HONG KONG: Organisers of the Hong Kong protest on Sunday (Jul 7) said they chose West Kowloon train station because it was “the nearest place” they could get to mainland China to spread their message.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched from Tsim Sha Tsui to the train station in protest against the controversial extradition Bill, which has been suspended.
It was the first rally since Monday, when protesters smashed their way into the Legislative Council building, scrawling anti-government graffiti on the wall and taking over the council chamber.
Organisers said they choose the West Kowloon train station for Sunday’s protest for both symbolic and practical reasons.
The train station connects Hong Kong to the mainland via a high-speed rail, and is one of the main entry points for visitors into the city. Part of the facility came under Beijing’s jurisdiction last year.
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Mr Ventus Lau, one of the organisers of the protest, said: “There are two main purposes for today’s (Sunday) protest.
“First of all, we need to continue with our five demands to the government regarding the extradition Bill.
“Secondly, we want to show our peaceful, graceful protest to the mainland visitors because the information is rather blocked in mainland, we want to show them the (true) image and the message of Hong Kongers.”
The protests against the Bill have received little coverage in mainland China, where censors have blocked most news of the demonstrations.
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Protesters want chief executive Carrie Lam to step down, the release of protesters who have been arrested, and for the extradition Bill to be scrapped entirely.
Mr Lau added: “The high-speed railway station is a connection between Hong Kong and (mainland) China and this is the nearest place we can spread our message to (mainland) China.
“This is a symbolic meaning that we want to spread our message through the high-speed railway to (mainland) China.”
Dan Lee, a Hong Kong resident who took part in the march with his wife and three children, said it was their fourth march. He added: “We need to save Hong Kong and we need to come out for our future generations.”
His sentiments were echoed by Shanghai businessman Alan Zhang, who watched the protest near an Apple store in Canton Road.
“Actually, I feel quite touched to see how Hong Kong people fight for their freedom,” the 54-year-old said.
“I think first-time travellers do not know what is happening right now … Indeed it let me see why Hong Kong is different from (mainland) China.”
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Beijing had earlier blamed “Western ideologies” for unrest in Hong Kong since Monday’s violent protest.
“Ideologues in Western governments never cease in their efforts to engineer unrest against governments that are not to their liking, even though their actions have caused misery and chaos in country after country in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” the state-run China Daily said in an editorial on Thursday.
“Now they are trying the same trick in China,” it added.
A diplomatic spat has escalated between China and the United Kingdom, which ruled Hong Kong until the city was returned to Beijing in 1997.
China bluntly told Britain on Wednesday to “refrain from further interference” after British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain expects China to abide by a 1984 treaty which guarantees basic freedoms to Hong Kong for 50 years.
Mr Hunt on Thursday said he was keeping his “options open” over how the United Kingdom could respond to developments in Hong Kong, and he refused to rule out sanctions on China.