 9th, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam declared the bill officially withdrawn. Yet, protesters were not satisfied. The movement’s leaders demanded the following:

  • The complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill
  • The government to withdraw the use of the word “riot” in relation to protests
  • The unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped
  • An independent inquiry into police behavior
  • Implementation of genuine universal suffrage

From there, the events of the protests escalated into pandemonium. The once peaceful marches manifested into violent, impulsive crimes. Protests erupted at malls, parks, and public areas. They threw bottles and bricks at police officers. In response, officers used pepper spray and tier gas. In a protest at Yuen Long, pro-government mobs began beating and assaulting protesters.

Due to the police’s slow response time, people speculated the police were working with criminal gangs. Later, 800 rounds of tier gas were fired into large protests and government inaction led to greater tensions. Recently, President Trump signed a Hong Kong human rights bill and declared his support for Hong Kong protestors. This increased tensions between China and the United States.

In the eyes of the protesters, they are fighting a never-ending battle for intrinsic freedom. They are crusaders of liberty on the for-front of a revolutionary movement. In the eyes of the Chinese government, the protests are borderline acts of terrorism orchestrated by criminals. Chinese officials believe the protestors are spreading propaganda and lies to the general populous.

With questions of legality and technicality, people began debating the morality of the protests. When Thomas Jefferson was in office, he advocated for giving the people the right to revolt against an unjust government.

When the government is directly obstructing the rights of the individual, Jefferson sincerely believed citizens have an obligation to revolt against said government. However, the Constitution clearly states under 18 U.S.C. Section 2383, the people do not have the right to revolt or challenge the authority of the United States government. Therefore, do citizens of a nation have the right to revolt? More importantly, are the Hong Kongers justified in protesting?

Yes, they are justified.

To be clear, I support Hong Kong’s message, but not some of the means to enforce that message. It is imperative to understand one can not protest immorality with immoral actions. Protesting against terror with terror is hypocrisy.

Some protestors are openly inciting violence, obstructing public property, disturbing the peace, and starting riots. This form of protesting is evidently ineffective because these violent actions increase the tension between the two parties.

When protesters link arms and say speeches, it is commendable and justified. It is not justified when they loot stores, initiate assaults, and throw Molotov cocktails. However, that does not mean violence should never be an option.

Violence is necessary when acting in self-defense. If the government is using the federal military or state police to unlawfully assault citizens and invade private property, then the people must act in self-defense. They cannot combat fleets of soldiers and tanks with just words. This is why protests compelled by force may be necessary in extreme times.

For example, when state police officers initiate assaults, Hong Kongers must defend themselves. When pro-government thugs brutally attack protesters, self-defense is necessary. When a life is in imminent danger, self-defense is necessary.

The Chinese government is oppressing Hong Kongers. They have violated personal freedoms and have not respected the Hong Kong government. For this reason, people subjected to Chinese laws must advocate freedom. As the leader of the free world, the United States must stand with every Hong Kong citizen.

To the millions of Hong Kong protesters bravely walking the streets of Kowloon and Tai Po, to the people fighting for justice and security, to the people who believe in democracy and freedom, we stand with you. The beacon of hope and justice will continue to shine for eternity. Never stop protesting, never back down, and, most importantly, never surrender to tyranny.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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