The Communist Party of China (“CPC”) has long lorded over the inhabitants of Hong Kong, rather than governing them or addressing their concerns with respect and seriousness; Zhang’s expedition is no different. The HKSAR government, rather than facilitating the rights and freedoms of its citizens, was more than happy to create a mirage of harmony and stability by isolating the HKCEC with barriers and to disperse any protestors.
Since the HKSAR government’s function as a messenger to Beijing has become defunct, Demosistō and other like-minded parties staged a protest outside The Harbourview, HKAPA and Shui On Centre. Participants included Nathan Law, Joshua Wong, Dr Lau Siu-lai and Napo Wong. Instead of facilitating our right to assemble, the police consistently harassed protestors at the APA and Shui On Centre. Since the designated demonstration zone was not even remotely close to Zhang’s convoy, we had no choice but to bring our message directly to the NPCSC Chairman. This was immediately met with physical violence where Nathan Law was restrained to the ground by a dozen policemen as they would be a common thug.
By shielding himself from protestors and employing terrorism-level security, Zhang and the HKSAR government has wilfully blinded themselves to the issues that define China-Hong Kong relations today. The ‘core security zone’ is a disproportional violation of Hong Kong citizen’s right to assemble, demonstrate and express their views. In the face of unconstitutional hurdles to exercising our rights, Demosistō had no alternatives but to partake in civil disobedience and to assume the duty of defending the dignity and freedoms of this city in lieu of its government.
While our operation may be futile, we believe that the efforts displayed today cannot be evaluated by its immediate result. For we have disrupted the façade which our government has so keenly manufactured for our ‘guest’ and to bring across our demands for democracy, albeit momentarily.
While outraged with the regime’s oppression and arrests, our quest is far from over. The PRC is a substantial obstacle hindering Hong Kong’s path to self-determination. The CPC is no stranger to availing clandestine means, even employing foreign proxies, to silence opposition both at home and abroad. To this day the abductees of The Causeway Bay Bookstore have yet to return home. It would thus be foolish to seek other avenues and ignore the fact that the CPC is the very agent encroaching on the values and autonomy of Hong Kong.
We demand that the PRC as a signatory to the ICCPR, in line with its obligation to act in good faith and not to defeat the treaty’s purpose, to allow Hong Kong to exercise autonomy, to set up meaningful universal suffrage, and to enjoy greater self-determination. Alternatively, the CPC should refrain from interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs and to cease all illegal cross-border law enforcement.
We hope Zhang brings this message to Beijing: that the Hong Kong people are resolute in determining our fate, and that any tokenistic diplomacy to beat us into submission will not be accepted as legitimate. Unless Beijing takes this matter seriously and commences meaningful dialogue, we will neither yield nor forfeit our rightful claim to self-determination.