As protests against the Hong Kong government continue, many people were surprised to see a few of the demonstrators waving American flags. While some believe that the flags represent a sign of freedom and democracy, pro-China media has used it as a way to insinuate that the U.S. is behind the current tensions in Hong Kong.
U.S. flags at protests
Waving the American flag and singing The Star-Spangled Banner has now become common at protests. Some people carry signs asking President Trump to liberate Hong Kong and saying that the city needs the 2nd Amendment. According to Chan, a protester who led a group of flag-wavers during a demonstration, they do this to get Washington’s attention. He hopes that the U.S. government passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. The proposed legislation was introduced last month and would sanction individuals in Hong Kong and China who are involved in human rights violations.
The Act will also require the U.S. president to certify Hong Kong’s autonomous status every year. If the status is withdrawn, Hong Kong will find it very difficult to conduct trade and business. The flag-wavers hope that passing the bill will scare Beijing enough to stop their attempts at taking over the city. Some also believe that it might even help Hong Kong achieve universal suffrage by 2020. China recently named the U.S. as being responsible for the riots in Hong Kong, a move that indicates that it is seriously worried about American influence in the region.
“I hope the U.S. will answer this question honestly and clearly: What role did the U.S. play in the recent incidents in Hong Kong and what is your purpose behind it? Though lacking self-knowledge, the U.S., I believe, should at least know one thing. Hong Kong belongs to China, and China does not allow any foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs. Nor will we allow any foreign forces to mess up Hong Kong,” Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in a statement (Breitbart).
Support for Hongkongers
Hong Kong protesters have been receiving public support from U.S. lawmakers, many of whom have lashed out against Beijing’s attempts to take control of the city. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Beijing to do the right thing and guarantee the autonomy of Hong Kong. A recent mob attack on the protesters, said to be organized by the local government, drew sharp criticism from Senator Marco Rubio.
“What kind of government goes out and encourages organized crime gangs to go into the streets, and go on to a train station and brutally attack people, some of whom weren’t even protesters, they were bystanders. So this tells us a lot about the Chinese government. But it also tells us why we need to speak up on behalf of the people of Hong Kong who want to keep their autonomy, who want to keep their democracy, and who frankly do not deserve to be brutally attacked by criminals backed and encouraged by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a video tweet.
The Hong Kong protests erupted in June this year after the government tried to pass an extradition law that would have given communist China the power to prosecute Hongkongers according to mainland laws. Entering its third month, the protests show no sign of wrapping up and the HK government looks clueless as to how to contain them.